Child Dedication

The Importance of Family The family is a divine institution ordained of God from the beginning of time. Children are a heritage of the Lord2 committed by Him to their parents for care, protection, and training for His glory. It is important that all parents recognize this sacred obligation and their responsibility to God in this matter.

The Old Testament Roots Jochebed of old trained her child Moses after having given him to the Lord. Hannah recognized that her child Samuel ultimately belonged to the Lord God. Joseph and Mary also brought the infant Jesus to the temple. In the Old Testament parents brought their sons to be circumcised as a sign and seal of the covenant of God. This sign meant that
they were part of the covenant community. It did not automatically make the children right with God, for the Apostle said that “not all Israel is Israel”.

The Example of Jesus’ Blessing the Children
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. - Mark 10:13-16 (ESV)

Compared to Infant Baptism In some traditions infants are baptized, usually being sprinkled with water. This ceremony means many of the same things that we understand a child dedication to mean, with an emphasis on the baptism being a sign and seal of the covenant. However, our church has chosen to allow the child themselves to decide when they will be baptized with water, believing that baptism is to be a public expression of what has happened inwardly in the child’s heart. Baptism becomes the expression and outward sign of the
believer’s faith. Child dedication is the expression and sign of the believing parents’ faith and commitment to raise the child in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Not a Means of Salvation Parents are not presenting their children in order to “save” their children. Children who have not reached the age of accountability and die are entrusted to God’s grace. Children who have reached the point of accountability need to be presented the Gospel so that they can make a personal decision of faith. Salvation is not something one can do for another. The Apostle Paul so loved his countrymen that he would have given up his salvation so that they could be saved, but that is not what God has ordained. No one can decide for another. No one can choose for another.

What Parents Need to Understand These parents today understand that all life is a gift from God and sacred because each child is made in God’s image. They also know their own weaknesses and their desperate need for the strength of the Almighty to help them to be and do what these children need. They seek the Covenant-faithful God’s blessing and protection, especially asking that He would grant their children tender hearts of faith that will accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior at a young age.

What Parents are Asked to Commit Themselves To Parents have previously been asked by an elder to commit to the following components of being a godly parent.
  1. Will you commit to protect your child by praying for them everyday?
  2. Will you commit to shepherd your child faithfully, teaching and disciplining him/her intentionally, consistently, and redemptively?
  3. Will you commit to raising your child in the reverent fear of God, teaching them to be wise in the daily choices of life?
  4. Will you commit, with God’s help, to be worthy examples of servanthood to your child?
  5. Will you commit to be like God is for His children, an encourager that seeks to revive passion and hope in your child?

What the Parents are Asking of the Congregation by Presenting their Child With an elder and perhaps with their small group, these parents have presented their child(ren) to the Lord and committed themselves as described above. They realize that they need God's help, especially through the prayers and encouragement of the body of believers. So we have asked them
to come and let have a pastor or elder lead the congregation in prayer for them and their little ones.