With the upcoming child dedication, January 17th, it is important that we take a moment to discuss its meaning and purpose.
We believe God’s Word is true when it says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3 NASB) and as gifts parents are stewards of them. Therefore, Child Dedication provides us with the opportunity to publicly commit to one another before God bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).This dedication is in no way salvific, rather it provides a way for the church to commit to one another, the members to the parents and the parents to the members.
We believe that parents are God’s first and primary tool for discipleship. Deuteronomy 6 declares,
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV)
The child dedication provides the parents an opportunity to publicly acknowledge that responsibility and commit to lead and nurture their child(ren), in cooperation with the church and the Holy Spirit, toward a knowledge of and affection for Christ. This means the parents will seek to regularly encourage spiritual growth through gospel discipline, family devotions, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines. However, the commitment is not only for the parents, it is also for the church.
We believe the church, consisting of its members, should take the training of children as a great blessing and serious responsibility. Jesus declares,
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:5-6 ESV)
In a child dedications the church will be asked to commit to the parents to encourage, equip, and assist parents in raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This does not mean we intend to take the place of a parent but desire to first come alongside parents in this great blessing. Secondly, to fill in where there is no parent to spiritually lead their children.
We pray that as we partake in this child dedication you will take this commitments to heart.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I need to be a member to dedicate my children?
Considering it is a commitment of the parents to the members and the members to the parents, it is important for the family to first covenant with the church in membership before participating in this dedication. We have the following reasons:
- Membership Means Accountability: We cannot hold you accountable and you cannot hold us accountable if we have not first covenanted together in membership.
- Membership Means Likeminded: If we are to commit to partner with you in raising your children in the Word of God but we do not fundamentally agree what the Word of God is or says, we will fail.
What can I expect during a child dedication ceremony?
During the service parents will be asked to express their agreement with the following covenant:
- Will you promise to God and this church community to live gospel-changed lives before your children?
- Will you promise to discipline them and show them grace?
- Will you instruct them by word and example in the truth of God’s Word and in the way of salvation through Jesus Christ?
- Will you promise to pray for them and teach them to pray?
- Will you promise to nurture them within the body of believers to the end that they become citizens in Christ’s kingdom?
The parents will respond: “We will with God’s help.”
This will be followed by the church expressing their agreement in the following covenant:
- Will you promise in the presence of God and one another to live gospel-changed lives before these children and to pray that they will in turn be changed by the gospel?
- Will you love and pray for these children—encouraging them and helping to nurture them in the faith?
- Will you assist these parents in fulfilling their biblical responsibilities, hold them accountable by confronting sin, pray for them, and spur them on toward love and good deeds?
The church will respond: With joy and thanksgiving, as Christ’s church, with God’s help, we promise to love, encourage, and support you as you follow Christ and parent your children.
Then we will bless the parents with a small gift and pray over these families.
At what age can my children take part in a child dedication?
While we do not have a set age requirement for child dedication, the typical age for a child to be dedicated is 3 years old and under, although many parents dedicate children older than that, often for the following reasons:
- The parent(s) are new believers in Christ and their children were not dedicated when they were infants.
- The parent(s) are having a younger child dedicated and want to have their older child dedicated at the same time.
Can a single parent take part in a child dedication?
Yes! Child dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit themselves to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. As a church, we are committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.