Over the years, I’ve written a lot about child dedication. Click here to see pages and pages of Child Dedication thoughts and ideas. However, I thought I’d say something about the process and event since it’s been a few years since I’ve written about the event. We’ve only made some minor changes in the last few years, but I’m feeling the itch to re-invent and refresh a little. Hopefully I’ll process much of this here so the greater kidmin community can both help me and benefit from my process at the same time.

We held a child dedication just a week ago. This one was a fairly small event, but probably one of the more successful ones I’ve been a part of. I had the opportunity to lead the prayer time for three separate families and there were lots of tears at two of the three prayer gatherings. After the fact, I was joking with my student pastor about how you gauge success at a child dedication. We decided that if there are sniffles during the prayer, that’s 7 out of 10 starts. If there’s obvious crying around the circle, well – that’s 8 or 9 stars out of 10. All out wailing – you, my friend just hit 10 out of 10.

The sniffling and tears (and possible wailing) are not the result of spiritual or emotional manipulation or a well crafted prayer time that elicited an emotional response.  No, tears at a child dedication are usually the result of connecting all the dots. It’s the result of doing what I believe is the most important thing you can do at a child dedication, which is to make it personal.

Many years ago I moved away from the standard church child dedication because my wife and I desired something more personal for our first dedication. We wanted to be surrounded by family and friends who understood the difficult journey we had been on to have kids and celebrate with us. We wanted to have the time to laugh and cry at the same time as we thanked God for his goodness. The typical church child dedication doesn’t offer this kind of environment – but it should.

For the dedication I led a few weeks ago, I had some history with the families I celebrated with. The first family was a couple I married 5 years ago. A few years later, they attended a Financial Peace group we led and it was fun to get to know them as a young couple taking steps in their new journey together. Two years ago, I performed the marriage of the bride’s brother. I feel like I’m reconnecting to the immediate family of this couple on a somewhat regular basis now. My pairing with this couple for child dedication wasn’t random. I picked them and it was special. My hope is that in 5-8 years, we’ll sit down again as their child is preparing for baptism. Another couple I also married a few years ago. They literally just had their second child 10 days before the dedication. The mother had come from a very stressful family-life and their marriage together and having children was a very emotional journey. This dedication was summation of answered prayers. Lastly I had the opportunity to pray over a family who serves in our ministry. She and her husband have walked the challenging path of infertility and after years of hoping and dreaming, they were able to dedicate their adoptive daughter and in that moment, the world was perfect.

It’s not like that every every family who comes to dedication, but it is like that for a lot of them. It takes being intentional, creating a place to learn stories and helping to create moments when the dots get connected and families experience the wonder, excitement and even the weight of responsibility of that moment. This is when unforgettable moments are created that continue to serve as a guide for the future. This is why I love child dedication.