Never say "No"
Give them a Certificate of Accepting Jesus
This is a certificate to give to children
between ages 3 and 9 who are too young to
but have accepted Jesus as their friend and
Read important information, steps to
baptism, guidelines, and suggestions below.
Never Say "No"
When Making an Appeal
Bible Class for
Steps to Baptism
Certificate available in
These certificates can be used by a church
of any denomination, anywhere in the world.
You can print any number of copies to meet
Note that permission is needed for
publishing in a magazine, book, etc.
The certificate is not to be sold for any
purpose, but given freely.
Click here to download black and white
Click her to download color certificate
Never say “No, you cannot get baptized”
to a little child.
Little children are very impressionable. At
the youngest age, children can have a simple
understanding of Jesus and who he is.
However, children are not able to decide on
baptism, based on a theological
understanding of accepting Jesus. On the
other hand, it is discouraging to just tell
a child that he or she cannot get baptized
because one is too young. That's a negative
and inadequate response. Then, what should
It is my view that a child should not get
baptized until the age of nine or ten.
Why? Because this is the time when
cognition is being development and a stage
where the child can make better moral
decisions. On the other hand, just
accepting Jesus is a simple decision that
can be made at any time and it should be
recognized, even when there is no full
understanding of the doctrinal commitments
one makes in baptism.
Therefore, it is my view that we can give a
“Certificate of Accepting Jesus” to children
ages 3 and 9 who request baptism. I have
done this for many years in my ministry and
found it very effective. In a Bible class,
evangelistic meeting, or revival, an alter
call can be made for
children to accept Jesus and a certificate
can be given to them. (Make sure that the
of the child is on the certificate, and it
is dated and signed by the pastor).
When a child under age ten says “I want to
get baptized” it is not wise to say “no.”
Praise the child for accepting Jesus. Say
to the child that he or she will receive a
certificate for accepting Jesus to honor his
or her decision to become a child of God.
Tell the child you will get baptized when
they get older but the first step is
accepting Jesus, which you will be
recognized by a Certificate of Accepting
I started making specific appeals for
children after twenty years of pastoral
ministry. It took a long time to understand
this. It dawned on me after an appeal, when
many children responded who were too young
to get baptized. I realized my old method
was more discouraging than encouraging. I
realized then, how I was insulting the
intelligence of these little children by
telling them "No, you cannot get baptized
yet. You are too young."
It reminded me what many parents would do
during dinner time. They would invite the
entire family to come to the dining table
eat and fellowship. This will include the
little children, teens, and adults. Then,
soon after and they settled and while
eating, the adults
start a conversation among themselves in
which one of the little one would try to
join in because the child feels he/she can
contribute to the conversation. Then an
adult chimes in and says "Be quiet! This is
an adult conversation" or "Remember, do not
disturb adults when they are talking." How
insulting to the child! The children and
invited to join with everyone for dinner and
are insulted when they seek to participate
in the conversation. Why have them around
the table to eat if they cannot be included
in the conversation around the table?
This caused me to think. I thought we are
doing the same thing as pastors by the way
we make appeals in church or evangelistic
serious. We open the floor and invite
everyone to come to Jesus. Some pastors
insist and insist from the pulpit. Then who
responds? The adults, teens and little
children. The adults and some teens are
recognized, and the little children are
pushed aside. For me, it is painful to
watch. I have seen children in tears
because of that approach.
When I began this new approach, I saw the
difference. When I began pastoring at a
particular church in Nassau, The Bahamas, I
began with a short evangelistic series. At
the beginning of the series a mother came to
me and stated that she was having difficulty
telling her five-year-old son he was too
young to get baptized. He would cry when she
said "No, you are too young." She wondered
what to do. I told her that one night in
the series I will have an appeal for little
children to accept Jesus and he can
respond. I told her I will give him, along
with the other children who responded, a
certificate of Accepting Jesus. The appeal
was made a more than a dozen children
responded. A few days later, during one of
the meetings, I gave him and all the other
children, the certificate. I assured them
all that they are a part of God's family.
You should have seen the smiles on his face
and the faces of the other children. The
mother told me that made a big difference.
A few years later, when he was almost twelve
years old, he got baptized.
WHEN MAKING AN APPEAL
These steps grew out of my concern when
parents and other spiritual leaders say "No,
you cannot get baptized, you are too young"
to a little child who responds to an appeal
for baptism. I find that so insulting
and a strongly negative approach. The
approach I am suggesting will hopefully put
an end to that statement or similar
statements used by parents or spiritual
to say if your child, who is not old enough
to get baptized, says "I want to get
baptized?" or "Can I get baptized too," or
responds to a public appeal for baptism?
Remember, never say "No," or "No, you cannot
is a suggestion what to say. The
parent or spiritual leader can say:
"I am so happy you have decided to
accept Jesus as your Friend and
Savior. You are now a part of
God's family. Because of your
decision, the pastor will give you a
Certificate and Accepting Jesus, and
you will start preparing for baptism
and a later date."
It is my opinion that when making public
appeals for baptism we must always consider
who is in the audience. If children
are in the audience and they are under the
age of ten, I suggest that the appeal be
clear to all. There should be at least
two types of appeals: One is for those
little children (under age 8 to 10) who are
too young to get baptized but want to accept
Jesus. The other is for those who are
During an evangelistic series, there can be
a special time or night during the series
that will be specifically for young children
to accept Jesus. Then, have a another
special service when they will officially
receive their Certificate of Accepting
BIBLE CLASS FOR CHILDREN
After giving the certificate, the next step
is to place the child in a Bible class
designed for children to prepare for
baptism. Therefore the child can
positively be told that he or she will be a
part of that class where they will be taught
about principles of Christian living and
spirituality. This can be done with
any age, even from 3 or 4 years old.
It is important to be open and honest with
the child. The preparation might take
a few years to lead to the appropriate age
for baptism. This is being done in the
context that the child has already accepted
Jesus in his or her life and is a part of
the family of God.
STEPS TO BAPTISM
For the child who is growing up in a
Christian home, there are three steps toward
The day of infant dedication.
This is usually done between a few weeks
old to up to five or six years.
This as important for the parents as it
is for the child. It should be a
genuine step towards Christ-like
modeling and loving.
The days of accepting Jesus.
This is done between ages three to age
nine. This is recognized by giving
a Certificate of Accepting Jesus.
A parent or spiritual leader should
always encourage the child to love Jesus
and give his or her life to him at any
age. It is imperative that the
child knows that accepting Jesus in
fully acknowledged. This sets the
stage for the next steps. After
the child is given a Certificate of
Accepting Jesus the child is placed in a
age-appropriate Bible Class where a
trained instructor will lead the child
to the next step. Up to age five
or six, the Bible Class can simple be an
organized quarterly or bi-annually
spiritual fun-time with the children
where instructions for fun activities,
videos, are utilized.
The day of baptism. This is done
between ages ten and anytime throughout
life. Ideally the baptism will be done
between ages ten and twelve years old.
Parents are not to force or coerce their
teens to get baptized.
that these steps are mostly relevant for
persons growing up in a Christian home. A
person can be fully saved and baptized
anytime throughout his or her life and still
be eternally saved. However,
note carefully, that proper introduction of
the child to Jesus from birth is important
in making the decision by the child more
natural and longer lasting. It is also
important to understand that children can
get turned off (especially as they get
older) to the church or spirituality, if
their parents are hash, rigid, hypocritical,
and lack a demonstration of compassion