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?