7-year-olds can be awful curious about all things spiritual, including baptism. If you have ever wondered a good way to explain baptism to a 7-year-old child, here are some ideas!
So, how do you explain baptism to a 7-year-old? Explain that people are baptized because they want to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus set the perfect example for all of us and people are trying to be like Him by doing what He did. Baptism is performed with water, either by immersion or sprinkling depending on religion.
Children are often curious as to the why and the how of things like baptism. Let’s talk about some easy ways to explain the complex reasons why some choose to be baptized.
Baptism to a 7-Year-Old
7-year-olds are naturally curious. Anyone who has raised a child this age knows that it can be difficult to stem the torrent of questions that so freely flow from the mouth of a child.
The questions that a kid can ask are often profound, and a lot of parents are surprised when their child asks them about a spiritual matter like baptism.
Baptism is something that children would naturally be drawn to. Kids want to do good and be good. Baptism, whether they heard about it at a church or from a friend, to a child, is just another way to be a better person.
But how can you explain in simple terms the profound symbolism behind baptism and the complex reason why people participate in the ceremony? Not to mention all the various modes of baptism in different Christian denominations.
Let’s look at the why and how of baptism and then explore some of the different modes of the ordinance in Christianity.
Explaining the Why of Baptism
In order to explain baptism to a 7-year-old, it is important for you yourself to understand why someone is baptized.
Baptism is the earliest of Christian rites. John the baptist began baptizing in the river Jordan in the first century AD. Jesus Christ, John’s cousin, at the age of 30 descended into the waters of baptism to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).
What does it mean to fulfill all righteousness? We are baptized to receive a remission of sins. Jesus was perfect, so he didn’t need to receive a remission of sins but He is also our perfect example in this life. By being baptized Himself, Jesus showed how we can receive a remission of sins and come closer to God’s kingdom.
After Jesus was resurrected, He commanded His disciples to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 29: 19). Ever since then, baptism has been a way to take upon oneself the name of Christ and become part of His kingdom.
The rite of baptism, as performed by immersion, is deeply symbolic. It represents a persons death as a sinner (going into the water) and their rebirth as a follower of Jesus (coming up from the water). It also represents the death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection three days later.
Now that we understand the basics of baptism, let’s look at some simple ways to explain this to a child.
Explain that Jesus loves all of us and wants us to be happy. He lived a perfect life and showed us how we can be happy. Part of being happy is doing the things that Jesus did.
Jesus was baptized to show people that they can be happy if they are baptized too. When someone is baptized, they promise to keep God’s commandments and love other people.
Baptism is a big responsibility, but God is happy when we follow the example of His Son, so we should have faith and follow Him.
Help your child understand that by being baptized a person is completely cleansed of sin. Sin occurs when we break one of God’s commandments, but when we repent and are baptized God remembers our sins no more.
Baptism may seem complicated, but you may be surprised by how much your 7-year-old understands the ordinance. Have confidence that your child is capable of understanding, but also be prepared to answer the onslaught of questions that is sure to follow.
Explaining in a Non-Christian Context
If you yourself aren’t a practicing Christian and your child still has questions of baptism, a lot of what I described earlier will still be useful.
Explain that Jesus taught people how to be good and that in order to follow His example some people are baptized. Baptism shows that they are committed to being a good person, even if they still aren’t perfect.
We at all times wish to be respectful to another person’s beliefs. What is sacred to someone else can be respected by us even if we don’t agree with them.
Different Modes of Baptism Throughout Christianity
While the reasons behind baptism are more or less the same throughout Christendom, the mode of effectuating the ordinance can differ substantially between denominations.
Let’s go over a few different modes of baptism in order to have a better understanding of how to explain the “how” of the ordinance to your child.
Baptism by Immersion
Baptism by Immersion is done when the believer is completely dunked into the water by a priest or other authorized individual. It emphasizes the death of the sinner and the rebirth of a new person in Christ. Here are some denominations that baptize by immersion.
Baptists stress the need to be a believer in order to be baptized. Believing that small children are too young to make the decision by themselves they wait until they are older to perform the ordinance.
Seventh-day Adventists stress the symbolism of the death and ressurection of Christ in baptism, thus only performing the ordinance by immersion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Latter-Day Saints state the following concerning baptism,
“we are baptized by being lowered under water and raised back up by a person who has authority from God to do so. This action symbolizes Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and it also represents the end of our old lives and beginning a new life as His disciples.” (D&C 20: 72-74)
They emphasis the need to be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority in order to enter the kingdom of God.
Other Modes of Baptism
Other Christian denominations baptize, but not by immersion. They may do this due to physical handicaps that do not allow a person to be submerged completely under the water, or due to the baptism of infants.
The practice of infant baptism is derived from the theological theory that we are all born in sin due to “original sin”. Mankind was born into original because Adam, the first man, broke God’s commandments, thus condemning himself and his posterity (I.E us).
Those that follow this doctrine hold that baptism is how we escape the effects of original sin. Thus the need to be baptized and quickly.
Both the Greek and Roman Orthodox churches perform infant baptisms as well as Lutheran and Methodist denominations.
Helping Your Child Understand
Children are very curious about a lot of things. We should encourage this curiousity by supplying good answers. At the same time, don’t be shy in admitting that there is something you don’t know.
We are only human after all and children come up with some darn good questions.
Be loving and patient when listening to your child. If you want them to come back to you with questions don’t yell at them. Becoming angry will only drive your child away.
I know something like baptism may be hard to explain to your kid, but it shows that they have an inquiring mind. Encourage your child to explore the world around them and help them find their own beliefs
Should my 7-year-old be baptized? That entirely depends on what you and your child believe. If your 7-year-old wants to be baptized then you should help them make this very important decision.
7-years-old is still pretty young, but your child is old enough to start forming their own beliefs. Help guide your child by learning about the importance of baptism with them.