What is child dedication?
A child dedication is a short element of a Sunday morning worship service where a child (often a young infant) is dedicated to the Lord and prayed for by parents and the church. The dedication of a child to the Lord is an important statement by the parents and the church family. It says that this child belongs to God and that the parents are covenanting before God to raise their children to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise, during a child dedication service, the body of Christ promises to come alongside the child to help them believe and follow the Lord. Salvation, however, is only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The dedication is simply an act of faith on behalf of the parents and faith community. Thus, dedicating your child to God does not guarantee them a place in heaven.
If you are interested in having your child dedicated in a worship service, please contact Pastor Matt or an elder. You can also check out this Child Dedication message from 2012: Child Dedication Service.)
What does dedicating a child mean for the parents?
In dedicating their child to the Lord, parents are stating that they are willing to provide a spiritual nourishing environment in their home. Accomplishing this is a challenge that will take great spiritual exertion. Providing the home our children require will demand:
*participation of ourselves in the things of the Lord;
*preparation of ourselves to live godly lives
*planning how to educate our children regarding the things of the Lord.
That will not happen automatically. If we are not intentional as to how we will teach them, it may not happen.
Our guide is what Deuteronomy 6:4-7 tells us. It informs us that as we go about life, when we sit in our house or when we walk along a path or when we lie down to rest or when we rise up, we are to teach our children the truths of God. Proverbs 22:6 adds to our understanding by telling us (paraphrased),
It is the duty of the parents, through prayer and the moving of God’s Spirit, to create a taste or desire for the things of God in a child, in accordance to him, to his peculiarities, his interest, his individuality, his ability, and his age level. Then Lord willing, when the child becomes mature, he will not depart from his spiritual training.
As parents agree with and desire (with the Lord’s help) to commit to the above, we stand ready to affirm them in their desire by the public dedication of their child before our congregation. We also commit to providing Biblical instruction and loving care to nourish children in the ways of the Lord. We will pray that each child, at an early age, will come to personal faith in Jesus as Savior and commit to following Him throughout his or her life.
How is child dedication different from infant baptism?
Child dedication makes no claim of salvation for the child, nor does it symbolize entrance into the church body. Infant baptism was developed in early church history as a means to insure the salvation of infants before they could make a personal decision to trust Jesus Christ and become Christians. It was believed that if a child died, through baptism, he or she would be assured of a place in heaven. We believe, however, that Scripture suggests that if infants should die before they reach an age at which they can understand the Gospel, God’s grace receives such ones to His care. As in 2 Samuel 12:23, when King David, after his child dies said, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Scriptural examples regarding Parent/Child dedication.
The tradition of Parent/Child dedication has ancient origins in the Bible. The Israelites, on the 8th day of a child’s life, brought their children to the priest for a blessing. Hannah brought Samuel to Eli, the priest, to dedicate him to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:21-28). Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple for his dedication (Luke 2:21-40).