Water Baptism and Children

When are children ready for water baptism?

by JP Cannon/ September 7, 2016

My opinion and leading is prompted by the two questions I get asked: “Is my child too young to be water baptized?” and, “Can you meet and talk with my child to make sure they are ready to be baptized?”

What is too young? If your child is old enough to articulate their understanding of sin and forgiveness and their commitment to Christ on their own, then they are “old enough.”

Who made me the gatekeeper? Each parent should make sure his or her child is ready for water baptism. When it comes to children, they are still under the authority of their parent. The parent will be held accountable for the training of their child. My role as children’s pastor is to assist, not dictate. My only intervention comes in matters of doctrine and policy of our local church.

So if they are not “too young” and I’m not “the gatekeeper,” why would I ever say no? If it is clearly evident that a parent is pushing their child to be baptized, and the child is clearly oblivious to the significance, I will always politely say no.

My ultimate goal when it comes to water baptism is that it would be performed by the child’s parent/guardian. What a great moment for a family to share and a great memory for the child to hold onto! I truly feel parents should be the guides for every step of a child’s faith.