Back in the summer, a brief overview of Crossing Life’s CheckPoints was posted here on Kids Ministry 101. Partnering with families during some of these checkpoints of life provides natural opportunities to help parents recoup, reevaluate and realign strategies, and be refreshed for moving forward in family life. We’ve dug into Checkpoints #1 and #2 a little more. Now let’s take a closer look at Checkpoint #3: Growing in Faith.
Checkpoint #3—Growing in Faith
“What Is a Christian?” class—Kids who regularly attend church will often start asking questions about salvation and/or baptism, and parents will immediately jump to trying to schedule a child’s baptism. There is wisdom in listening to a child’s parents in determining whether their child is ready for baptism, but having a checkpoint in your ministry to equip parents to ask good questions of their child will give them greater confidence in not rushing to baptism.
- A “What Is a Christian” or Discovering Faith class gives you a strategic, concentrated opportunity to address these questions.
- This class could be child-only, parent-only, or parent-child together.
- The goal is to help answer questions both kids and parents have about following Jesus and ultimately give parents the vocabulary to to have at-home conversations.
- A great at-home resource for parents to work through with their kids is Lifeway Kids “What Is a Christian?” workbook.
Baptism and Lord’s Supper—Develop a strategy to help parents celebrate this checkpoint. Here are a few ideas.
- Provide a one-sheet overview of your church’s theology of believer’s baptism and Lord’s Supper to parents.
- Consider providing an online video for parents to watch that talks through this overview.
- Create a “baptism checklist” to help guide families through the details. Include items like meeting with you or your pastor (according to the practices of your church), mail/email invitations, plan a family meal, provide a Growing in My Faith devotional to each child to guide them in developing healthy spiritual habits.
- Some churches allow dads to baptize children or have a parent stand with her child in the baptismal waters. However your church handles these situations, be sure to effectively communicate with families in what to expect during the baptism.
- If your budget allows, develop invitation templates your families can mail/email to extended family members to attend a child’s baptism.
- Encourage families to gather for a family meal and a special time of prayer to encourage the child being baptized. Creating a family event around a child’s baptism helps to communicate the importance of this step of obedience.
- Help parents anticipate their child’s first opportunity to observe with a dedicated family conversation using the one-sheet which might include who is allowed to participate and why, how often it is observed in your church, etc.
- This time allows all family members to review this importance of this public expression of corporate worship.
New Christian Class—Effective New Christian classes give each child an opportunity to not only validate her decision to become a follower of Jesus but it also gives each child and parent confidence they are on a path that is firmly rooted in Scripture.
- Provide a follow-up class for kids after they have made a profession of faith through baptism.
- Similar to the previous class mentioned, a Growing in My Faith class is a good opportunity to talk with children about healthy spiritual habits like personal Bible study, prayer, giving, and so forth.
- Lifeway Kids “I’m a Christian Now” resources provide a great framework for a class for your ministry and at-home discipleship for parents.
There are other checkpoints that you may choose to include, but hopefully this post has helped you start or continue thinking about ways you can partner and celebrate with parents as the kids in your ministry pass through this important checkpoint. I encourage you to “run with endurance the race that lies before [you], keeping [your] eyes on Jesus… ” as you “pursue as [your] goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 3:13-14)
Click here for a downloadable Checkpoints PDF. There are 2 pages in this document. One with the checkpoints we’ve listed in the original post (found here) and one with some blank boxes for your to write in your own.
Jeremy Carroll is the team leader for Lifeway Kids Discipleship Resources. Before coming to Lifeway, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.