Today, my ten year old girl Kylee asked, “Daddy, how much does it cost to be baptized?”

What a cute question. It gave me the opportunity to sit down and talk to her and my six year old son Will about baptism.

Flashback six months.

My other daughter Katelynn (who is eleven), was desirous to be baptized. In actuality, she has been for quit some time. Every time I have said “no.” I just have not been comfortable with her sincerity. It is not her trust in Christ that I question, but her reasons for wanting to be baptized. It always seems to have a motivation of “fun” and the my-friend-got-baptized-so-I-want-to-also argument. I don’t like that. She is kind of a show off. She likes to be the center of attention. Like when we are at the Credo House getting ready to do a class or Bible study, she wants to be on camera and speak into the mic for no reason other than to show her pretty face. Our church is pretty typical in the way we do baptism. It is believer’s baptism and it takes place in a baptismal which is right behind the stage. Many people are present as you confess your faith and illustrate your new life in Christ by going under water (being buried with Christ) and coming out of the water (raised to a new life).

Simply put, while I think Katelynn understands what baptism is about, I don’t like the competing motives that are arm wrestling in her mind right now.

Every time she asks to be baptized, I test her by saying “OK, let’s do it right now. We can do it in the bath tub.” Each time she refuses. This, to me, confirms my thoughts about her motives. She is just not ready.

I am not saying I am right, but it is where I am.

Flash forward to today.

Katelynn is out of town at camp. Its just me, Will, Kylee, and Zach (my three year old). After discussing with Kylee and Will about baptism, both were excited. Kylee is different than Katelynn. She is not such an attention monger. She, like Katelynn, asked if she could be baptized. So did Will. So I put it to the test. I said,  “Sure. Let’s go outside to the pool and I will baptize you both right now.” They both agreed with surprising excitement.

Now, I am an ordained minister of the Gospel, but, to me, this adds no qualifying credentials to my ability to baptize. I don’t see anywhere in Scripture which even suggests that only someone in ministerial authority can baptize someone else. If the great commission is given to all people and we place sharing the Gospel message on the backs of all, then why not the other part of the Great Commission, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”? Church tradition, as you probably are aware, is certainly not unified on this. Therefore, I go with a simple reading of Scripture and say that everyone, young or old, male or female, including you, can and should baptize others. Have you ever baptized anyone?

As well, while my particular tradition suggests that baptism should be done at church on Sunday evenings at 6:30pm once a month, there is simply no reason for us to be bound by such constraints. If a person understands what baptism is about and has made a commitment to Christ, find water. It is pretty simple. While nice, I don’t see any reason why a crowd is necessary at all. I mean, how big would the crowd have to be?

I am always reminded of the simple story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. Remember, the Eunuch listened to the Gospel and then desired to be baptized. Philip did not call a big crowd together of other Christians (although there was probably quite a few people in the Ethiopian’s convoy) and schedule a baptismal service. Philip did not present him with his official ordination certificate. Simply put, Philip was not bound by the traditional production we are so fond of today (not that it is necessarily evil or anything). He simply found water.

“As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” (Acts 8:37-38)

Sometimes I think we make baptism far too complicated and in the production lose some of the meaning.

This being said, I took both Kylee and Will into the pool and baptized them. This is what I was commanded to do. I will do the same with Katelynn if she so desires. While I have nothing against some of the traditions we have with regards to baptism, I think we need to be careful.  Baptism is free, but it is too important for us to lose in our traditionalism. Sometimes we just need to go find water.

What say you? Would you baptize your kids in the pool? Why or why not?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    22 replies to "On Baptizing My Children Today"

    • I would agree that we have too often bound God’s ordinances to certain times and certain contexts and certain people officiating. I am not an ordained minister, though I do have the position of elder in my church, and while I have never baptized anyone, I have served communion many times at the pastor’s request or in the pastor’s absence including sometimes to smaller groups. Is this wrong?

    • Steve

      The night I accepted Christ (when alone in an apartment I fell on my face in brokenness and prayer and asked Him to save me from my sins–and certain death–I actually put on some cut-offs, jumped into the apartment swimming pool at like 3 a.m. and baptized ‘myself—I dunked myself 3 times: “In the Name of the Father” (dunk) “In the Name of the Son (dunk) “in the Name of the Holy Spirit (dunk). 3 months later, when I found myself in a Bible College in Dallas, I had the academic dean baptize me (before a few witnesses) just to play it “safe.” LOL Actually, looking back, I think my own self-baptism was adequate. For it was in heart-felt obedience and gratitude. Congratulations and all praise to God, Michael, for the baptism of your precious children!

    • Eric S. Mueller

      My kids are 4 and 5, and while they seem to understand the reasons for baptism, and say they trust in Christ, I might wait a few years. AWANA has done a good job.

      I was baptized in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm in my swimming pool. The minister actually came out late on a Friday to do it, but in that tradition they are big on baptism and try to get it done right away with anything a body will submerge in. Sometimes I wish I’d waited. A few people, like my mother-in-law, told me they would have liked to have seen it.

    • JasonJ


      I have a 9 year old and a 7 year old. Neither have approached this topic yet on their own, but I’ve wrestled with this: how do I handle it when the subject comes up from them?

      I wanted to thank you for this post because it has given me some direction of thought in handling this when it comes up.

      If think I will use your test with my own kids when the time comes.

    • Warren Lamb


      I couldn’t agree with you more. It has become our practice as a fellowship to have the believing male leader of a family baptize the members of his family. In absence of this, then the believing elder female of the family will do so. One of the most exciting things to see take place is when the father gets baptized, and then baptizes his wife and children in turn immediately following his own baptism.

      I have had people at a Bible study ask to be baptized, others at a local Christian event, and even a former Catholic at the end of a luncheon where the discussion was believer’s baptism ask to be baptized right away. We have not dleayed and have either gone down to the pool (when we have lived where we had access to one), or down to the closest river (and we have some pretty cold ones here in the Northwest – melting snow, you know). It has always seemed to carry a greater emotional impact for all involved than when we did the church baptistry action once a month.

      These folks have all been where Steve described himself as being. They had a sense of urgency about getting baptized, like it was something they just HAD to do to be obedient to what they had just learned.

      The carryovers from Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism and other liturgical traditions I think put undue importance on the “office” of the ones “officiating” the ordinances. In fact, one of the greatest joys I have at weddings is to serve communion to the groom and have him in turn, serve his bride following their vows. It swends a strong message to the couple as well as those in attendance about the spiritual responsibility of all believers, especially within the family structure.

      Thanks for transparently sharing this stuff, Michael.

    • cherylu


      I found what happened in your family yesterday truly beautiful.

      And what a special memory it will be for you to share in coming years too.

      Warren Lamb,

      I was a part of a church once that only had a baptismal service once a year. Can you imagine waiting for a year to be baptized?

    • Warren Lamb


      I was once (briefly) being considered to pastor a church like that – THAT interview made the process come to a screeching halt.

    • Pax

      beautiful post sir patton! amazing piece of testimony steve(commenter #3) gave.

    • mbaker


      I’m so glad you went ahead and did this. That will indeed be special memory for all of you.

      Because I never got officially immersed at church when I accepted the Lord in my teens, I had never thought much about the importance of it over the ensuing years until my husband asked me to marry him, six years ago this week. He couldn’t believe I had been a Christian all these years and never been water baptized, so a few hours before we were married he baptized me himself in the Spokane River. That was a double blessing on our wedding day, and a memory that will be always be much more special because it was done by someone very dear to me.

      God bless.

    • cherylu


      Wow, that is a wonderful story.

    • KG

      Great post!

      I agree that baptism is very important and yet often gets overcomplicated by well meaning believers. I cannot imagine telling anyone that they need to wait until some kind of special production could be scheduled. I think you did the right thing.

      I agree that baptism should not be swallowed upon in too much pomp and circumstance.

      I also believe that delaying a baptism once a person is qualified is not appropriate for other reasons that I develop more fully while addressing a slightly different question on another blog…

      Keep up the good work. I always appreciate your honesty in dealing with these kinds of issues.

    • James R

      This is an issue that is fast approaching for me. Today makes the third time this year that my 7 yr. old daughter has asked me about being baptized. I hesitate because of my own experience and those of countless others. I was baptized at an early age, but had no real conversion experience until much later in life. It was just the thing to do. I see too many teens and young adults who consider themselves to be Christian simply because they said the prayer or were baptized.

      My gut reaction is this; I want to see fruit in my daughters life before she is baptized. I want to know that she is not just being religious, but that she is outwardly expressing a regenerated heart.

      Is this wrong?

    • Frank!

      Congrats sir! My one tiny quable would be that baptism is meant to be a public statement to the world of our decision to follow Christ. I think it would have been nice to have the church around. That’s about it. On another note, years ago, my youth group went on a camping trip and we gave baptism classes. One of the guys decided that he wanted to get baptized. His parents drove up a few hours after the fact. Not exactly how I would have done it. I’m sure a lot of us have similar horror stories.

    • Steve martin


      A great audio (by my pastor) on faith, and how it relates to baptism:



    • Pat Roach

      To answer your final question: no I would not baptize my children in the pool. I’m afraid you turned (with good intentions) a simple and corporate ordinance into something private and complicated. Baptism is initiation into Christ’s body, the Church. Your description of what happened doesn’t include anyone more than your family. Christ’s family is more than just kin (Mark 3). Further, it sounds like you made your daughters qualification for baptism something more than simple faith in Christ. It was faith PLUS how you felt about their motives (which Scripture says will always be mixed, anyway).


    • Jay

      My angle: My twin daughters who are 5 are asking the baptism question. One with more intent than the other, but I believe both are worthy of baptism. Worthy is the wrong word there, but you understand what I am saying…

      Anyway, I really want them to remember their baptism. That act of obedience can serve them well later in their Xian life, and I want the assurance it provides to be a vivid memory (the why and how of it) not a vague one. So we will wait until 8 or 9.

      Next post: Communion

    • David Di Giacomo

      I was baptized in a Pentecostal church in December 2007. I had heard there was a water baptism night coming up and talked to my pastor. I was hesitant as I was not sure of my motivations or what exactly baptism implied, but he just shrugged. “Jesus told us to do it, so you can do it any time. It’s nothing magic.” Are you sure I shouldn’t wait? Shrug. “You’ll do it someday, so why not now? Nothing magical happening here.” More questions, more shrug shrug shrug. It’s nothing magic, nothing special, we just do it. Well, I went through it anyway, and the highlight of that night for me had nothing to do with Christ, it was that I was being baptized with the woman I was in love with at the moment. Other than that, it was just kind of superficial lacklustre event. My parents were excited and took lots of pictures.

      Fast forward. I married that woman, and in October of last year we were both baptized (she nearly 9 months pregnant) in an Orthodox church by an Orthodox priest in communion with an Orthodox bishop. When we arrived at the church, he informed us, “So you’re aware that you’re going to die today, right?” No doubt about what was it was about. No shrugging, no cheesy jumbotrun. We had come home.

      This past February, a few days after the feast of Theophany, the feast of Christ’s baptism, our priest baptized our first son, Elijah, at the age of approximately 2 months. Now he’s home too.

    • Steve martin

      David Di Giacomo,

      Now that is baptism!

      No magic in baptism, but plenty of power (as the Bible tells us).

      God’s power. God is the one who baptizes and He is no respector of our reason, or our “free will”. God baptizes.

      My pastor always says (when we are baptizing a baby) that “isn’t it odd that the first thing God does when He baptizes a baby is to put it to death.”

      Often the parents or friends of the family (who might not know much Lutheran theology) look very troubled upon hearing that statement.

      They need to look at Romans 6 to see that it is quite Biblical indeed.

    • amanda

      i am 24 and female.i was baptized at age 11 as an infant thru the infant baptism program at our parish.i was born a premmie and then we moved three parents were strict catholic and finially wanted to do it right when i was 11.they had a talk with me and told me that my baptism was my entrance into gods kingdom and that i would be baptized as an infant to start over.i was baptized in april just after easter.i was dressed as an infant in a white gown,bonnet,lace socks and parents put a cloth diaper and rubber pants on me to make fell like an infant.i was picked up and held to receive the water and considered an infant for the day.

    • gary

      Why is the New Testament silent on Infant Baptism?

      Baptist/evangelical response:

      The reason there is no mention of infant baptism in the New Testament is because this practice is a Catholic invention that developed two to three centuries after the Apostles. The Bible states that sinners must believe and repent before being baptized. Infants do not have the mental maturity to believe or to make a decision to repent. If God had wanted infants to be baptized he would have specifically mentioned it in Scripture. Infant baptism is NOT scriptural.

      Lutheran response:

      When God made his covenant with Abraham, God included everyone in Abraham’s household in the covenant:

      1. Abraham, the head of the household.
      2. His wife.
      3. His children: teens, toddlers, and infants
      4. His servants and their wives and children.
      5. His slaves and their wives and children.

      Genesis records that it was not just Abraham who God required to be circumcised. His son, his male servants, and his male slaves were all circumcised; more than 300 men and boys.

      Did the act of circumcision save all these people and give them an automatic ticket into heaven? No. Just as in the New Covenant, it is not the sign that saves, it is God’s declaration that saves, received in faith. If these men and boys grew in faith in God, they would be saved. If they later rejected God by living a life of willful sin, they would perish.

      This pattern of including the children of believers in God’s covenant continued for several thousand years until Christ’s resurrection. There is no mention in the OT that the children of the Hebrews were left out of the covenant until they reached an Age of Accountability, at which time they were required to make a decision: Do I want to be a member of the covenant or not? And only if they made an affirmative decision were they then included into God’s covenant. Hebrew/Jewish infants and toddlers have ALWAYS been included in…

    • Christine D.

      To Amanda-like you i was baptized when i was older-at age parents got back into the catholic faith after leaving it for a few years after i was born.i was required to be baptized as an infant thru the infant baptism program to signify my rebirth and entrance into gods kingdom as an infant.I was required to wear a white infant style gown,with a bonnet,white tights and booties and had to wear a cloth diaper and rubber pants under the tights with a white tee shirt.I was dressed in the outfit in the parish nursery and even had a pacifier around my neck and was considered a regular infant for the day.I then made my First communion 2 year later at 15 with the 7 year olds and had to wear the communion dress and veil with my baptism diaper,rubberpants and tights under the dress.i am now a devout catholic woman strong in my faith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.