The Spiritual Growth of a Child

By Pastor Trey Sullins

PART TWO (Read PART ONE here.)

Once a child has accepted Christ as their savior, a parent’s next question is often, “When is my child ready for baptism?”

Baptism is a wonderful act of obedience any believer can take. It is the outward demonstration of what Jesus has done in their life. For children, it can be both an exciting time as well as a frightening one.

The Bible teaches that baptism is the physical act of obedience that occurs after a person has given their life to Christ and accepted His gift of eternal life. There are some religions that have “infant baptism”, which is designed to insure salvation and dedication to God for the child before they can make that decision for themselves. AFBC believes the Bible teaches that as parents we dedicate our children to God and train them in His Word, but that is not salvation. It leads them toward salvation which they must choose on their own.

I like to use the analogy of the wedding ring. I ask the child if they know what it is. Often times they do and I am able to take it off and hand it to them. I then ask the question, “If I take off my wedding ring am I still married?” Some will answer yes and some will say no. Then I ask them, “If you put the ring on, does it make you married?” Then most of them get the idea that it is just a ring. I go on to explain that the ring is something I wear to show people that I am married. The ring doesn’t make me married, but is a symbol of my being married. The ring is like baptism. When you ask Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins, you get baptized to show other people that Jesus is now your “boss”.

Recently we had a number of the children in our church experience baptism. It has raised a number of questions among the other children. They want to know about baptism. What does it mean? Can I do it too? This is a great time for parents to begin a dialogue with their child to determine if the child is ready for baptism.

You will want to ask questions like:
“Why do we need to be baptized?” The obvious answer is, “Because God said so” or they might say, “To show others that Jesus is my boss.” You might also inquire, “Why do you want to be baptized?”

This type of conversation with your child will give you a better understanding of their level of comprehension.

When you feel your child is ready to be baptized, you can then communicate with a pastor that your child understands that they are a sinner and have accepted Jesus into their life and is ready to show others, through baptism, that they are now followers of Christ.

The Spiritual Growth of a Child


By Pastor Trey Sullins
I am often asked, “How do I know if my child is ready to accept Christ?”

Parents often wonder at what age a child truly understands that they are a sinner and need to invite Jesus into their lives and be saved. The Bible does not give a specific age. If you have children, you know that children develop individually and understand things at different ages and stages. There is not one age where a child automatically understands that they are sinners, in need of God’s forgiveness.

Children can go through several steps of salvation.

• The first step could be that they know asking Jesus in their hearts is a good thing and it would make their parents happy. However, they do not fully understand that they are sinners. You can ask some children and they will tell you they have not sinned. You can’t become a Christian until you have sinned.

• Another step could be that they know Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. They know that they may have sinned and want to please the pastor or their parents. There could be many different reasons that the child may make the decision to ask Jesus in their heart, but the child must understand that they have sinned and have done things that are wrong. Once they understand that, they can then begin to understand that sin is what separates them from God and the only way to have a relationship with God is to accept the forgiveness that Jesus gave us when He died on the cross.

• Children will often times ask Jesus in to their hearts a number of times. This should not concern you; this child is searching and trying to understand as they grow.
Are you supposed to wait until the child fully understands the whole process and the details of being a Christian? The answer is no. Do you fully understand the Bible as a whole and your relationship with God? Probably not. As a parent, the task given to you, through God’s Word, is that you are to lead your child to an understanding that we are all sinners and need to ask Jesus to forgive our sins and come into our lives and be our “boss”.