Choosing a child's godparents is difficult, picking adults who you invite into your life, for a relationship with a child for the next 20+ years is a big step. You don't yet know the child's character, or what their interests will be, however there are lots of positive reasons for choosing godparents so we suggest a few ways of thinking about it.
Godparents and baptisms - a confusing other world for most people, whether church members or not. Below we tackle some of your questions and offer answers which may have either a religious (Christian) perspective, or a secular perspective, or both depending on the question.
Your extended family might be very close to you, and choosing members of the family as godparents helps to cement that relationship, it is quite normal to choose aunts or uncles to also be godparents. However, those family members will already have a relationship with the child in their family role, so it might not be necessary to go beyond that family relationship.Friends
Friends offer a great opportunity to expand the network of people who play a role in the child's life, inviting them to become a godparent can cement a friendship and establish them as one of the family. However, be aware that it can also be divisive in some friendship circles, so caution may be required! Also think through the long-term nature of what you are asking, while family is always family, even if you fall-out, friends can come and go, but being a godparent is a long-term relationship.
This should be simple - a godparent is called to support their godchild in their faith, and in building a relationship with God - that is the primary purpose. Choosing a godparent who has a strong personal faith, and who will pray for the child (and its family), and encourage them to go to Church / read the bible / etc. is an important consideration. In some Churches there is a requirement for godparents to be baptised, or an active member of that Church.Not
Perhaps not so simple! Yes, the Christian support is the primary original aim, but today things are never so straight-forward. A godparent also has an important role as a 'significant adult' in the child's life and this can mean many things instead of or in addition to the Christian elements. For some parents and godparents the faith side is less important than making sure that the godparent's character and lifestyle, commitment and enthusiasm all fit in with the parents' approach. Some Churches will insist that godparents are baptised or members of the Church - but there may also be the opportunity to have Christian Witnesses (RC Church) or non-baptised godparents in some circumstances.
Choosing a single person as godparent can be advantageous in that they could have more time to devote to their godchild, for some their godchild will be their opportunity to spend time with the younger generation - or even to provide opportunities for them. However, a single person may be more likely to move, or change priorities in life, so it is perhaps more difficult to predict the future relationship with their godchild.Couples
For many parents, a godparent will be one of their child's role models, so choosing a couple (either both as godparents, or one of the couple), allows the parents to understand the nature of that relationship and pick couples that suit the role models they would like - either picking a variety for diversity, or choosing to reinforce the pattern they wish to develop in their own family. Couples often come with, or have families and that can help build relationships over time, however it can also mean less time available for the godchild - the godparents' own family coming first.
It is much easier to build a relationship when you live near-by, a distant relationship requires a lot more work, and is likely to suffer. Being local does allow the godparent to easily attend school plays, or cheer the child on from the side of the playing field.Distant
Godparents are likely to move at some point, so it is more important to choose someone willing to put in the effort, than just choosing on geography. And you might have one eye on what the godparent can offer the child - so that friend of yours living in Australia / next to an African safari park, might prove valuable during the child's gap-year. In the intervening years, regular writing / emails / skype calls, or just keeping in touch on social media can all help.