On Saturday we had a Child Dedication at Gateway. It was awesome. We dedicated over 30 young children to God and it was unique and special for all of our families involved. Every time I host a Dedication service, I learn something new. Here’s what I learned this time.
Try not to butcher some one’s name.
I have four kids where I wasn’t sure how to pronounce their name. I had my Early Childhood coordinator ask the parents when they signed in, which meant I got the pronunciation just a few minutes before I went on stage. Not enough time for me to remember. Two of the four names I massacred.
So, in the midst of my pain I realize that I need to be proactive in making sure I pronounce the names right. More than likely, their names are going to be mispronounced their entire lives, why not try to get it right here. So, I figured there are two ways to go about fixing this
- I always do electronic registration using Fellowship One for these dedications. Next time I can create a field under their “full name” asking them to phonetically spell out their name so that it is properly pronounced. I remember at college graduation I had to phonetically write out my name on an index card before handing it to the announcer before my name was called out to receive my diploma. It seems kinda mechanical, but efficient.
- One of the prayer leaders can call the family before the event and get the proper pronunciation before the event. That way it’s done in a more personal way.
I think it’s really important to pronounce the name correctly. I think my first way is really efficient, but not very personal. The second way is personal, but not necessarily efficient (if someone forgets to call, then you’re stuck in the position of not knowing how to pronounce their name.
What do you think? Any other ideas?
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Be more familiar with the children and their families before the service. I’m not familiar with how your church does child dedication services, so I’m not sure how to make suggestions to fit your need on calling names.
Here is one suggestion, though. Shouldn’t you (or your leaders) have built a relationship with each family involved before the service? That way you would know the name pronunciation because you would have been visiting/talking/spending time with them during the relationship-building time.
I recently had the same problem with a family name in our last parent commissioning service. I love your two suggestions and will keep those in mind for our next service. For me it was predominately unfamiliarity with the family name. The lesson I learned was to let my early childhood director who is much more familiar with the family names be the one to handle that part of the service.
Thanks for the post