SALVATION & BAPTISM
Celebrating Your Child's Faith Decision
There is nothing more exciting for a parent than guiding your child to faith! Once your child has accepted Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior it is time to help them tell others about that decision through baptism. If you are not sure if your child has made this decision yet, please The Gospel kit is a great place to start. You can find that kit at hcbc.com/the-gospel.
Baptism is a public announcement of belief and a visible picture of an inward transformation. All who experience God's saving grace and respond through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins should be baptized in obedience to Jesus' commands as recorded in the New Testament and modeled in the early church. Explain to your child that being baptized does not make him or her a Christian. There is nothing magical about the water. What makes someone a Christian is the decision to ask Jesus Christ to forgive his or her sins and take control of his or her life. Your child might be nervous about getting baptized. Assure your child that he or she will just be dipped under the water for a couple of seconds and that this is an exciting time. You can schedule a baptism class and your child's baptism by going to hcbc.com/baptism.
The Lord's Supper is a special time when those who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior remember that He died for their sins. We remember this by eating bread, which represents Jesus' body, and by drinking juice, which symbolizes Jesus' blood. Celebrate your child's first participation in communion. Discuss the meaning with your child. If you a guide to get you started, see Recommended Resources below.
SYMBOLS & CELEBRATIONS
Consider giving your child something to signify the decision he or she has made. This can be a cross, a new Bible, a Bible study or a hand written note in the front of a blank journal. As children get older they sometimes question their earlier faith decision. Help your child feel secure by providing a firm foundation. Allow your child to ask questions and talk through new areas of spiritual growth. Pray for the upcoming year in his or her journey. This will also give you great insight into where some extra help or attention is needed and how you can pray more specifically for your child.
HELP YOUR CHILD WALK WITH JESUS
Show your child what a Christian life looks like. Teach your child how to pray and coach him or her on how to read the Bible. Salvation and baptism are only the beginning of a wonderful journey with God. Now that you have helped your child take these exciting first steps, you have the opportunity and responsibility to disciple him or her into a fully developing follower of Christ.
As a guide to celebrate a child’s spiritual birthday
Reinforcing the child’s faith decision annually
Celebrating your child’s faith decision every year can help them establish a firm foundation to prevent unnecessary doubts. This is especially important if your child came to faith at a young age. Many children raised in church begin to question the authenticity of their faith when they get older simply because they can’t recall the specific date or some dramatic event surrounding their moment of conversion. An annual “spiritual birthday party” can reinforce your child’s faith by reminding him or her that our salvation is firmly rooted in what Jesus Christ did for us.
Decide what date you will celebrate your child’s spiritual birthday as a fun tradition that also reinforces his or her faith decision. Consider any of the following options:
- Celebrate on the actual date your child trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- If you don’t know the actual date, using your child’s baptism anniversary would be the next best option.
- If you don’t have a record of either date, then you might consider celebrating the day after your child’s physical birthday to highlight his or her “born again’’ day.
Just like for a physical birthday party you may choose to invite guests to join the celebration, perhaps nearby relatives, close family friends, or a teacher from church. Ask your child, “Who would you like to invite?” Including the child’s friends might be a wonderful opportunity for your child to explain what a spiritual birthday is all about. Consider making his or her favorite meal, baking a cake, serving cupcakes or some other treat that will make the occasion special. Include a candle for each year since your child was born again. You might also give your child a gift that will help them grow spiritually during the coming year such as an age appropriate Bible, a devotional book, or a gift card to download Christian music.
Take time to talk about what Christ did for your child and what happened when he or she decided to believe. Some specific suggestions include:
- Help your child write a letter to God thanking Him for what Jesus
did on the cross, for things that happened during the past year, etc. Write your own letter to the child encouraging his or her walk with God, mentioning how you’ve seen growth this year, etc. Put the letters in your child’s My Faith Box so they will have them as a treasured keepsake later.
- Invite your child to read John 3:3 aloud and explain that you are celebrating the child’s “born again’’ birthday. Then together read aloud 2 Corinthians 5:17 and ask the child how Jesus Christ made them a new person when they believed (i.e., He saved me from sin, He gave me eternal life, He gave the Holy Spirit to guide me, etc.).
- Pray for your child, asking God to help them continue to grow a strong faith in the coming year.