As a parent, one of the greatest joys and sources of comfort in knowing that your child trusts in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Knowing that your child understands, and experiences the joy and assurance of their personal salvation is a great comfort. In this journey, you want them to move forward in their faith and obedience as followers of Christ.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.Proverbs 22:6
Calvary Baptist Church wants to partner with you as you guide and train your child through these very important decisions. A very important step is baptism.
Therefore, we want you to know we are here to assist. During these first steps of faith, your children are likely to ask many questions about being baptized. We encourage you to understand yourself and use these talking points to discuss this with your child. We are aware that discerning if your child is ready to be baptized is a daunting task. Be encouraged that it is God who saves not your words.
Helpful Guides for Parents
Keep in mind:
- The Gospel is for everyone. Romans 10:13, Luke 2:10
- Jesus taught that children could believe, Matthew 18:1-6
- God’s desire is for children to be saved. Matthew 18:14
- The evangelism process for children should begin in infancy. 2 Timothy 3:15
- God does deal with the hearts of children. Old and New Testament
- The experience illustrates that children can believe.
- Never assume anything.
- Children want to please the significant adults in their lives.
- They respond to praise.
- They are easily influenced.
- Help your child feel at ease
- Take ample time with your child.
- Do not rush.
- Present the gospel clearly on the child’s level.
- Ask Questions
- Avoid common church phrases
- Avoid excess emotionalism
- Use some type of visual such as a gospel presentation booklet, tract or draw a picture/visual as you are answering questions and talking to your child about the Gospel.
- Just because a child asks questions does not mean he is ready to commit his life to Christ and trust in Him as his Lord and Savior. Always gently close discussions leaving the door open to present the gospel again or talk about the Gospel at a later date.
- If a child does have an understanding of what the Gospel is and what following Jesus means and the child indicates that he is ready to repent and commit his life to Christ, allow the child to pray out loud in his or her own words.
- NEVER SAY THE PRAYER FOR THE CHILD! Even if you feel the child is ready to make a commitment to following Christ, do not pray for him!
Step 1: Salvation
1) In what ways would your child describe that God is loving and good? What is God like?
Read and discuss John 3:16
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
2) Sin separates us from God. God is perfect and He cannot be around sin. Ask your child to think of examples of things they might do that they are not supposed to do?
Read and discuss Romans 3:23
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
3) Ask your child to think of the last time they received a gift. Did they have to do anything to earn it? When your child realized that Jesus had suffered, died and rose again for them….How did that make them feel?
Read and discuss Romans 5: 8, Romans 10:13, John 6:37, Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 10:10
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:13
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.John 6:37
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8-9
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.Hebrews 10:10
4) When did your child decide to follow Jesus and become forever saved?
Read and discuss 1 John 5:13, John 10: 27-30
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.1 John 5:13
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”John 10:27-30
5) What words did your child say when they received Jesus as your Savior?
a) Look for wording similar to below:
“Lord, I know I have done things that I shouldn’t have done, and because you always do what you say, all those sins must be paid for. I believe you sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for those sins for me. Right now I receive Jesus into my life as my Savior. Thank you, and help me to walk with you. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”
Present the Gospel simply
- Any gospel presentation should include the character of God, the sinfulness of man, the sufficiency of Christ, the necessity of Faith, and the urgency of eternity.
- A child must understand the meaning of sin, that he has sinned, that he has sinned against God, that he is separated from God, that Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin, that He rose from the dead, that He is alive today!
- Gospel Presentations:
Admit to God you are a sinner (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, 1 John 1:9). Repent: To Turn from your sin and turn to Christ (Acts 3:19).
Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that God sent Jesus to die on the cross to save people from their sin and from being separated from God. John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Acts 4:12, Acts 16:31, 1 Peter 3:18, John 14:6
Confess Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Romans 10:9-10, 13
Step 2: Baptism
1) What is baptism?
Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward change. It is a symbol of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is a picture of what God has done to save us. Many children may think that baptism saves a person. Children have a difficult time with symbolism at an early age. They tend to take everything literally. In baptism, we follow the example of Jesus. Jesus was baptized even though He had never sinned. He did this to set an example for us.
Read and discuss Matthew 3:13-16
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;Matthew 3:13-16
2) Is my child old enough to be baptized?
The Bible does not give us a precise age at which we should be baptized. For that reason, Calvary does not have an age requirement. However, the Bible is clear that children must be able to give a credible profession of THEIR faith. One that is genuine and rooted in a biblical understanding of salvation.
This does not mean that children should be able to five all the “right” answers before they are ready for baptism. It does mean that children should show that they have genuine faith, based on a right understanding of God, sin, and salvation through Jesus alone. Likewise, a child should possess a simple understanding of what baptism is and why it is important.
Ask your child to tell them what it means to be a Christian and why they want to be baptized.
3) Why does my child want to be baptized?
Answers that indicate your child understands:
a) Because Jesus was baptized and He tells us to do so.
b) Because I am a friend of Jesus and follow Him.
c) I want to show my obedience to Christ.
Step 3: Tell Your Story
Now that you as a family have had a chance to look at the reasons for baptism together, and have decided that it is time, we would like for your child to share why they personally want to be baptized.
It is hard sometimes to know how to tell your story. A good exercise is to write it down. It does not have to include everything about your life. It doesn’t have to be any longer than a couple of paragraphs, and there are some ideas below that will help you know what to include in your story. Please be prepared to tell your story to a pastor when you meet to plan your baptism.
“Your Story” Example
1. Who I am.
At the beginning of your story, you can tell us your name and how old you are.
2. Learning about God
Tell us some things in your life that taught you more about God, and made you want to learn more about Him. You might have heard about God from your parents, in Church, in camp, in VBS, or a friend. Think about things like that which made you more interested in knowing God.
3. Became a Follower of Jesus
Tell the story of when you decided to become a follower of Jesus and make Him your Lord and Savior. What happened that made you decide to do it? Was there anyone, such as a parent, a friend, a teacher, a pastor that helped you to know how to make this decision? How did you feel?
4. Having God in your life?
What do you want to do now that this life-changing event has happened?