As you think about your youth ministry, why not plan a youth baptism celebration? Are there students in your youth ministry who have made salvation decisions but have not been baptized? Are there students who have been putting baptism off for whatever reason?
A youth baptism celebration – held in the church baptistery, a swimming pool, lake, a horse water trough, or a river – can energize your youth group and the entire church! Be sure to invite the entire church family to be a part – and of course the families of all the students that you will baptize.
Before you begin to plan your youth baptism celebration, make sure you have the support and approval of your pastor. Share with him your vision of a special youth baptism focusing on students and their stories.
One of the greatest joys a youth minister can have is to see the results from youth ministry and witness the significant spiritual commitments of students.
Here are four ideas I have used to make a youth baptism extra-special:
— Do a video of the student telling a little of their story and show it as the student enters the baptism waters.
— Ask for all youth leaders, teachers, friends and family who have been a part of the student’s life to stand in their honor while the student is being baptized. Be sure to point out to the student all the people who are there supporting them.
— Before you baptize the student, interview them and have them verbally share their story.
— Be sure to document the baptism with a picture, placing it in a nice frame and giving them some form of a baptism certificate they can keep to memorialize the special day.
It‘s important that students understand the biblical teaching about baptism. So before you plan the celebration, hold a session to discuss baptism. Today we can’t take anything for granted, especially when it seems like many students don’t have much biblical knowledge. Remember, baptism is just an outward expression of what has taken place in their heart and is an important step in letting others know they have accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Before you baptize any student, make sure parents are on board. A family-friendly youth ministry helps parents understand their child’s spiritual journey. And again — make sure your pastor is on board, especially if you are doing something creative and a little different than the traditional baptism in the church baptismal pool.
In closing, remember that baptism is just one step in a student’s spiritual journey. Baptism is a great opportunity for them to share their faith story. Help them articulate their life-change story so they can share it both at the time of baptism and at other times. Then get those students actively involved in small group discipleship where they can study God’s word and live life with other believers.
So get with it! Celebrate baptism with students!
Bruce Edwards serves as the Youth Ministry Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. To connect with Bruce about these and other topics, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org