“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.”

This quote by Professor of Computing Science Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut (alternately also attributed to Baseball Great Yogi Berra) elegantly sums up the clash between the way things ought to be and the way things really end up being.

And there may be nothing more frustrating than to have someone insist that you do things one way — a way that in theory sounds good — when you know that in practice that particular way will never work.

In an earlier article I mentioned how important I thought it was to allow plenty of time for preparing young children for their baptism. I believe that at least three or four separate class sessions should be used to adequately teach children about the significance of their baptism.

And my baptism preparation booklet for children, Joey’s Baptism, was written to be used during four separate class sessions.

However, I’m also a realist. And I understand that the reality of your situation may not give you the opportunity to follow my suggested approach.

To make Joey’s Baptism as useful as possible for as many situations as possible, I’ve come up with a list of modifications to reduce the amount of time needed to go through the booklet. These changes allow your child’s baptism preparation to be done in only one or two class sessions.

I’ve made these changes in such a way that the most essential elements of baptism preparation are still present in the lessons.

The changes are as follows:

Changes to Chapter 1

  1. Delete the Family Activity (p. 1).
  2. Keep only the first four paragraphs of the Story (pp. 1 – 2).
  3. Delete Question 1 (p. 3).
  4. Delete both versions of Activity 1 (pp. 4 – 5).

Changes to Chapter 2

  1. Delete the Family Activity (p. 6).
  2. Replace the first paragraph of the Story (p. 6) with the following: “A couple hours later Joey sat on the couch in his grandpa’s living room.”
  3. Delete the last 2 paragraphs of the Story (p. 8).
  4. Use all Questions (p. 9).
  5. Use both versions of Activity 2 (pp. 10 – 11).

Changes to Chapter 3
Delete everything in this chapter.


Changes to Chapter 4
Use everything in this chapter.


Changes to Chapter 5
Use everything in this chapter.

These changes are fairly easy to make, and they still leave a fun and engaging baptism preparation presentation.

So if your situation only allows you to give a short preparation for baptism, don’t sweat it. Just do your best, within the limits you face, to create a meaningful and rich experience for children preparing for baptism. Then trust God to use you effectively to create a good work in those children.

Coming Up: In our next mini newsletter article we will cover
Safety First! Baptizing Children with Special Needs.

© Copyright 2006-2008 Robert Favero and his licensors.
All Rights Reserved.

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