From time to time we pause from the normal posts to answer a few questions from you—the Youth Ministry Nation. Here are a couple we received in the past few weeks, all relating to baptism.
1. How much time do you believe students need after becoming Christ-followers before they should be allowed to be baptized?
Great question! While each church or denomination may have specific programs, rules, or structure, the example we see in Scripture is that baptism was often immediately after conversion. When someone trusted Jesus, they got baptized. Take some time to investigate what traditions your church holds to in this area, and make sure you have a conversation about the baptism process before you run someone into the water and then get into hot water yourself.
2. Do you have a baptism class? Is it required before you are baptized?
We don’t have a specific baptism class in our church for students—we definitely do in our children’s program, and every student 6th grade and under is required to attend before they can be baptized. In junior high and high school we simply interview the student who inquires about baptism and talk about their faith and why they want to be baptized. Usually early in the conversation an experienced youth worker will be discerning enough to know if the student is ready or not.
NOTE: We always get parental approval before baptizing a teenager in our youth group for two reasons: 1) We don’t want the parents to miss out on the celebration and 2) We don’t want to baptize a teenager against a parent’s wishes (we once baptized a student of a completely different religion, MUCH to the disapproval of Mom and Dad).
3. What do you think a student needs to know before they get baptized?
The Scriptures show us that they need to understand that Jesus is the way of salvation and trust in him as their Savior—after that, they’re good to go. Remember, baptism is just a symbol of the transformation of the heart that has already taken place.
If you’re looking for some passages to study as you begin to answer these questions for yourself and your youth group, consider these: 1 Corinthians 15, Mark 1, Acts 8, Romans 6, Matthew 28
4. Do you have any baptismal studies resources you could share?
Yes! The one we would recommend first is the student version of our membership classes where baptism and salvation are the central topics of the first class: CLASS 101-401 Curriculum
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.