What is Baby Dedication in Churches?A well-planned and well-executed Baby Dedication service is the perfect event to celebrate families and new children joining their families. It’s a special time to honor God because of His blessing as well as encourage, equip, and partner with parents for the challenging responsibility of parenting a child’s heart. This infant or toddler phase of parenting is unique in the parenting journey. Equally so, a well-planned and thoughtfully orchestrated Baby Dedication service is a very special and important time, for parents, their children, and the church. It’s a time where parents present themselves, their parenting, and their child to the Lord. Family and/or friends, as well as others from the church, surround them, and together they commit to raising their child under God’s guidance and love.
Baby Dedication in the BibleAlthough this isn’t a required spiritual practice, we do see where children were dedicated to the Lord in the Bible. In 1 Samuel 1:27-28, we see how Hannah took her son Samuel to the temple to dedicate him to the Lord. As well in Luke 2:21-38, we see Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple to e dedicated. In a baby dedication service, families and the church will have the opportunity to dedicate several things to the Lord:
- Dedication of the child to God. A prayer of dedication is that children will grow in the knowledge of God and his Son Jesus and that when the child is old enough, they will make a decision to follow Him. This isn’t the salvation of a child or a “necessary spiritual step,” but rather acknowledging that we want God to be in the life of this child.
- Dedication of the parents to God. God has entrusted parents to spiritually train children. The church is there to help, but ultimately the responsibility is on the parents. So we pray to dedicate Mom and Dad’s efforts to create a safe and healthy environment where a child can learn about God and grow in a relationship with Him. So, in a dedication celebration ceremony, Mom and Dad commit to doing everything within their ability to point their children to God and help them follow Him.
- Dedication of friends and family to God. Children are rarely influenced by their parents alone. Family and family friends have a significant influence. It is the responsibility of family and friends to hold parents accountable and encourage parents in both their marriage relationship and efforts to spiritually train their children.
The Baby Dedication ProcessYoung families are busy, likely tired and a little sleep-deprived. A Baby Dedication process should be simple while allowing you time to encourage families and highlight the ways that your church hopes to partner with them on an ongoing basis. It’s important to find a rhythm for your Baby Dedication services each year to accommodate most people’s schedules. A Saturday morning ceremony works well for most young parents juggling napping schedules. Sunday early evening is another option that may work for your families. Either way, by hosting your ceremony outside of a regularly scheduled Sunday service, you will be able to take more time with each family, even providing time for a ministry leader or pastor to gather with each family and their friends as a part of the ceremony to connect with and pray with the family about the new child. Before participating in a Baby Dedication Ceremony, parents typically have lots of questions. They are also leaning in with the church and family ministry in a new way now with a new addition to their family. This is a wonderful time to capitalize on this momentum and incorporate a “Baby Dedication Preparation Class or Orientation.” To make sure every parent wishing to participate in the ceremony has an opportunity to attend a prep class, consider offering several different classes leading up to the ceremony. Encourage parents to invite family, friends, and anyone who will be an influence in their or their child’s life! Now use this time to encourage parents as the primary spiritual influence in their child’s life. Remind them of the many ways the church aspires to partner with them, highlighting your baby or preschool ministry. Answer some of your known frequently asked questions about the ceremony, with time left over to ask some you may not have thought of.
What is Baby Dedication? – F.A.Q.How is Baby Dedication different from baptism? Most churches believe that baptism is a response to one’s decision to fully follow Christ. Parent-Child Dedication is an opportunity for parents to dedicate themselves, their parenting efforts, and their child to God so that when a child is old enough to understand, they too will choose to follow Christ and then be baptized. Read more about baby dedication vs baptism here. Can a child be too old to be dedicated? Churches must decide this, but many would say – No! Technically a baby dedication ceremony is an opportunity for a public prayer of dedication for parents as well as the child. Usually, the child being dedicated though is not yet old enough to fully understand what it means to follow Christ. However, if your child is old enough to understand, this would be a great opportunity to talk about what it means to follow Christ and come alongside parents as they guide their child into making that decision for themselves. What is a Baby Dedication Orientation class like? Preparation for baby dedication is typically a very relaxed class. Be sure to sit parents together at tables where they can get to know other new parents, perhaps even grouping families with similarly aged children together. The class should be designed to allow engaging discussion. Take time to explain what parent dedication is and is not. You also have the opportunity to clearly explain what the Bible says about parenting and what spiritual responsibilities parents have. Most importantly share how your church desires to equip and encourage parents as they spiritually lead and train their children. Last, of all, you can cover all the details parents will need to know about the parent dedication ceremony. What is a Baby Dedication Service like? A Baby Dedication celebration should be a short and simple service with time for worship. Typically, a pastoral leader will speak for a few minutes about dedication, explaining to those in attendance what baby dedication is all about. The remainder of the service can be spent in devotion and prayer corporately or as parents and children, along with all their friends and family, circle together for a short time of prayer with a ministry leader or pastor. Perhaps parents can share a letter written during an earlier homework assignment that incorporates their hopes and dreams for their child as they imagine the end – their child as a parent of their own one day! To conclude the ceremony, a ministry leader or pastor can pray over the child, the parents, and the family and friends as it relates to this child been dedicated to the Lord.
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