Over the summer I normally try to post a couple things that I learned over the previous school year. If you have anything you learned from last year that you would like to tell me about, send it my way smcgever (at) pv dot younglife dot org
Last summer I realized that I wanted to emphasize the imperative of baptism with my leaders and Christian kids in club. I won’t take the time here to work through all of the aspects of baptism, but I will say that it is an incredible step of faith which every Christian should do sooner rather than later.
I am a fan of “say so” at camp. I take pictures of the kids, give them a big hug, the whole deal. When I speak at camp I almost always include a “say so”. With that said, I get about a million times more excited about a baptism than a “say so”.
When a student gets baptized at a church a lot of things have needed to happen. First, the student has decided to follow Christ, perhaps at a YL camp, and maybe even stood up at say-so. Next, the student has taken the next step to continue his or her faith at home. Then, the student somehow got to a church, responded to some sort of invitation to be baptized, and hopefully went through some sort of interview or class on baptism. Then, they should tell their family. Even non-religious families often have a strong feeling about baptism for a variety of reasons. Then the student invites a bunch of their friends and publically proclaims their faith in Jesus through baptism.
If all of those steps have happened, we are well on our way to make disciples, not merely converts. I know there are so many rabbit trails we could go down on this topic… infant baptism, re-baptism, baptism done outside the context of church, etc. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater (I suppose there is some pun related to baptism in that somehow). Don’t miss the main point… Baptism is a biblically imperative step of faith that we should all encourage our kids and leaders to take.
So this year I did a couple things. First, I put a poll on my Facebook leader group and asked all the leaders in my area to click one of the options. I was actually surprised to see a very high number of my leaders who had been baptized, I expected less. Next, I started mentioning baptism. I did this at our monthly all area leadership meetings. I also mentioned it briefly at YL camps when I was the speaker. I also did this in my club talks when appropriate. It usually was something very brief and short, but I would add it in as a “next step”.
I am happy to say that this year I attended more baptisms than ever before. It is a work of God, without a doubt, but I was excited to see how God worked by convicting me of this the previous summer. Not only that, but it has been amazing to see how these baptisms have become a catalyst for so much more spiritual fruit and activity in our community.
How about you, do you ever talk about baptism in your leadership team? How do you talk to kids about baptism?
p.s. if you are on Twitter you might enjoy @yloakbridge