Children and Baptism
Faithfully preparing a young person to follow the Lord in the obedience of Baptism is an important responsibility that is entrusted to Christian parents and to the church. We believe parents are responsible for instructing their children and overseeing their spiritual development. The church is responsible for sustaining the ordinance of baptism and guarding it from abuse.
At What Age Should a Young Person be Baptized?
We recommend parents wait until their child is at least 10-12 years old before beginning the process. Please note that this is a recommendation and not a mandate. The Bible does not give us a precise age for baptism. All we can legitimately infer from biblical teaching on baptism is that a child must be able to give a credible profession of faith. We believe there are many younger children who could make such a profession but who may not be ready for baptism. We also believe there are older children who could give a “credible” profession but might still not be spiritually ready. As a matter of policy we do not set an age requirement. Instead we leave it up to the parents to discuss baptism with their child and discern, in consulation with NW Elders and Pastors, when the candidate is ready to begin the preparation process.
Our reasons for encouraging young people to wait until at least until age 10-12 are driven mainly by a desire to maximize the spiritual benefit for the candidate. Here are some things we encourage parents to consider before beginning the baptism preparation process:
- Even though a child may be mentally and spiritually ready earlier, more will be ready at the later age. It may be better for a young person to wait until they are older rather than bringing them through the process and then needing to discourage them from continuing midway through.
- Baptism can be a very meaningful experience and we want it to be one that a person remembers. The older the child is the more likely the experience will be remembered and cherished. If they are older when they are baptized, people are more likely to look back on this experience with confidence that it reflected a conscious and sincere resolve to follow the Lord.
- For a young person to wait and anticipate an experience is important and rare in a “me-oriented” culture that continually tells our young people, “If you want it, you can have it and you can have it now.”
- The promises we are making in baptism should not be made lightly. Encouraging a young person to wait emphasizes the significance and importance of baptism.
- The older age allows us to more thoroughly prepare the candidate. This process for baptism can be an intellectual stretch for 9 year olds and would require substantial simplification for younger children.
The Importance of A Mentor
We strongly encourage fathers, as spiritual leaders of their families, to come along side their child(ren) in a mentor role before Baptism. If the father is unbelieving or is otherwise unable to fill this role, consider a strong believing man from your family’ssmall group, an Elder or Pastor. North Wake is excited to partner with parents in this time of mentorship, as well as provide helpful resources and direction during this time of preparation. This is a great way to ascertain if your child is ready for baptism.
Goals of the Preparation Process
The goals of this process are to:
- Glorify Christ and the redeeming work of the cross.
- Help discern the candidate’s readiness for baptism.
- Involve the spiritual leader of the home in the preparation process.
- Provide the candidate with another opportunity to embrace the Lord in a decisive and memorable way.
- Inspire the candidate to live in obedience and faithfulness to the Lord.
- Provide an opportunity for the immediate family and the wider community of believers to publicly affirm, support, encourage, and pray for the candidate.
* Adapted from Children Desiring God Children and Baptism resource.
What Does a Baptism Look Like at North Wake?
North Wake typically hosts two baptisms a year, during the warmer months. As a church body, we gather at Sandling Beach and share in a time of Testimony and Worship. Then, we all head down to the water and witness this visible portrait of invisible Grace. Afterwards, we share in a potluck meal and celebrate the mercy of Christ.
If your child expresses to you a desire to be baptized, contact Rob Craig at or 556-1546 ext 506 and let him know your child wants to take part in the upcoming baptism service.
To Listen to a sermon on "The Ordinance of Baptism," click on the link.