David Michael

Thursday Book Club: Preparing Young People For Baptism

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Preparing Young Children for Baptism: Mentor's Guide and Pastor's Supplement by David Michael (Children Desiring God, 2011). Baptism is a significant act of obedience, and an important milestone in the life of a young believer. These  booklets outline a process, objectives, and sessions for leading a young person through the meaningful process of baptism preparation. Used together, the Pastors's Supplement and Mentor's Guide (designed particularly for fathers) outline a thorough church-sponsored youth baptism process.  The Mentor's Guide provides outlines for six "faith talks" for use by mentors during the preparation time, and it includes two appendices, which provide theological justification for the suggested process. The Pastor's Supplement contains instructions for church's wishing to implement a youth baptism process (see below) along with a CD with forms (Microsoft Word 2007) that you can customize for your church.

Here is a brief overview of the process these materials advocate:

1. Interest in and Invitation to Consider Baptism. Parents of prospective baptism candidates usually enter the process at their own request or in response to a letter of invitation from the church. Candidates include young people between the ages of 11 and 18 who have not been baptized, and younger children whose parents have asked to be contacted.  The Pastor's Supplement and CD contain a sample letter of invitation along with a sample response card to include with the letter. Candidates under the age of 18 must gain the consent of their parents before beginning the preparation process.

2. Mentor Orientation Sessions. Parents who indicate a desire to begin the process are invited to a Mentor Orientation Session.  Candidates do not attend this meeting.  The session involves meeting the mentors, developing camaraderie among the mentors, motivating the mentors to responsibly guide and support their candidate through the preparation process, and corporately seeking God's help through prayer.

3. Mentor Sessions with Candidate. Mentors are encouraged to have six separate one-on-one sessions with the youth.  The Mentor Guide gives outlines for structuring these sessions.  The sessions overview the following:

  • Preparing the Candidate for the Process
  • Understanding the Gospel
  • Assurance of Salvation
  • Affirmation of Faith
  • The Meaning of Baptism
  • Preparing a Testimony

4. Mentor and Candidate Group Sessions. Mentors and candidates come together with one or two church leaders.  The candidates share their testimonies with the group and review the meaning of baptism.  They are also introduced to the church's history and the distinctive beliefs about church membership for the local church.  They review the church's covenant and affirmation of faith.  At the end of this meeting, candidates and mentors complete and turn in the response forms.  The Pastor's Supplement contains model notes for these sessions.

5. Baptism Interview. After both the candidate and mentor have indicated the candidates readiness to move ahead with baptism, and in some cases church membership, the candidate will be interviewed.  The interview team will include an elder, an adult leader who has regular contact with the candidate (e.g. Sunday school teacher, small group leader) and an older youth who has been baptized.  During this interview the candidate gives his testimony and responds to informal questions concerning faith and church membership.

6. Baptism Service. If the Baptism/Membership team recommends the candidate for baptism, the candidate will be scheduled for baptism.  Our service usually includes worship, candidate testimonies, a pastoral message to the candiates, the baptism, and time for family and friends to gather around the young person, lay hands on him, and pray for him.  In our setting, the parents are able to help the young person out of the water and wrap him in a white robe as people gather around him for prayer.

David Michael is Pastor for Parenting and Family Discipleship at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN.  In this booklet, I believe that he has provided the most helpful resource for youth baptism preparation available.  The approach taken by Children Desiring God is similar to Sojourn's position (Download the latest update of our position, process, and student baptism class notes here), and the Mentor Guide contains an article that I've written along with fellow Sojourn member, Scott Holman (Download it here).  David's work in this book goes far beyond the resources we've developed at Sojourn, and I'm excited about using his resources and the CDG Mentor Guide as part of our Student Baptism Process in the future.

Note: Neither Jared Kennedy nor Sojourn Community Church receive any compensation for sales of this resource.


2011 Children Desiring God Conference

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Children Desiring God Conference Notes

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2011 Children Desiring God Conference in Minneapolis, MN.  Ryan Golias blogged through the conference and posted the session notes at

This year the conference theme was "Holding Fast to the Word of the Truth." We live in a culture that doesn’t take truth for granted–doesn’t believe it is necessary for life and faith. What place should truth, and the Word of Truth, have in our ministry to young people? What is our job in bringing truth to children, and how do we do it? We are here to think through these questions.

John Piper, Russel Moore, Kempton Turner, and David Micheal spoke at the conference this year. Visit the Children Desiring God website to find out more about the conference as well as CDG's excellent materials.  Here are some links to Ryan's notes on the main sessions.  I'll includes some notes from two of the break-out sessions I attended later this week.

Notes from the Conference

  1. John PiperThe Sum of Your Word is Truth
  2. Russell MooreNo Longer Tossed To and Fro
  3. Kempton TurnerYour Testimonies Are My Delight
  4. David MichaelChildren Who Will Stand Firm

Connecting Church & Home Conference 2010

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

I was able to attend portions of the Connecting Church & Home conference at Southern Seminary the past weekend.  I am always encouraged by hearing David Michael, Jay Strother, Steve Wright, and Timothy Jones--four men that I count as models in ministry.  It was also good to hang for a few minutes at the seminary bookstore with my friend Tony Kummer.  Here are some links to his coverage of the conference.

Connecting Church and Home Conference- August 20-21, 2010 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo


Michael: Mobilizing Men for Ministry to Children

UncategorizedJared Kennedy6 Comments

Children Desiring God Break-out Session 1Mobilizing Men for Ministry to Children David Michael

One of my passions is to see men involved in children’s ministry.

Bethlehem Baptist statistics: Our congregation is 30% male and 60% female.  Our nursery has 18% male workers.  Our kindergarten—2nd grade group has 34% male workers.  By 5th grade, our classes are approximately 50/50.  43% of our teachers are male.  23% of our team leaders are male.  This is more of an administrative role, and men seem to be less detail oriented.  Of our male staff, 19% are single, 69% are married, and 57% have children of their own.

Why mobilize men? (1)    Because men need to obey the Word as much as women do.

(2)    Because our sons and daughters need the benefit of seeing biblical masculinity up close. “The most important institutions of moral instruction—the family, the church, and the school, are failing to turn out responsible young men”—Al Mohler Our boys are missing the incentives that they once had to rise up and be like men. Our boys are missing training. Our men do not fully understand what it means to be a biblical man and pass this on to their children. Our boys are missing a biblical vision of true masculinity. “As young men, sometimes all we need is a picture of what we could become”—Eric Ludy

Effective ministry to children and youth is effective ministry to men.

(3)    Because our children need to understand that Christian affection is for men as well as women.  This is why we encourage our men to bring their children into our adult services… so that they will see men embracing God with affection.  Young boys need to see that they can do this.  Young girls need to desire men who engage with God.

(4)    Men are called to be spiritual leaders in the home and in the church. Boys and girls need to witness men leading in the home and in the church.  Men who are effective in the home will be effective in our Sunday Schools.  Men who learn to be effective in the Sunday Schools will be encouraged and equipped to lead in their homes.

Why are men reluctant?

(1)    Stereotypes: Q: Currently the number of women involved in ministry to children out number men more than 2-1.  In your opinion what is the reason for this? “Children’s ministry is perceived as more fitting for women than for men.” “Working with children does not seem like manly work.” “Working with children is not perceived as real ministry but as babysitting.”

Over time, the cultural assumption has been that men are not equipped for early childhood work and ministry.

(2)    Lack of Confidence. Men feel spiritually incompetent to teach their children, much less lead others’ children.  Men feel less confident in their faith, and they feel less able to teach the next generation.

(3)    Dominant Female Presence in the Leadership of the Ministry "One important aspect of ministry is the fellowship we have serving with others.   For me, this happens best when there are other men to relate to.  When I volunteer for the nursery, I just don’t feel at home."

(4)    Time “Men generally have more time commitments; committing to a weekly endeavor would push them over the edge.”

(5)    Trust Administrators see a legal liability with men, and there is higher parental concern that their children will be abused.  Men feel this to some degree.

(6)    Low Status This doesn't seem like leadership.

How do we mobilize men? (1)    Pray. Secure the aid of Omnipotence.  “Your business is to train mortals for earth, and immortal beings for God, heaven and eternity…  By believing prayer, secure the aid of Omnipotence”—John Angell James.  Isaiah 31:1; Psalm 116:2

(2)    Call men to pursue a great challenge. “Many men respond to big hairy audacious goals.  I don’t know what that would be, but many men like a good challenge.”—Bethlehem Baptist volunteers

(3)    Call men to pursue a great cause—Join us to raise a generation of boys that will act like men and not a generation that will be wimps and barbarians.  Call them to be strong and courageous Ephesians 6 men.  Men and boys will respond when we call them to take up their cross. “I can tell my 3rd grade guys to look up to me and I get to see their growth every Sunday.  It’s a challenge for me and I’m learning what kind of father I might be if I have kids someday.”  “I have been able to be a part of 3 young men coming to Christ.  This has by far been the most satisfying aspect of the ministry.” “I am excited about Bethlehem’s vision for the next generation and I want to be a part of it.”—Bethlehem Baptist volunteers.

(4)    Impress on men their unique qualifications. Men have something to give that women cannot, namely their manhood.  See John Angel James’ Addresses to Young Men.

(5)    Invite them.

(6)    Invest in male leadership. Bethlehem invested in a pastoral position. “Men need other men to inspire them, motivate them, and hold them accountable.  There are just some issues that only a group of good men can defeat.  Just like there are some things you don’t do alone in life such as swim in the ocean or climb a mountain, men should not go through life alone either.  Men need other men.”—Rich Johnson

(7) Feed them! Both physically (have donuts) and satisfy their hunger to learn and to benefit from ministry, that is, satisfy their Godly desires. “This might seem like a strange ‘encouragement’, but I would tell them that it is HARD.  This takes time, effort, and energy.  You WILL become a stronger believer through this.  Your faith WILL grow.”  “I love that I benefit as much as the kids.  If you want to learn something, teach it.”—Bethlehem volunteers

David and Sally Michael: Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation

UncategorizedJared Kennedy2 Comments

Children Desiring God  Pre-Conference, Session 3Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation: A Heart Response Centered on the Gospel David and Sally Michael

Our goal is to reach a child’s heart through the instruction of his word (Colossians 1:9-10). “It is your job to make clear how the truth you are teaching is practiced experientially.”—Lou Priollo

5 Levels of Learning—Lawrence O. Richards, Creative Bible Teaching, (Moody Press). (1)    ROTE—Ability to repeat without thought of meaning (2)    RECOGNITION—Ability to recognize Biblical concepts; comprehension; can answer a multiple-choice question.  Often this is as far as we get, but we must go beyond facts to meaning and application. (3)    RESTATEMENT—Ability to express or relate concepts to biblical system of thought.  Can answer “why” questions about the story. (4)    RELATION—Ability to relate biblical truth to life and see what a biblical response would be.  Can make a connection to one’s own life.  Can answer the question, “What difference does this make in my life?” (5)    REALIZATION/RESPONSE—Actualizing response: to apply biblical truths in daily life.  Application can best be done by questioning.  This is the way that they learn to think and understand.  Share from your own life experience.  Know your children, and it will help you guide them.  Children need to know what they need to do in response to what you have heard today.  This is a knowing that possesses us.

We must be faithful with the truth—beginning with the truth—then affecting the heart and emotions, and then moving the will.

Parents Seizing Opportunities Parents are in the best position to help children apply to truth to the trials of life, that is, the homework that God gives them.  God gives parents a unique position of influence in the lives of children.  Parents must be clear on what their children are being taught so that they are in a position to apply these things to their lives.  Parents who love God and his word seek to bring God into every situation.  Take home sheets can be the difference between life and death for a child, because these are words of life for the child to believe and live or disbelieve and experience judgment.  One of the best ways to bring a child to the point of response is to respond to it myself.  This may require humbling myself, admitting my need, etc.  One of the privileges we have when we teach children is that the Scriptures grip us. Teach In Such a Way that Children Understand What Proper Responses Are It is so much better for a child to learn a heart lesson though it cause her temporary pain than to experience eternal pain.  Experience is a good teacher—both bad and good experiences.  God brings these life experiences in order to teach our children that He is good.