So, I’m at a new church and I’m leading a child dedication in just a few weeks. Doing things for the first time at a new place always inspires me to rethink what I’ve been doing. I spent nearly a dozen hours revamping the material I teach in the prep for child dedication class, which was a long time coming. However, I’m rethinking what we give to parents who dedicate their children and I thought I’d ask what others are giving away?
When I first came to Gateway (8 years ago), they were giving away a child’s gift Bible with their name/date written on the inside. Over the years, we’ve given away a lot of different things. I’ll list the resources below with reasons why I liked or disliked the items.
Child’s Gift Bible – It’s sweet. It looks sweet and it’s personalized with their name and dedication date in it. I don’t like it because it will be nearly a decade before they can read/understand it and by that time, they’re unlikely to want to read a precious looking child’s gift bible. This gift feels more like a symbolic gift rather than something really useful.
Jesus Story Book Bible – I LOVE this Bible. I know a lot of churches actually give out this Bible as a dedication gift. I’ve always held back on giving out this Bible, again because it’s still too advanced for the typical child being dedicated. Although the Bible will still be used in a few years, I hate giving a gift that won’t be useful for several years.
Legacy Marbles – I actually love this as a gift. The only problem is that marbles aren’t cheap. You can actually get the very best price for the Orange store (they’re smaller marbles), but you’re still going to pay more than $20 for the bag. Typically, that’s more than I have budgeted for dedication gifts. What’s great about Legacy Marbles is that you can utilized a jar in both the dedication class and actual dedication to make a memorable point. The other downside, not everyone want’s a bag of marbles.
Revolutionary Parenting – It’s one of my favorite books on parenting. George Barna’s research on how kids walk away from faith after high school is critical to share when talking to parents. This book is a very specific response to this problem. Giving this book to parents feels like I’m giving parents a powerful resource to help them win. The downside is that the book isn’t quite the right fit for new believers. Barna writes about passing a Biblical World View to your children and depending on your church, many of your parents might not fit this world view yet, which could be frustrating.
Parenting Beyond Your Capacity – By far my favorite parenting book. I’ve given away hundreds of these books over the past 5+ years. I feel that it’s a great approach to parenting in a way that fits with both seasoned Christians and those who are new to faith. My current Child Dedication class follows the outline of this book, so it makes a great companion to parents who have taken the class. The downside is what comes with all books. How many parents are actually going to read it?
Sticky Faith – Another really great parenting book that addresses the challenges of kids walking away from their faith. I don’t always recommend this book first, but it’s in my top 2-3. I usually give this book away who is dedicating another child and has already gotten one of my other resources.
So, what do you give away? The challenge is determining the audience. Are we giving a gift to the parent or to the child. Secondly, what is the best gift we can give that will make a difference – both now and in the years to come. Most people don’t love to read, so is giving them a book the best gift?
I’d appreciate your thoughts. What do you give away and why? Better yet, what can we give parents that would make a bigger impact?
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Not sure if we have settled here for long or not, but we have moved to giving out a picture card file box and in the box, we have a journal for parents to write about their child’s journey in life and to be shared with them one day when they are older.
We also take pictures before the service they are dedicating their child (we don’t use the word baby, we use child due to diverse backgrounds of people who want to dedicate their children and when the parents may have accepted Jesus) and we share the link with them from our dropbox account for that folder and during service we print 1 picture for them to add into their box that they pick up at the welcome center after service. Of course, we have their certificate in the box as well.
That’s cool. I like the box idea. Would love to see the journal you put together.
Would love to see pics of the picture box and journal cards. Becky@templetoday.com
We are blessed to have you at Mission, Kenny!
When we dedicated our children, we were encouraged to choose a “life verse” for them. Something we hope for them and pray over their lives. This may not be practical for parents who are not familiar with Scripture, but a print/framed copy of the chosen verse along with a photo of the dedication would be nice. It also serves as a memory verse for the child as they get older.
Thanks for the welcome!
I really like the “life verse.” You know, I’ve heard of some churches that will actually give families at the dedication class a handout with dozens of potential “life verses.” Sure, some parents will seek out the perfect verse on their own… others might need a little help. I think this is a really great idea… a gift of sorts that can hang on the wall for years to come and inspired long after a dedication event!
We do the JSB because I have found it is just as helpful if not more helpful for parents. Seeing Jesus as a Rescuer seeing Jesus on every page of the Bible is something that will immeasurably help every child and parent alike. Love you ideas and thoughts behind each gift though. Very helpful.
We give My First Hands On Bible (my favorite as a step younger from the JSB), a framed print of Deut. 6, and I follow up a few months later with a small framed copy of their “life verse”. It gives us an opportunity to check back in and do some refocusing if those sleepless nights have taken their toll! I would love to do the marbles but can’t fit it into the budget, either.
Child Dedications are a great time you’ll get to introduce your child to the community, and we’ll pray with and for your family and commit to supporting you as you embark on the awesome journey that is parenthood.