Why do we dedicate our children to the Lord?
Child dedication is the presentation of a child to God, by the child’s parents, in the presence of the people of God. It includes the following elements.
Praise and thanksgiving to God for the creation of life, the gift of a child, and the privilege of parenting.
Dedication of a child to God, for His glory.
A formal pledge by the parents to be responsible stewards in caring for a child and raising a child “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), so that the child may have every advantage to know and follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Seeking God’s blessings for a child, and for all who will participate in the care and training of that child.
What is the Biblical basis for child dedication?
The Bible does not command us to participate in child dedication, nor does it give an example of a formal child dedication service. However, there is Biblical precedent for presenting children to God (Luke 2:22-23), and for bringing children to Christ for blessing (Mark 10:13-16). Also, the Bible clearly calls parents to commitment to raise their children to know and follow the Lord (Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:18-19, Psalm 78:1-7), and teaches the value and benefit of believers praying together in unity for God’s blessings in the tasks to which He has called us (Matthew 18:19-20).
What are the benefits of child dedication?
Child dedication does not confer salvation from sin or church membership upon children or their parents. The Bible teaches that to receive forgiveness of sins and to be reconciled to God, an individual must personally put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and submit to Him as Lord. To become a member of Northwest Hills church, individuals must be followers of Jesus Christ who commit to worship and serve Him in the Northwest Hills congregation.
The primary benefits of child dedication are God’s blessings for our families and God’s assistance as we raise our children to know and follow Him. The Bible teaches that when we honor God and obey Him, He blesses. And when we pray according to His will, He answers our prayers. In child dedication then, when we present ourselves and our children to God for His glory, and when we ask of God in faith and humility, God is gracious and gives of Himself to us. We can be confident then of His blessing and assistance in our families. However, we should always remember that the ceremony of child dedication is not magical. Our families will likely be no better for having gone through the ceremony if the parents involved do not mean what they say and keep the commitment that they have made in the child dedication service.
Does child dedication include baptism?
No, child dedication is not infant baptism. While we do not quarrel with other churches that baptize young children, we understand the Bible to teach that baptism is an act of obedience to God after an individual consciously chooses to believe in Christ and follow Christ as Lord. Therefore, we do not baptize infants who are not yet able to make that choice.
Who may dedicate their child?
Any parent (single or married, with spouse or without) who understands the meaning of child dedication, who is in agreement with its intent, and who is willing to make the parental commitment of child dedication, may participate in child dedication in our church.
What is the parental commitment of child dedication?
In child dedication, parents make a public commitment to act both personally and in cooperation with the church to:
- Surround their child with the best possible Christian atmosphere and influence.
- Remain personally dedicated to Christ and His church, so that they may, by God’s grace, live exemplary lives, and so living, may commend Christ to their child by their example.
- Give to their child knowledge of the Scriptures, teach their child to love and obey God, and train their child to walk in the manner of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Is child dedication a private service?
No. Typically child dedication is included in our Sunday morning worship services, and often more than one family participates in the same child dedication ceremony.