The word "dedication" means "to consecrate" or the act of setting apart people or things to serve God. In the Old Testament, we see how Hannah prayed for a child and promised God that the child, Samuel, would be given to the Lord all the days of his life (1 Samuel 1:11, 28). In the New Testament, we see how Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to "present" Him to the Lord (Luke 2:22).
These parents took this act very seriously and were making a commitment in presenting their children to the Lord. Bringing a child before the Lord is not a secret formula for keeping them from ever experiencing harm or pain. Rather, it is a commitment that the parents make to do their part in raising their child before the Lord. Just as the Nazarite children in the Bible had set boundaries and lived their lives set apart to God from birth (Judges 13:5), parents today, through baby dedication, commit to a lifestyle of raising their children separated from the world and its values.
As parents, you begin by publicly acknowledging your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As you present your child to God in the presence of the pastor and congregation, you are recognizing that he or she belongs to God and has been born to experience His love and to serve Him.
You are committing, as Christian parents, to teach the truths of God's Word in your home and participate in regular worship with your children. You are also committing to be a Christ-like example and seek to lead your children to a personal faith in Christ as soon as they are ready.
Baby dedications generally occur following the worship portion of the service and before the pastor's message. Name tags will be provided for you at the Hospitality Desk in the foyer. We ask that you arrive shortly before the service starts and find a seat in the front right section closest to the platform and steps. An usher can assist you in finding a suitable location. When the pastor announces your names, an usher will escort you onto the platform.
The pastor will ask if you are making the commitment as outlined in this brochure. At that time you are to respond accordingly. The pastor will take the child and pray over your child, asking God for His protection and guidance as well as to lead the child to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The pastor will then pray over you as parents. After you are escorted off the platform, you may take your child to the nursery and return to the service.
Only those parents who are both Christians and married (a man and a woman) may present their children to the Lord as a couple. Parents must have completed the Starting Point class or be actively involved in the life of the church through regular attendance.
Because of the nature of the commitment being made at a baby dedication, a non-believing spouse would be unable to participate. If your spouse is not a believer or does not regularly attend church but would like to be present at the dedication, arrangements can be made to dedicate your child together following a weekend service.
We believe a person must make a personal commitment to Christ before being baptized. For this reason, we provide parents the opportunity to dedicate their children to the Lord, praying that He would ultimately lead them to that personal decision.
A parent who is single is welcome to present their children to the Lord alone, following a weekend service, provided they are committed to raising the child in a Christian home environment and have had a Pastoral meeting. Because baby dedication involves making a commitment as a family to follow the Lord, parents co-habitating outside of marriage would be unable to make this vow or participate in the ceremony. If you would like further information for pastoral guidance with this, please contact the RKids Ministry, and we will assist.
We recommend that children be dedicated during the first 9 months. Children respond more favorably to public presentation at this age. If your child is older, a date can be arranged when one of the pastors will pray over your child at the altar following a service.
Baby dedications are only able to occur on certain weekends when our service schedule allows. A service time may be selected on any of these designated weekends.
Typically, only the immediate family comes onto the platform. Siblings are welcome provided they are able to remain still and quiet for the duration of the dedication. If they wish, parents may invite one or two family members or special guests to join them. (There is a place to list these names on the form.) Professional attire is required for all participants.
You may photograph or video tape the baby dedication so long as it does not disrupt the sacredness of the event. This means remaining seated and refraining from using flash photography or special lighting equipment. Also, a DVD of the service, which includes the baby dedication, is available for purchase in the Resource Center.
Please be aware that only a couple committed to Christ and married (a man and a woman) or a single parent committed to Christ and not living with someone out of wedlock may dedicate their child.