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(Posted October 3rd 2016 @ 3:25 PM by: Melody Reever)
My child wants to be baptized but is terrified. What can we do?
Can you figure out what the exact issue is? Is it due to social anxiety, fear of water, or all of the attention given to the person being baptized? Perhaps you could schedule a private baptism service when there are fewer people there. Be sure to videotape it so it can be shared with the entire church family!
If there is a balance issue and they are afraid of being laid backward into the water or have extreme vertigo when this happens? There is nothing in the Bible that specifies the exact position a person must be baptized in, only that it must be by immersion in the name of Jesus. Perhaps sitting down in the water and bending the head forward into the water or leaning forward is an easier way to do it. Even squatting down might be easier than being pushed backward.
Practice, practice, practice. For example, if the fear is getting his head under water or his face wet, practice that at home, building up the skill. Work on getting his face and head wet with a damp washcloth, one that is more wet, splashing water on the face and head, sticking parts of his head in the water, and then going under the water partially. Seek the help of a swim instructor for additional tips. Think outside of the box. Does plugging her nose and ears help? She might be the only person who ever got baptized with goggles and a swimming cap but her sins would be washed away just the same!
My dad is in a wheelchair and wants to be baptized. Our church uses a horse trough. Even if we could get him out of the wheelchair, he is too big to fit. What can we do?
The baptism doesn’t need to take place in a church baptismal tank. Often, places that do water therapy have swimming pools that are accessible to individuals with a physical disability, and they may be able to provide a lift chair to ease the person into the water. I have heard stories of people being baptized in hospitals or nursing homes in large bathtubs.
How can I tell when my adult brother with an intellectual disability is ready to be baptized? He has very limited verbal ability.
Similar to how we can tell when a child is ready to be baptized, does he seem to understand the concepts of doing right and wrong or sin? Does he pray or feel God’s presence? Has he repented? Does he understand what baptism means? As with children, some churches wait until people get the Holy Ghost before they are baptized. There is no doubt at that point whether or not they are “ready”!
My brother has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He doesn’t like being touched by people, not even family, and will never go up front to pray or be prayed for. He does say he wants the Holy Ghost. What should we do?
There are certain disabilities that cause people to have extreme social anxiety. We have heard many reports of people getting the Holy Ghost in their home. As a family, make sure there is an opportunity to worship God and pray in the privacy of your home. God’s presence is not limited to the four walls of the church. Often it is helpful in these cases to record or videotape the experience to share with your pastor and church family.