Reflecting on Baptism & Children’s Ministry
My oldest son was baptized at our church several years ago. During the Hymn ‘In Christ Alone’ I looked at him and started to cry. I must admit, the song I sang was a little different that time: “No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck Colt from Your hand. Till You return or call Colt home, here in the power of Christ he’ll stand.” Colt might not understand the words sung during worship, but he does understand when people love him.
When we baptize a child – which is symbol of welcoming people into God’s covenant community – both the parents and congregation make vows. The parents declare their faith in Christ and renounce evil as they give their child for baptism. The congregation then vows to raise the child teaching him or her the gospel while nurturing them along their life’s journey. In other words, nobody raises a child to be a healthy Christian without help along the way. This is what Children’s Ministry is all about.
Children’s Ministry teaches children who Jesus is and how to follow him in their lives. We minster to our children because, no surprise, they are the future of Jesus’ followers (aka the church) in the world. Perhaps how we train and raise our children in the church is an indicator of how we see the world that doesn’t know Jesus.
When kids are born, they are blank slates. What they learn in the Christian community are the ways we are and are not successful from generation to generation. For example, as a child I learned right away that my home church is very good at loving God and serving Him by reading and studying Scripture. As I got older I realized this loving community was very busy so it decided to hired people to do work in the church they did not want to do themselves. For many, instead of being involved with Junior High students, they hired people or ‘out sourced’ individuals to come work with them. Each child learns about Jesus by being in the community, seeing both the giving and not so giving aspects of our discipleship from the congregation.
Our Children’s Ministry has been a blessing to my family. Today, we are at a point where there are young families joining our congregation and our nursery is bursting at the seams. As we review and re-evaluate our approach to raising these wonderful children that have come through our door, my encouragement our community is to fulfill your vow at my son’s baptism and the many others, by teaching Sunday school and or getting involved.