Teaching Methods and Water Baptism
Object lessons and talks on practical aspect of baptism are helpful
by Danielle Christy / October 17, 2017
Water baptism is an ordinance of the church, along with communion. It is also talked about in Scripture as something that Christians should do as an act of faith. But how do you teach kids about water baptism and its importance?
Aside from reading the Matthew 3:13-16 account of Jesus' baptism, there are a few other Scripture verses or things we can share with kids about water baptism. With kids, I usually involve a Barbie® doll or a super hero that they can literally dunk in a bowl of water. With this illustration, we talk about the practical aspect of baptism: where the tank is located, who will be in there with them, how cold the water will be, the fact that there is no way they are going to drown, and answering whatever questions they may have. If you are using this as a class for baptism, you can also take the students on a field trip to go and see the baptismal tank for themselves (particularly if it’s in your building).
We also like to talk about symbols, like my wedding ring. My wedding ring is a symbol that I am married to my husband, but my wedding ring isn't my husband and it's not my marriage. It's just an outward symbol to show other people that I am married. Baptism is similar. It's not our walk with Jesus and it's not what gets us into heaven. Instead it's an outward symbol to show other people that we've accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for us and that He is a major part of our lives.
We then finish our discussion by eating Oreo® cookies. Why Oreos®? Because they are fabulous with milk (smiles)! When we dunk Oreos® into milk, they become one: some milk gets on the cookie and some of the cookie gets into the milk. When we accept Jesus into our life, He becomes a part of us, a major part of our life. During baptism, when we are dunked into water, we are showing everyone that Jesus is a part of us, a major part.
Kids learn more abstractly than adults do, so object lessons are very helpful when teaching kids about water baptism. Also, anytime we can include more than one of our senses in a theological discussion, not only will kids have a better chance of remembering it, but they will connect with it more.
Whenever you baptize children, remember to talk to their parents also, and include them in the classes, meetings, or discussions. One way to do that is to create a sheet filled with Scripture and an activity they can do together at home as a family. (You could pick one of the activities above.) If it’s an option at your church, invite one of the parents to be the second person in the baptismal tank with you, so that the parent can be an active part in this step of their child’s faith.
What are some fun ways you have taught baptism to kids or teenagers? Email us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.