What is Child Dedication
More than a child dedication, it’s a parent commitment. (Parents can either be biological, adoptive parents, single parents, and grandparents raising their grandchildren. We call parents those who are the active caregivers to the child).
Dedicating a child to God symbolizes the belief that our children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3) and that the best place for them is in a loving relationship with Him. Dedicating children to the Lord is a beautiful symbolic act showing the parent’s desire to raise their children in the teachings of God and for the service of God. This is a commitment, a promise, a vow by the parents before God, their family, and the church concerning their responsibility to love and to train and to lead their children into a growing relationship with God.
Is this the same as Child Baptism?
Child dedication is different from infant baptism or christening. Child dedication is the act of giving back to God the gift He has given you as parents. It is an act of worship, thanksgiving, trust and commitment. The practice of child dedication has been modeled throughout the Bible.
We can find the root of child dedication in 1 Samuel 1:27-28 where a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child. God answered her prayer and gave her a son, whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was born, his mother prayed:
27 For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” (NASB)
The Gospel of Luke tells us that following the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the infant child to the temple and dedicated Him.
In both instances, the parents fully entrusted their child to God.
Depending on your church tradition, you may view child baptism as a step of salvation or as a symbol of dedication to the Lord. However, we believe baptism is an outward expression of the inward confession of being a follower of Jesus Christ. That is called Believer’s Baptism. We believe baptism occurs after an individual makes a personal decision to confess their sins to God and accept by faith His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Baptism is a symbol of that already made decision to the public, much like a wedding ring publicly symbolizes a marriage. Baptism does not save or guarantee salvation.
Therefore, we do not perform infant baptism nor do we use it for child dedication.
What is required?
While Hope Chapel does not have a set age requirement for child dedication, the average age for a child to be dedicated is 4 months to 2 yrs old. Many parents dedicate children much older than that and often for the following reasons:
- The parent(s) are new believers in Christ and their children were not dedicated when they were infants.
- The parent(s) are having a younger child dedicated and want to have their older child dedicated at the same time.
No matter the age of the child, it’s important for the parent to recognize their God-given role to be the spiritual leader at home. It’s never too late to start.
Child dedication signifies the commitment of care-givers (couples, single parents, grandparents raising their grandchildren) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit themselves to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. In some cases, it would be wise to seek pastoral counsel if you have concerns about your situation. As a church, Hope Chapel is committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
What happens at a Child Dedication?
Child Dedication happens during an adult worship service. If you are inviting friends and family to join you in this celebration, we encourage you to invite them to attend the whole worship service.
Because parents/caregivers are the key role models for their children, they play a primary role in the dedication celebration. During the dedication time, the parents and the child come forward in front of the congregation for a special time for the family. A letter in which the parents share their prayers, hopes, dreams, trust and belief in the importance of raising their child in a God centered home is read aloud by either a parent or the pastor celebrating the dedication. A pledge or covenant or certificate, written by Hope Chapel, will be read and we will ask the congregation to also commit to partner with you as parents in raising your child in the way of the Lord. Prayers are then said over each family.
Child Dedication is a very special time, so please invite your family and friends. There is no limit to the number of guests you may invite. Although Hope Chapel does not use the term ‘godparents’, we do welcome parents to invite friends and family members who are committed to supporting them to stand with them during the dedication. The presence of these significant adults symbolizes their commitment to play a supportive role in the child’s spiritual development.