Book Review: Taking The Plunge

Matt Norman —  April 9, 2012

I just finished reading Taking the Plunge by Chris Gabbard.  This book is designed to help kids understand salvation and baptism. This is what I thought:

The good:

  • Design:  I love the art work. The style is very kid friendly and attractive.
  • Information: The information if accurate and complete. Most of what I cover when I counsel a kid about salvation and baptism is in this book.
  • Age Appropriate: The examples used in this book are great for elementary aged kids.
  • BARF. This is the acronym that the author uses to describe salvation. I had never heard this one before, but I can see this one being popular with kids.
    • B: Believe in Jesus
    • A: Accept Jesus
    • R: Repent of your sins
    • F: Follow Jesus

The bad:

  • I really have nothing negative to say about this book.
  • Some people might have issue with the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart”. There is a lot of talk about this being confusing to younger children who are very concrete in their thinking. Well, I grew up in the church and, at that time, this was the popular phrase. This did not stop me from trusting Christ when I was 9 years old and it had no negative impact on my life as a Christian since. I agree that there may be better ways to say this, but this is not a deal breaker. I will still use this book.

Over all I think this is a great resource for helping kids to understand salvation and baptism. With younger kids, kindergarten through 2nd grade, it will probably require an adult working with them to really get the value out of this book. Older kids, 3rd-5th grade, could work through the book themselves. However, even with the older kids I think it would be best to have someone available to answer any questions that might come up.

I see our church using this book in a couple of ways.

  1.  Baptism Class: This would be a class led by me or one of our leaders. We would take the kids through some of the concepts in the book giving them time to do some of the activities. This also gives us the chance to answer questions in real time. In fact I can see this becoming a pre-requisite to baptism in our children’s ministry.
  2. Equipping Parents: I REALLY like this book as a tool for equipping parents. If a child in our ministry has parents that are Christians, then I see them working through this book with their child before they are baptized. I think this book could be a great tool for equipping parents to talk about salvation with their kids.

If you are looking for a book to help with teaching kids about salvation and baptism, or if you are looking for a tool to equip parents to talk with their kids about this stuff, then do yourself a favor and order a copy of this book. Check them out at

They also have a book for after a child had been baptized and a pre-baptism book for youth.  Stay tuned for reviews on these two books.


Matt Norman

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Matt is married to his high school sweetheart Kim and together they have two wonderful kids. Matt is a part time children’s pastor at The Rock of Winter Haven, in the appropriately named town of Winter Haven, Florida. In his spare time Matt is an avid automotive enthusiast and a self confessed computer nerd and tech junkie.

3 responses to Book Review: Taking The Plunge

  1. Thanks Matt. I’m going to have to check this book out. Have you seen the video for the song “Throw Up?” It might go well with the B.A.R.F. acronym.

    Here’s a link:

    • I love this song. I had not heard it before, but I love it. I think the kids would love it. I would have to use it judiciously as the kids would probably go wild after that song, but would be great for occasional use.

  2. This is awesome info!!! Thank you. I am planning & working through this now.