So, we’ve been doing child dedication the same way for the past 6 years and I’m feeling like it’s ready for a change. Trust me, I’m not thinking about changing it because I’m bored. It’s been working well, but I’ve seen a need for something else. I’d love your thoughts on the topic and to know if anyone else has considered this kind of change.

Here’s the situation. Child Dedication is primarily designed for kids three years old and younger. This is an age where parents are a little more likely to attend the required Preparation for Child Dedication Class (boring name, I know). In this class, we cast vision for parenting in a pretty profound way. We connect the dots for parents and show them resources they can use as they parents and explain how we want to partner with them along the way. It’s a great class, but there is a problem. The Prep for Child Dedication class is a class I’d love for parents of elementary aged kids to attend. It’s a class I’d love for parents of high school kids to attend. Honestly, parents with kids at every phase need a vision for what they can do and how our church wants to partner with them. However, 90% of these parents would never come to a Prep for Child Dedication class because the event isn’t designed for their kids.

So, here’s what we’re thinking:

  • We’re going to scrap the “Prep for Child Dedication Class.” What we might do is create a 10-20 minute recording specific to what a parent might want to do to prepare for the Child Dedication event.
  • We offer a baptism class on the 1st Sunday of the month. For the past 3 years, there have only been 2-3 Sundays where someone didn’t show up. It makes it easy to promote and is highly available for families. We’re thinking of offering a “Parenting Class” on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Of the thousands of parents who attend Gateway, they can attend this class to catch a vision for their role in their kid’s spiritual development and learn about resources to help them along the way. There is an endless supply of new families coming to our church and a parenting class would be a great next step for them.
  • The Phase resources recently developed by Orange will provide great content for this class. We’ll be able to cover parenting in a general enough way that every parent will feel inspired and equipped, but provide phase specific resources to give every parent next steps.
  • The Parenting Class is the perfect platform to point parents to what is next. New parents will can be directed to child dedication. They won’t need to attend another class, but they can watch/listen to the content pertaining to dedication and register for the event. Parents of elementary aged kids can learn about our baptism class and know that our baptism class is a great resource to help kids take steps in their faith. Parents will learn about the Parent Cue app and our curriculum resources so they can synchronize with our content. They’ll also learn about our commitment to leading small and how they can interact with their child’s small group leader to make the biggest impact.

Honestly, I’m kind of excited about this idea. It’s still just in development, but I have a good feeling about it. Every year, we dedicate 35-50 kids, but I have a feeling that a monthly parenting class will generate even more dedications while providing incredible resources to hundreds of parents.

Has anyone else experimented with a regularly recurring parenting class? I’d love your thoughts.