What’s the purpose of child dedication?
The word, "dedicate," means to set aside or commit to a sacred purpose. The dedication means committing a child to God and God’s purposes. In one sense, this is what every Christian parent wants to do, but in another sense, parents can’t actually make this decision on behalf of their children – as much as they might wish to! Each child will one day have to make his or her own personal decision about whether or not to commit himself or herself to God. Parents can guide, teach, pray for, and lead their children, but parents cannot choose a life path for their child. So even though we speak of dedicating the child to the Lord, dedication is really a matter of parents dedicating themselves to the Lord. With that in mind, there are two primary purposes for dedication:
1. The Parents to dedicate themselves to raising their children to know Jesus. Parents must commit themselves to belong to the body of Christ and the local fellowship and set a living example of a Christ Centered Home. In our Christian homes we show how to forgive each other, love each other, surrender our hearts to Jesus and be faithful in our support of the body of Christ His church.
2. The Church Family has a great responsibility to all of it’s community and especially to the children. The church family is the spiritual extended family for every member of the body. We treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. We join with the families of our church to help encourage each other in Christ and to stand with each other during life crises moments. We also stand together to protect our children and to train them to follow Jesus and not pop culture.
Who should be dedicated?
As a pastor for over 30 years I have dedicated children of all ages. If you are a parent who is committed to following Jesus, I would encourage you to participate in a dedication service with your children. It is good for us to make our declarations public that we might hold one another accountable and encourage each other in our faith.
What happens at a dedication service?
Participating families will be called to the stage for a commitment ceremony. Together with the pastor church leadership will pray over each family. It has been a tradition of our church to provide a gift for each child participating. The week before the ceremony I pray over the names of each of the children who will be dedicated and ask God for a specific scripture verse for them. At the dedication ceremony I present these scripture passages to each child. After the ceremony and when the service concludes there will be a reception for the entire church family in honor of those who have participated.