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Baby Dedication

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Introduction

It's exciting whenever a new child enters a family. There's no greater moment when parents sense that children are a gift from God. In these joyful moments, pastors have the privilege of sharing how parents can express their full appreciation to God through baby dedication. While some Christian ministers baptize babies, the following order of service is for those who prefer what J. I. Packer describes as "dry baptism."

Counseling for Baby Dedication

Dedicating a child acknowledges God's sovereignty not only over the child, but also Mom and Dad. Parents present their child before God and His people asking for grace and wisdom in carrying out their responsibilities. Parents also come praying that their child might one day trust Jesus Christ as Savior for the forgiveness of sin.

Before the actual ceremony, it is crucial that pastors counsel parents about the meaning of dedication. The best passage for discussion is Deuteronomy 6:4-7. First, it commands parents to love God; if they truly wish for their child to one day love and follow God, their lives must be an example. This is a good time to query parents about their own personal relationship with Christ.

Second, Deuteronomy makes clear that the duty of teaching children belongs to parents; Sunday schools can provide weekly instruction, but parents must seize the teachable moments that arise throughout life. Explain the value of prayer (for example, repetitious prayers like "Now I lay me down to sleep . . .") at meal times and before bed. Urge them to read aloud Bible stories for devotions. Give them practical ideas they can implement into their daily family routines.

Sometimes it is custom for parents to choose godparent(s). Often viewed simply as an honorary title, its value however can be greatly enhanced by defining how this role will be carried out. Many godparents assume responsibility to provide cards and gifts of a Christian nature for the child on birthdays and holidays. Some periodically ask the parents how they are doing in training their child (Proverbs 22:6). Still others have arranged that in the event of the parents' unexpected death, the godparents will take the child into their home (This of course requires legal documentation).

Conducting the Ceremony

On the day of dedication, meet with the parents a few minutes before the service in order to explain where they should stand. For the services given below, the following advice is suggested. With the pastor standing front and center in the sanctuary, the father should stand immediately to the pastor's right, with Mom next to Dad, accompanied by any other children. Godparents and grandparents should stand to the pastor's left. Have the wife hold the baby as the family comes forward. During the service, the wife will pass the child to the father for the vow of dedication; the father holding the child during this time symbolizes that the husband is the family's spiritual head. Afterwards, the father is then able to pass the baby to the pastor for the prayer of dedication.

Be sure to recognize everyone who stands before the church, especially siblings. Though this is not their special day, it's important to confirm that they too are important participants. When grandparents stand, you may want to insert the following into the ceremony: "Standing before us are three generations. Seeing this brings to mind Proverbs 17:6 which tells us that 'Grandchildren are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of children.'

(NAME OF GRANDPARENTS), we know you're very proud of these grandkids. And (NAME OF PARENTS), we trust that the step of faith you're taking today will make (CHILD'S NAME) one day proud of your actions."

Finally, keep in mind that babies are unpredictable. Some may sleep during the dedication, but others might cry, especially while you're holding them! Humor is a delightful way to make light of the situation and dissipate any of your own uneasiness. It is moments such as these that makes baby dedications so special. The sacred and the mundane collide. And through it, we see a glimpse of the glorious gospel--God being found in the appearance of man.

Service of Dedication I

Children are a gift from God. Psalm 127:3 proclaims that "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him." As believers we are called to recognize that children belong first and foremost to God. God in his goodness gives children as gifts to parents. They not only have the awesome responsibility of caring for this gift, but also the wonderful privilege of enjoying the gift. Because children belong to God and are given by grace as gifts to parents, it is only proper and appropriate that children be dedicated back to God.

We are told in 1 Samuel 1 that Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord. In Luke 2:22 we read that Mary and Joseph brought their baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem in order to present him before the Lord. In the same way, (PARENTS) today bring their (SON/DAUGHTER + CHILD'S NAME), presenting first themselves and then their (SON/DAUGHTER) before the Lord our God.

Accompanying them in making this commitment are (CHILD'S) godparents, (GODPARENT'S NAME). And witnessing this as well are (PARENT'S OTHER CHILDREN).

(PARENTS), I call your attention to the commands of God recorded in Holy Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 tells us:

"Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on their children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Ephesians 6:4 says:

"fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." God's instructions are plain.

(PARENTS), love God with every ounce and fiber of your energy and teach (CHILD) to do the same. As you love God, one another, and (OTHER CHILDREN), you will model before (CHILD) a wonderful love for God that he will want for himself.

(PARENTS), by coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and your (SON/DAUGHTER + CHILD'S NAME) to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment in the presence of God and his people (Wife hands child to husband as a sign of his spiritual headship in the family). So that (CHILD) may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you (PARENTS) vow by God's help and in partnership with the church, to provide (CHILD) a Christian home of love and peace, to raise him in the truth of our Lord's instruction and discipline, and to encourage him to one day trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord? ("We do.")

Modeling this kind of love can not be done alone. It requires the help of others. For this reason, (PARENTS) call upon the help of (GODPARENTS). I now direct my questions to you. By coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to help PARENTS fulfill the vow they have just made by becoming (CHILD'S) godparents? If so, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment: So that (CHILD) may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God's help, to encourage, through praise and correction, (PARENTS) in their effort to raise (CHILD) in the fear of the Lord, to uphold them in prayer, and if anything should happen to (PARENTS), to assume responsibility in helping (CHILD) receive our Lord's guidance and instruction? ("We do.")

Finally, I ask that the church make a vow as well. There's an old proverb that says "it takes a village to raise a child." Parents have first responsibility. But parents need the help and support of the community. So I direct my questions now to the church. By being present in God's house today, do you hereby declare yourselves to be the children of God because you trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life? If this is true, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Would you please stand? Having come freely, I ask now that you make the following commitment to those who stand before you: So that (CHILD) may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God's help, to be faithful in your calling as members of the body of Christ, to help (PARENTS) be faithful to God, and to help teach and train (CHILD) in the ways of the Lord so that he might one day trust him as Savior and Lord? If you accept this responsibility, please respond by saying "we do."

(Dad hands child to pastor for prayer of dedication)

(Presentation of Certificate and Gift)

(May wish to sing dedication hymn)

Service of Dedication II

God delights in children. He takes great pleasure in them. They are one of the greatest gifts He gives to husbands and wives. Psalm 127:3 proclaims that "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him." Because children are a gift from God, it is natural that Christian parents present and dedicate their child to God. In the Gospels we read that people brought little children and babies to Jesus so that he might place his hands on them and pray for them.

In the same way, (PARENTS) today bring their (SON/DAUGHTER + CHILD'S NAME), presenting first themselves and then (CHILD) before the Lord our God. Accompanying them in making this commitment are (GRANDPARENTS). And witnessing this as well is (OTHER SIBLINGS).

(PARENTS), I call your attention to the commands of God recorded in Holy Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 tells us:

"Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on their children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Years ago the music group Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young had a hit song with the words "teach your children well." Indeed there is no higher calling for parents. Proverbs 10:1 reminds us that "a wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother." The best thing Moms and Dads can teach their child is the "fear of the Lord," for Proverbs 1:7 tells us this is "the beginning of knowledge." In other words, the successful application of all that (CHILD) learns in life depends on him first learning to fear and follow God. So the church urges you (PARENTS) to love God with every ounce and fiber of your being and teach (CHILD) to do the same. As you love God, one another, and (OTHER SIBLINGS), you will model before (CHILD) a wonderful love for God that he will want for himself.

(PARENTS), by coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and your (CHILD) to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment in the presence of God and his people (Wife hands child to husband as a sign of his spiritual headship in the family).

So that (CHILD) may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you (PARENTS) vow by God's help and in partnership with the church, to provide (CHILD) a Christian home of love and peace, to raise him in the truth of our Lord's instruction and discipline, and to encourage him to one day trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord? ("We do.")

For encouragement in fulfilling these vows, (PARENTS) call upon (GRANDPARENTS). Proverbs 17:6 declares how "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged." There is great pride in seeing a new generation of family. And how that joy is reinforced when children are raised to fear God. To this end, I ask you the following questions.

By coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to help (PARENTS) fulfill the vow they have just made by becoming (CHILD's) godparents? If so, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment: So that (CHILD) may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God's help, to pray for and encourage (PARENTS) in their effort to raise (CHILD) in the fear of the Lord, so that (CHILD) might receive our Lord's guidance and instruction? ("We do.")

Finally, I ask that the church make a vow as well. As believers in the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to teach the Gospel story to our younger generation. In fact, the Old Testament prophet Joel commands us to tell of God's work "to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation" (1:3). So I direct my questions now to the congregation.

Being present in God's house today, do you hereby declare yourselves to be the children of God because you trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life? If this is true, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Would you please stand? Having come freely, I ask now that you make the following commitment before God and those who stand before you: So that (CHILD) may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God's help, to be faithful in your calling as members of the body of Christ, to help (PARENTS) be faithful to God, and to help teach and train (CHILD) in the ways of the Lord so that he might one day trust him as Savior and Lord? If you accept this responsibility, please respond by saying "we do."

(Dad hands child to pastor for prayer of dedication)

(Presentation of Certificate and Gift)

Related Topics: Christian Home, Administrative and Organization