Parents and the church working together
Faithfully preparing a child to follow Christ in baptism is an important responsibility entrusted to Christian parents and the church. We believe parents are responsible for instructing their children and overseeing their spiritual development. The church is responsible for sustaining the ordinance of baptism and guarding it from abuse. That is why it is critical for the church and parents to work together in preparing children for baptism.
How do I know if my child is ready?
We think that as a parent, you have unique insights into your child’s spiritual life. We encourage you to work with the church to determine when he or she is ready to be baptized. Many children can verbally repeat the core principles of the gospel. While understanding the content of our faith is important, parents should not evaluate the spiritual state of their child solely on the fact that they have said a prayer or can repeat the facts of the gospel. We believe that children may freely enter the kingdom of God, because the requirement for entering the kingdom does not depend on age or intellect, but on faith in Christ. As Jesus wanted the little children to come to Him, we do not impose an age restriction for baptism. We believe He wants children who have faith in Him to identify with Him in baptism. The question then becomes, “How do I know if my child has faith in Christ?”
We suggest parents look for evidences of faith in their child. Some evidences of faith can be things such as unsolicited confession of sin, new obedience that happens from the child on his or her own initiative, a change in attitude and speech that seeks to bless others and glorify God, and other actions that demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives. If a child expresses interest in baptism apart from these evidences, we should guard them from being baptized. As children age and mature, they will encounter more opportunities to express faith in Christ. When children are young, their faith is closely tied to their parent’s faith. Age and experience provide opportunities for this faith to become their own.
At Grace Church, for the reasons above, we rarely baptize very young children.
What is the next step?
Our desire is to equip you as a parent to help shepherd your child through salvation and baptism. We ask that you listen to the following audio and thoughtfully talk through the questions below. It is our hope that these resources would be helpful tools for you as you lead your children in this area.
A Parent’s Role in Shepherding Your Child Through Baptism & Salvation – Listen
A Parent’s Role Discussion Questions
- Why does your child want to be baptized?
- What does this event mean for you as a parent? How do you feel this changes your discipleship relationship with your child?
- What fruit has your child exhibited, that would mark him or her as a believer in Christ who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit?
- Has there been unsolicited confession of his or her own sin?
- The child will never be perfect, but is his or her pattern of obedience getting markedly better?
- Does the child exhibit a desire for holiness?
If you feel your child is ready to begin the baptism process, click the link below. Registration involves setting up a time to meet with a pastor and have your child share their story of faith.