How To Be A Good Godparent: Nailing Your Godparent Responsibilities

Being asked to be a godparent is such an honour! We immediately want to be the best godmother or godfather we can be. Then the baptism day comes and we eagerly agree to help raise the child in faith, but once the day is over it is honestly so easy to forget the responsibilities we took on when we agreed to be a godparent to this special child. I know – I’ve been there.

To be a good godparent we need to do what we said we would do at our godchild’s baptism. The role of a godparent is to help our godchild to know and trust in God. Godparents can help with this in a few ways: through prayer, reminding them of their baptism, and by being a good role model.

The tricky part, I think, is remembering to actually do these things. Most of them aren’t difficult things to do, but actually getting around to doing them is where many of us get stuck, me included.

Let’s look at what each of the godparent responsibilities actually mean and how we can do these things, including ways to help us remember to actually do them.

 1.   Pray: Talk to God

Prayer is pretty high on the list of things a godparent can do for their godchild, and even though it is one of the easiest to do (you can do it anywhere and anytime), it also seems one of the hardest to do.

I think it’s hard for a few reasons –

  1. What do we pray for? When I remember to pray for my godchildren I’m often stuck wondering what to actually pray for them. It’s easier to pray for myself – I know what problems I have, but I don’t always know what’s going on in my godchild’s life.
  2. We often can’t see any results from our prayers, so it kinda seems like wasted time. 

But if there is one way we can have the most impact in our godchild’s life it has to be through prayer.

No one can change hearts but God.

No one can open and close doors like God can.

No one can change circumstances like God can.

God is the most powerful force there is and you have a direct line to him. Amazing!

If you can’t think of what to pray for your godchild, just thank God for your godchild and ask God to open you godchild’s heart to Him.

Tips on Remembering to Pray

Remembering to pray is a big stumbling block for many of us. The easiest way to get past this is to set a time each day to pray. This might be first thing in the morning or when driving to work and then remembering to include your godchild in your prayer time.

Another idea is to pick a specific task in your daily routine to specifically pray for your godchild (like when you brush your teeth or brush your hair). Or it could be something in your weekly rountine (like driving to the grocery shop for your weekly shop).

Another great idea is to stick a photo of your godchild somewhere you will see once a day (maybe inside your wardrobe). When you see them it will help you to remember to pray for them. If you find it hard thinking of what to pray for them then maybe stick up a piece of paper next to their photo with a short prayer on it.

Now, I don’t have photos of my godchildren handy so I have just written out the names of my godchildren and sponsor kids on a piece of paper and written the prayer above also. I’ve put it in my jewellery drawer to remind me to pray for them. I think a photo is a better idea, but I didn’t have photos of all of them on hand. I’m going to see if I can find a photo of all of them.

2.   Reminding your Godchild of their Baptism

If you were baptised as a baby like I was then you won’t remember it! But if you are the godparent or parent you will definitely remember your godchild’s/child’s baptism.

I honestly didn’t think much about my baptism when I was younger. My baptism date would often go by without my even knowing. This is very common.

However, I can’t imagine a child’s birthday going by without a fuss being made about it. My children eagerly await their birthday. They don’t remember the day they were born, but ever since they turned one we, as parents, made a big deal out of it. We made it a special day by giving them gifts and celebrating with cake, and we have done the same every year since, like most families do. Children know their birth was a special day and they feel special and loved when we celebrate this day with them.

As godparents I think it is such a great opportunity for us to made a big deal out of our godchild’s baptism birthdays. This helps them to know that it was a special day. To be honest I’ve only recently started doing this with my own godchildren. I used to only remember their actual birthday with a card and gift, but recently my thinking has changed and I think it is super important for godparents to make their godchild’s baptism birthday a special day.

What’s the Best Way to Remind your Godchild of their Baptism?

A good way to answer this question is – what do we do to make a child’s birthday special?

We give a gift!!

Kids love receiving gifts!

I know I used to love getting gifts as a kid and my kids definitely love getting presents!

Part of the specialness of receiving a gift is:

  1. that the person remembered you and made an effort.
  2. the joy and suspense of opening the wrapping paper.
  3. the actual gift itself – something you can use and enjoy.

There are so many fantastic christian resources these days that really appeal to kids. And the best part is that you can choose a gift that conveys a spiritual truth in a way that kids can easily understand. And honestly I’ve learnt many things from books and dvd’s aimed at kids because things are explained in such an easy to understand way. The authors and creators have really done a lot of the hard work for us!

My kids have received lots of christian books & dvds from grandparents, godparents and ourselves as parents. I’ve taken note of things that the kids love and really connect with and made a list of them over at the Recommended Gifts and Resources page. Check it out – I’ve split it by gender and age group to help you find something that will connect most with your godchild. 

It isn’t absolutely necessary to give a gift though. But it is really special for your godchild to be remembered on their baptism birthday. If you’d prefer not to give a gift then maybe send a video message to your godchild’s parent for your godchild to watch, or a message straight to them when they are older. These are quick and easy things for any godparent to do.

The tricky part now is remembering their baptism birthday!

Tips on Remembering your Godchild’s Baptism Birthday

So I have all my godchild’s baptism birthdays and actual birthdays written on our family calendar at the moment and this is how I’m remembering.

Another way is a birthday reminder app/service.

I like to buy gifts for my godchildren when there is an online sale at a christian bookshop. I stock up for the year and then I have it on hand when their baptism birthday comes around – no more scrambling to quickly get something together. I don’t normally give a card as they’re aren’t any baptism birthday cards around that I’ve seen. I normally fold a small piece of wrapping paper into a card to write on. But there are lots of really cute generic blank cards that you could use to write a quick message. That would probably be a better idea.

3.   Good Role Model

Kids notice actions more than words. I think we all notice actions more than words. Words are important and powerful, but they need to be followed up by actions.

God didn’t just tell us he loved us. He showed us how much he loved us. He demonstrated his love by sending his son into the world for us. He loved us so much that his own son died for us. So that we don’t have to be apart from God when we die. His love for us makes my heart swell.

These powerful actions of God pull us close to him. They show us just how much he loves us.

Actions matter.

Our actions matter to our godchildren, and everyone around us.

What Actions Should We Have?

To work out what actions we should have the best place to look is in the bible.

There are 2 main commands given by Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40) that pretty much cover all the other commands:

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ 
  2. Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself.’ 

All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”

1. How do we Love God?

Spend time alone with him. Just you and him. Talk to him. Be honest and open. It may seem wierd at first, but he really wants to hear from you.

Look for ways that he might respond. You almost definitely won’t hear an audible voice (I never have), but you might feel a tugging at your heart, a quiet voice within. It may be something that happens later in the day, something that someone says. Maybe in a dream. Look for his response to you. Ask him to help you see his response.

Another great way to hear from him is to read your bible. I love The Message bible for it’s clarity and everyday language. You can buy a physical bible or download a bible app and listen to the bible being read to you. I use the YouVersion Bible App when I’m out walking and love it.

Thank him. This is something I used to struggle with. Look for all the good things in your life – they came from God. Thank him for them. Put on a good worship song. I love listening to for KING & COUNTRY and other contemporary christian artists. When I thank God it helps all my problems seem smaller and I remember how powerful he is. This helps me to trust him more.

Obey him. Jesus said “I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father.” (John 14:31). He said this shortly before he was arrested and sentenced to death. How hard it must have been to be that obedient! But he did it so we would know that he loved God, his Father.

I used to worry that God would ask me to do something that I didn’t want to do. This kept me at a distance from him. However, since I’ve gotten close to him again I’ve found that he’s given me a desire to the things that he’s calling me to do. Some things are harder to do – like forgiving people and I’m working on them, but overall it’s not been at all like what I had worried he would ask me to do.

2. How do we Love Others?

Jesus said to his disciples:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

God wants us to love others like he loves us, unconditionally and totally. This is really difficult for us. Some people are harder to love than others, especially if they’re hurt us. But we must try. A good thing to remember is that everyone has burdens that we know nothing about. We can ask God for his perspective.

Being kind and giving generously to those in need are some really fantastic ways to love others. Jesus highlights the importance of giving to those in need many, many times.

Our godchildren are probably easier to love than most people. Children in general are easier to love. They live honestly and openly.

If you live close to your godchild simply spending time with them and listening to them shows that you care about them and they are important to you.

Spending time together builds trust and friendship.

If your godchild trusts you they will also take notice of what you do and how you act. Children learn by copying what they see. This is such a huge way that you can positively impact your godchild’s life and show them (as best as you can) to live the way Jesus lived and show his love through you.

But always remember to just be yourself. Don’t pretend to be perfect or have everything worked out. Kids need to know that adults make mistakes too sometimes.

Tips on Remembering to Love God and Others

My top tip for remembering to love God is to set a time and place to be with him every day.

I was finding that my time with God was getting pushed to the side often. So a few weeks ago I made a commitment to go for an early morning walk where it’s just him and me. I can soak up his sunrise and enjoy everything he’s made. I like to listen to psalms through my phone and also contemporary christian music. So far it’s working really well.

Remembering to love others is a day by day thing. Spending times with God every day will fill your love tank to enable you to love others well.  

In Summary

To be a good godparent we need to follow through on what we said at our godchild’s baptism. We can do this by:

  • Talking to God about our godchildren
  • Reminding our godchild of their baptism
  • Being a good role model by loving God and loving others

Remember that the main responsibility of raising the child in faith rests on the child’s parents. Our role as godparent is to help with this.