This weekend I got to baptize over a dozen kids and parents at my church. I love being a part of this spiritual milestone in a family’s like. From time to time children’s ministry workers from other churches will ask me how I make our kid’s baptisms so cool. Here’s what I usually tell them:
1. Teach a class that parents need to attend with their kids.
I can’t tell you how many kids and parents love this. We’ve had whole families accept Christ as a result of making this a pre-requisite for kids to get baptized. Use the contact page on my blog and I’ll email you all our materials for free.
2. Follow-up the class with one-on-one meetings.
Every child who wants to get baptized at High Desert Church has a meeting with one of our leaders and one of their parents. This helps us help them make sure they’re ready to take this next step in their faith. Here are some of the questions I’ll ask: a) What is sin? b) Do only some people sin or does everybody sin? c) Who is Jesus? d) What did He do for us? (and afterwards, “Did He stay dead?”) e) When should someone get baptized? f) Does getting baptized wash away our sins or get us into Heaven? g) When should someone get baptized (before becoming a Christian or after)?
3. Give families a behind-the-scenes tour.
People are often down on what they’re not up on, and that goes double for kids. I always let kids walk in our baptistery (without water) so that they can see what it’s like. I show them how high the water will be, how to plug their nose, and we’ll do a mock baptism to get a feel for the day.
4. Pray with families the morning of.
Kids aren’t the only ones nervous. So are mom and dad. I always make sure to pray with families beforehand to remind them everything is going to be great.
5. Let kids know it’s OK to be nervous.
I have yet to baptize a kid (or adult) that wasn’t a little nervous. Acknowledge the fear. Be fun and silly to help them relax.
6. Practice what you’re going to say before you say it.
There’s no magic to these words, but here’s what I usually say: “[Insert child’s name], because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior and want to put him first in your life I baptize you now in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Buried in the likeness of Jesus’ death [dunk them and bring them back up] and raised in the likeness of his resurrection to walk in a new life.”
7. High-five/Hug kids immediately afterward.
I get more compliments on this from people afterwards then just about anything else I do. People love to see how much you care.
8. Have someone take lots of pictures and email them to parents.
This allows parents to enjoy the moment and still have pictures to remember the day.
9. Give kids a certificate.
Just another way to help kids feel special and mark an important spiritual milestone in their life.
10. Write a handwritten note to them afterwards.
Kids love getting mail and this shows them (and their parents) that you are invested in their life for the long haul.
11. Send parents a list of next-steps.
Most parents don’t know what to do after their child is baptized. Sending a short one-page list of programs you offer and potential resources to invest in will help them be more intentional about their child’s spiritual development.
How do you make baptisms awesome for the kids in your ministry?
Post your tips in the comments below.