Encouraging Children to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Contributor
Although children can learn and desire to receive Holy Spirit Baptism on their own, He is still a gift they should be encouraged to seek. This can be done through a variety of ways both in the home and in the local church or ministry setting. Here are a few practices you can use:
Share your own personal experience. Children love to hear and grasp quickly to stories. Holy Spirit Baptism is a very unique and personal experience to every believer. Sharing your story with kids is a great way to help them shift past their own fears and realize that they are just as much God’s child as you are and that they too can be filled like scripture says.
Do not just limit children to hearing your testimony as their parent or ministry leader. Seek out other individuals of different ages who have received Holy Spirit Baptism. When sharing your story, try to avoid sharing too much about your emotional response to what was happening. You may have cried a lot or felt you could run or jump, but this could put unrealistic expectations or fears into a child. Focus on your response to God and how your life has been different because of the gift.
Cultivate an atmosphere of prayer and praise. Seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can be intimidating to a child.Many children may hear and learn about this gift, but because they are not used to being in an environment of prayer or praise, when the time comes for them to respond to the invitation, it is awkward, and they don’t know what to do.
Children’s pastors and ministry leaders should always ensure that each time the children gather there is an opportunity to respond to God through worship and prayer. It does not need to be a “Holy Spirit Baptism” sermon each week, but children should feel they can freely talk to God and engage in His presence. Children should know and trust that your worship area is a safe and sacred place for them to encounter God.
Parents can also model this atmosphere for their children at home by showing and teaching the value of personal and family times of prayer and worship. Parents and ministry leaders alike should affirm children when God’s presence has met them in a special way during one of these times.
Teach kids to enjoy seeking. Holy Spirit Baptism can be a very deep and emotional experience for a child. Many times, when seeking this gift, individuals spend countless time and hours praying, expecting, and waiting to receive. When a child walks away from a time of prayer or worship and does not receive this gift, it can be devastating to them. They may question their relationship with God and even question their own personal faith journey. When teaching about this gift, we should help children realize there is just as much joy and pleasure in the process of seeking this gift as in receiving.
What could be more beautiful than praying and worshiping God wholeheartedly? Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t about attaining something that will make you special, it is about seeking God and pursuing Him. Our goal should always be to help children to desire and enjoy God’s presence above all else.
The more we discuss God’s presence and provide our children the opportunities to seek a spirit-filled life, the more encouraged they will be in desiring Him. Our goal should never be to push or put children in a situation where they are spiritually uncomfortable, but instead allow them to naturally fall in love with the gifts God has for them. There is no greater joy than to help children embrace God’s presence and power in their own life.
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.