What is baby dedication?
The word "dedication" means to consecrate or the act of setting apart people or things for the purposes of serving 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. It is a commitment of the parents to do their part in raising the 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), so parents today, through baby dedication, commit to a lifestyle of raising their children separated from the world and its values.
What kind of commitment am I making?
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 they belong to Him and have 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.
What happens at the baby dedication?
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 on to 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, and 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.
Why don't you have infant baptism?
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.
Are there any requirements?
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 Living Stones 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.
What if we're not married?
A parent who is single is welcome to present their children to the Lord alone, provided they are committed to raising the child in a Christian home environment. 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 Pastoral guidance with this issue, please contact the Children's Ministry Dept.
What age should my child be?
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.
Can I choose my own date?
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.
Who is invited onto the platform?
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 attired required for all participants.
What about video taping or photography?
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.
Okay, we're ready. What do we do now?
Parents should pick up a baby dedication information packet from the Children's Ministry Information Center located near the south entrance of the first floor. The packet contains an information form and CD by Pastor Dale. Listen to the message on the CD then complete the form. Return the form to the church, attention Children's Ministry. Someone will contact you to confirm a date and finalize details.
A Word From The Pastor
Children are a gift from God and are precious to Him. Dedicating our children to the Lord is an important covenant we make before God. It is through baby dedication that parents make this covenant and publicly proclaim their faith in Christ and their commitment to pass their faith on to their children. As a church, we desire to help you succeed in this parenting journey. For this reason we have prepared this brochure to assist you in understanding what baby dedication is all about. It contains our policies and other important aspects of baby dedication. Please take the time to read it over. Any questions or further information about these guidelines may be directed to the Children's Ministry at 301-926-0967. May God richly bless you as you welcome this new life into your family!
Pastor Dale O'Shields
To Register for our next Baby Dedication Service, Click Here !