Service of Dedication II
What is a Baby Dedication?
A baby dedication is not a baptism. We do not baptize infants. A baby dedication does not ensure that the baby will make it to heaven. The Bible says that a baby is a blessing from God. When you decide to dedicate your son or daughter, you are acknowledging the awesome responsibility God has given you in raising your child. A baby dedication is a ceremony that expresses your desire as parents to raise your son or daughter in the ways of the Bible and to ask God to use your son or daughter for his purposes. You submit your will for your child to His will.
Why should I dedicate my infant?
The Bible provides an example for this in that Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to be dedicated to God. As followers of Christ, we want to also make this public declaration to your family, and your church. It is invaluable to be able to tell a child as they are growing up that they belong to Jesus and that you have asked God to use them in a formal declaration, i.e. Baby Dedication.
As a child, Jesus was brought by Joseph and Mary to the House of the Lord. This was an act of dedication and recognition that He really belonged to God. Throughout His ministry, people brought children to Jesus and He placed His hands on each of them, and blessed them.
Christians are to recognize everything we have belongs to God (Psalm 127:3-5). The children that are born into our homes belong to Him as well. This dedication is not the salvation of the child, but a public expression and declaration of the fact that they do belong to God, as well as a public declaration by the parents they will seek to do everything in their power, as God gives them wisdom, to see that the child grows up to respect and honor God, and to love and serve Jesus Christ as their Savior. The dedication is more than a ritual. It is a commitment of parents to honor the will and Word of God.
One of our greatest delights is the dedication of a child and the parents to fulfill the purposes of God. Most dedications are done in a home with relatives and friends present. We have samples of dedications available for your as well as suggestions as to how family and or friends can be involved in the dedication ceremony.
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)
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. – Mark 10:14
The Charge to the Parents
God has given us great and exceeding precious promises. One of those promises has to do with our children. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Promises of God
Let us hear the Word of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7. Impress them on your 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. 8. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This is the commandment of God, that we should diligently rear our children in the Lord. In obedience to this command _______ (husband) and _________ (wife) are bringing their child, __________ (first name) (middle name) ____________ _____________________ (last name)
The precedent for the ceremony of baby dedication may be found in the Scriptures. Hannah gave Samuel back to the Lord (I Samuel 1:28). Joseph and Mary did the same when they took Jesus to the temple to be dedicated (Luke 2:22). Paul mentioned Timothy’s godly heritage in his godly mother and grandmother. Jesus commanded, "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for such is the kingdom of heaven." (Mark 10:14)
The purpose of baby dedication is found in the purpose of the parents. Rightly understood, the service is a ceremony of parental dedication in which both parents pledge themselves before God to raise their child in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
- Do you __________ and __________ here today to dedicate this child to God and commit yourselves to bring (him/her) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? (Answer: We do)
- Do you pledge yourselves as parents to live before (him/her) godly lives that will leave no stumbling block before this child? (Answer: We do)
- Do you promise to do all in your power to bring this child into a saving faith in Jesus Christ? (Answer: We do)
- Do you covenant with God to read the Scriptures together, pray together, and together to attend the services of the house of God? (Answer: We do)
As members of the body of Christ and the family of God will you promise to do all in your power to assist these parents in their covenant by praying for _______ and living exemplary lives before (him/her)? If so will you stand with us as we pray?
"Father in heaven we now bring this child to you on behalf of (hisher) parents and dedicate him to the Lord. We pray for hisher parents that you will empower them and enable them to maintain the covenant they make here today. We pray now for ________ that you would begin a work in (hisher) heart and life to early convict of sin and bring (hisher) to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We ask that you will go before (hisher) and to protect from sin and sickness and all those things of this world that can ruin this life. We dedicate (hisher) now to the Lord in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN"