We’ve had a ton of questions about this lately…so I thought it’d be a good day to pull this one out of the archives. It was originally posted here and was written by Eric Sampson, who is now living in Lubbock, TX pursuing his doctorate in philosophy.
Baptism can be confusing for kids. They see it in church and read about it in Scripture, but rarely does anyone take the time to stop and explain it to them in terms they understand. The result is that kids form many false beliefs about what baptism is and why it’s important.
Here’s one way baptism was explained to me when I was a kid and I never forgot it. Hope you find it helpful:
Baptism is a symbol. It’s meant to show the world that that you love, trust, and have put your hope in Christ. It’s like a wedding ring…
I’m not married right now, but if I put a wedding ring on my finger, would that make me married? No, of course not. Similarly, I can be baptized in a church, but that doesn’t make me a true believer in Christ. Imagine that I really was married, though. My wife and I really did go through the marriage ceremony, but I just didn’t have my ring on my finger. Would that mean I wasn’t married? No way; of course I would still be married. Similarly, I can be a believer in Christ, but not baptized, and my sins are still paid for and forgiven by God.
But imagine that I truly was married and I really really loved my wife. Would I wear my wedding ring? Of course! I would love my wife and want the whole world to know it! In the same way, if I have trusted Christ to save me from sin, and He is the lord and joy of my life, then I’ll want everyone to know about it. So baptism is a statement to everyone who sees it that I have trusted Christ for my salvation and I’m committed to living for Him.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you’ll never need to have another conversation about baptism after this illustration. There’s much this doesn’t cover, but I do think it lays a firm foundation that you as a parent or minister can build upon in future discussions. Comment to share other ways you’ve explained baptism to kids?