Living out the Christian faith means that you should, from time to time, have a fresh look at your priorities in life. It may be that God and his claims upon you are not the most important factors in the way that you organise your week. In the baptism service you are asked to declare your allegiance to Christ, your commitment to follow him in the years ahead. If you make that promise, how will it be reflected in your family’s future?
Perhaps this sounds a bit demanding, but this is what the service of baptism means. Obviously you wouldn’t want your child’s baptism to be a sham, but something important and sincere.
WHAT ABOUT GODPARENTS?
It is useful to have godparents who take a real interest in the growth and progress of your child. They can join with you in the task of praying for, teaching and giving a good example to your children, and be a friend to them. Obviously they should be carefully chosen, somebody who will take seriously the promises they make in the baptism service. Show the baptism service to the godparents when you ask them, and talk over the promises they are being asked to make.
HELPING YOUR CHILD TO GROW UP IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
This is the responsibility to which you and the godparents commit yourselves. You promise to help and encourage your child to grow up in the Christian faith by your prayers, your example, and your teaching.
Prayer is not difficult – it doesn’t need to be lots of long and complicated sentences – prayer can be described as, `me talking with God’. For the Christian it is a natural thing to do. Pray for your child and with him/her, it doesn’t have to be just about things to do with the church. Everything and anything can be prayed about, the home, friends, school, decisions to be made, everything that makes up our lives.
We know that children learn by watching and then copying what they see; they do this with amazing accuracy. Every parent wants the best for their children, and giving them the best example to copy goes a long way to helping them to get the best out of life. If you pray with them they will learn to pray, if you bring them with you to church, they will learn how to worship and also about the Christian faith through Sunday School.
This sounds very formal – but teaching your child as he or she grows up can be done in a very relaxed and natural way. As we have said, in the very first two or three years of their life they will learn by copying your example, and when Sunday School begins you can ask your child about what he learned and then discuss it. Of course you can’t teach your child what you don’t know yourself! So it’s a good idea to come to church and learn through the sermon, or read some Christian books; there are many available in Christian bookshops. Most important of all, get to grips with the Bible and try to understand it, it’s the best Christian teaching aid there is.
Perhaps you hadn’t realised that a baptism involved so much; but in the service you are making a serious commitment to raise your child to love and worship God and to show concern and love to those around him. This is a huge task (as every parent knows!) but the family of the church will support you fully as you share in its life and worship. We’re with you as you take the plunge!