Q: I want my best friend, who is agnostic, to be our baby’s sponsor, but my wife disagrees. Does a sponsor really have to believe in God or is this just an honorary gig?

A: Most churches don’t grill parents on these decisions. While some parents look for a Lutheran mentor as a godparent, others view the role as an honorary salute to an important person in their family’s life.

No matter the reason for the pick, sponsors join parents at the font in response to God’s connection with the baby. They agree to back up the parent(s) in their promises to teach, shape and nurture the child’s growing faith.

If your friend can’t authentically make this commitment, he shouldn’t do it. Instead, include him in a different yet meaningful role in the service, such as presenting a gift to the baby as a reminder of the day.

Diana Dworin

A member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas, Dworin is also author of The Lutheran's new family faith page: Pass the faith. A former parenting magazine editor, she blogs about the quirky journey of her Lutheran family: Dan, 39; Janine, 11; Ben, 8 and Jillian, 5 at www.thelutheran.org/blog/parenting.

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