We’ve had the conversation a few times. Our daughter sees what it means to be a Christian every day (at least we hope so!). She watched her older brother make the transformation a few years back and even saw him baptized by his Dad (and my husband, David Pendergrass) on Resurrection Sunday a few years ago. So, when Julia heard that a baptism was to take place on Resurrection Sunday (Easter), she was eager to join the family of faith.
Some questions often arise when children seem eager to begin a Christian “walk”: Is she ready? Does she really know what it means to be a Christian? Is she choosing this path or does she just want to make her Mommy and Daddy happy? My husband and I asked the same questions. My conclusion is that children are led by the Holy Spirit just as adults are. We must explain things the best way we can, teach them biblical concepts, and guide them to follow what the Holy Spirit says.
What did we do exactly? It was a long conversation. Here are some of the things we talked about. We made sure that she understood what sin (or a bad choice) is and that she had committed sins (giving a few specific examples). We discussed Jesus’s sacrifice (on the cross) to pay for our sins and how he was raised to new life. We told her about this free gift (like the pack of gum I had just bought her at the grocery store) and that it was her choice to accept or reject this gift. We told her that when you become a Christian your sins are washed away and you’re made clean (like taking a bath after playing in the mud). We told her about baptism and how it signifies (on the outside) what happens to us on the inside. We told her that this was a life-long commitment (big promise like Daddy and my promise to stay married forever). She got it!
I told her that the next step was to tell God that she wanted to be a Christian, that she believed in Jesus and all that he had done for her, and that she wanted to be forgiven. Then my husband and I had the privilege of leading our 7-year-old baby girl to Christ! Julia was elated! We quickly Skyped with several family members to tell them the good news. We posted the video and tagged family member and friends, and the celebration continued.
The following day (Resurrection Sunday), my husband baptized sweet Julia as she made her baptismal commitment before God, her church family, and several little friends. Watch the video and share in the joyous celebration alongside us!
So, how do you have this conversation? You talk to your children in simple terms, using examples that they understand. You act like a Christian in front of your children (and in the car, and when you’re angry, and when they disobey). You entertain your children’s questions, and say, “I’m not sure, but I’ll find out,” if you are unsure of the answers. You take them to church and read Bible stories to them. You read my blog to get more ideas…