As kids are hearing the gospel and expressing their faith at camp and VBS this summer, are you thinking about their next steps? Salvation decisions are an important part of children’s ministry since we get to share the gospel with kids at a time when their little hearts are most open to receiving it, but if we don’t think intentionally about following up with a child after they’ve made a decision to give their life to Christ, we’re missing a big piece of our roles as disciple-makers.

One natural next step: baptism! Earlier this year, I learned about an incredible resource that Rivers Crossing Church in Ohio created to help kids and preteens explore baptism in fun and adventurous ways! A team at Rivers Crossing created 3 books that inspired special Adventure Kits:

  1. Maya and River’s Campout Adventure (a fiction book, like a modern-day parable)
  2. Baptism Adventure Parent Guide (this book is for parents to use with Maya and River’s Campout Adventure to help their child take steps forward in their faith including the ABC’s of salvation and baptism)
  3. Adventure Journal for Preteens (a journal that includes 3 short stories using the same characters from Maya and River’s Campout Adventure, related to the 3 Bible stories – the story of the lost coin, lost sheep, and lost son; it also includes journal questions, journal activities, and questions to ask a trusted adult)

All of the books can be purchased online through Amazon. You can also view the free digital books on the Rivers Crossing website here. (The biggest thing to note is for elementary kids (K-3rd grade), you need to purchase both the fiction book, Maya and River’s Campout Adventure, along with the Baptism Adventure Parent Guide. If you are purchasing for a preteen (4th-6th grade), you only need to order the Adventure Journal for Preteens.)

I talked with Andrea Goslee, the director of RC Kids, who shared with me about how they create kits for families that include these books as well as other fun resources to bring the adventure to life.

As I started revising our process for kids’ baptism, I worked with a few other staff members to come up with the unique idea of using a fiction story that kids would love with characters that are going to become “mascots” in our ministry. To help the parents, we created a guide so they can connect the book to questions about their child’s faith. Knowing this resource would reach a younger audience, I then went on to create a resource specifically to connect with preteens called the Adventure Journal for Preteens. There is a section for preteens to ask a trusted adult questions that relate to the stories in the journal so they aren’t only learning on their own. The Baptism Adventure Resources were definitely a team effort and took almost a year to create. Two additional staff members were writers on the project, and the illustrations for the fiction book were done by a high school student at our church! 

We initially created an event called “Adventure Night” which was a family night that included a large group worship time and activities throughout our church. Adventure Night was a blast! We (the RC Kids staff) recruited a group of mostly teens from our church to dress up and act out the book live on stage. We also created an Adventure Tour that mimicked some of the scenes from the book. Families found River the dog, ate smores, and even got sprayed by the skunk! Parents could pre-buy the kits that we designed and were able to pick them up that night. I loved seeing kids walking around with their Baptism Adventure Kits! The adventure kits were created based on age: 

  • Elementary Adventure Kit includes a Maya and River’s Campout Adventure book, Baptism Adventure Parent Guide, small stuffed River the Dog with a collar, and a River (the dog) sticker on the box with a hole for his head to peek out
  • Preteen Adventure Kit includes the Adventure Journal for Preteens book, a small stuffed River the Dog with a collar, and a River (the dog) sticker on the box with a hole for his head to peak out

Since the event, parents can purchase the physical kits in our merch store at Rivers Crossing Church, the individual books online through Amazon, or view the free digital books on our website.

Andrea shared with me how the kits were received by families too: After launching the resources at Adventure Night, 26 kids got baptized at their next baptism service. Andrea shared how as one dad was reading the book to his child, he realized that he needed to get baptized, too! Several kids have also been bringing their River the Dog stuffed animal to church or sleeping with River at bedtime, so kids have a constant reminder of the decision they’ve made and the faith they’re making their own. Andrea and her team are planning to use this to their advantage to create ideas in the future using River the Dog to teach kids additional concepts such as giving.

Andrea also talked about the heart behind using these resources in their overall discipleship strategy:

We want parents to be the ones who lead their kids to Christ and decide if their child is ready to get baptized. Using these resources is a first step to help them connect with their child and see which faith step to take next. As a children’s ministry, we recommend these resources to anyone who makes a decision to follow Jesus and/or signs up to get baptized. Outside of these physical resources, we also meet with kids and parents together the week before baptism to ask them some of the same questions in the book to ensure they understand what Jesus did for them and why they are getting baptized. These live meetings are a perfect time for kids and parents to ask questions about baptism and we also give them a tour of the baptism area so they are prepped for the upcoming baptism.

So if you want to equip parents with a unique way to talk to their kids about faith or the next steps to take, these Baptism Adventure Resources will help them do that! Check them out today, and find other baptism resources here

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