This guest blog is by Matt Norton, currently the senior pastor at First Baptist Church Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Matt loves to chase storms and is certified by the National Weather Service as an amateur storm spotter.
My wife and I both served on staff of Crosspoint Christian Sports Camps before CentriKid was formed. Through our love for and interaction with these camps as staffers, we have taken our children’s groups to CentriKid Camps each summer. Our kids and counselors absolutely love the camp. We have seen many of our kids come to know Christ as Savior and Lord at CentriKid. Last year, I served as Camp Pastor for CentriKid at Southern Arkansas University.
At camp and at church, kids ask lots of questions about baptism, and it’s important to know how to answer those questions and correct misconceptions. When explaining baptism with kids, I’m very careful to make sure they understand what it means. Here are three things to make sure the child understands:
- There is a difference between salvation and baptism.
- We are not Christian because we are baptized, but we are baptized because we are Christian.
- Baptism is an outward demonstration of what happened inside the heart – salvation.
As you talk with children in a spiritual conversation, make sure you ask open-ended questions. Avoid simple yes or no questions. This makes the child explain their thoughts. You will have a good idea of whether the child understands what a verse means or what decision they want to make.
While a child may not be able to give a deep theological definition of what happens in salvation, there are some important things they must know about – THEIR sinfulness, THEIR sin put Jesus on the cross, Jesus died for THEIR sin, Jesus rose again from the grave so they can have eternal life, and that salvation is received by faith not works.
The future of children’s ministry is bright as long as it centers on Christ. Hopefully these tips will help as you discuss baptism and salvation with children in your ministry.
Other CentriKidBlog.com resources on explaining salvation and/or baptism with kids: