Explaining Holy Spirit Baptism to Children
One of the hurdles that must be overcome when teaching and explaining the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to children is ensuring that the explanation is done in a manner that is true and well-understood. Many times when we teach children about Holy Spirit Baptism, we tend to get nervous and fearful because we set expectations in our minds and heart about what this needs to look like. We think that we have to be full of fire and that children should respond by crying and pouring their hearts out to God in the altar. These expectations are not fair to you as the one teaching or to the child. Teaching truth to children means that we simply teach them scripture. What does God’s word specifically say about this subject? When we are faithful to following scripture, then we do not have to worry about the outcome.
With the proper backing of scripture you can have confidence in your teaching and can even provide the kids in your ministry with the resources that they need to seek and study about Holy Spirit baptism themselves. Allow children to ask questions and be inquisitive. This is a subject that can be confusing to many children; especially children whose parents or families may not have engaged with them in an environment where the presence of God is welcome. Studying and learning about God is the process of spiritual growth that even kids are to take part in. Here are a few key points that kids (and adults) need to know about this great gift:
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not something to be afraid of. When children see and experience the moving of the Holy Spirit they may witness many things that seem out of the ordinary. This can put a natural fear in children especially children who are apt to being more shy or timid. As pastors, teachers, and parents you must help discern what is happening when they witness this type of experience so that you can better explain it to them in regards to whether or not it truly was a move of the Holy Spirit or someone simply being filled with emotion. Assure the child that Holy Spirit baptism is a gift from God and that God is love; where there is perfect love there is no fear. (1 John 4:16-18)
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for every believer – kids too! When we teach children that they are made in God’s image and have a divine capacity as full-spiritual beings, then they will know and trust they too can be filled just like they can experience their own personal relationship with God. When we teach this to children, it is important that we teach the difference between the conversion and Holy Spirit baptism. Every believer has the Holy Spirit, but the receiving of this gift is different and separate. Scripture talks specifically about how every believer is able to experience this outpouring in the last days. (1 John 4:13; Romans 4:18; Acts 19:1-6; Acts 2:38)
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural gift. There is no specific set of instructions, words, or phrases that children need to learn or memorize. Their own heavenly language will be experienced as they pursue more of God and a spirit-filled life as a believer. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, and like all gifts it is given freely and without strings attached. God knows and loves His children and desires them to experience what it means to be full to overflowing with His Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8; Luke 11:13)
What we teach kids to believe about God and Holy Spirit Baptism is foundational to not only who they are now, but to the believer they will be in the future. Misguidance and not properly bringing children to scripture to help guide the conversation can cause them to be resistant or fearful. Take time to have several (yes, more than one!) conversations with the kids in your life on what it means and looks like to experience this gift from God.
Joy Hensley serves as the Training Specialist for International Children’s Ministries, as well as associate pastor of children at Spring Place Church of God of Prophecy in Cleveland, Tennessee. She is a graduate of Lee University with a Master of Arts degree in Ministry Studies.