How to Do a Baby Dedication

February 9, 2010 — 4 Comments

Most of you may know from my Twitter and Facebook updates that I’m going to be the dad of a little girl. Maggie Elizabeth is expected to arrive in this world on June 28th! My wife and I could not be more excited. I’m mentally preparing for a new world of pink and purple. I grew up in a household of boys, so I’m one of those clueless, first-time dads.

One of the joys of pastoring is dedicating children to the Lord. It will be special day when Erin and I get to dedicate Maggie. A child dedication is more than a quick prayer and blessing. It’s a challenge to the parents and church family to raise the child to love Jesus more than anything or anyone else. While there’s numerous ways churches do child dedications, let me share with you how I do them at First Baptist Church Murray.

  • Rather than a group dedication with several families on Mother’s Day, we do them throughout the year. I try to have only one family dedicate their child in any given service. It allows the church to focus on one child, and it’s a little more special for the family.
  • We do these dedications during our guided prayer portion of the service. The guided prayer is a time during each service that I lead. Rather than announcements or recognition times (which can interrupt the flow of the service), I use this time to pray over events, programs, or people of the church. The purpose is twofold: first, to build a culture of prayer being the foundation of every ministry. Second, it allows me to make an announcement, recognition, or do a baby dedication in a way that is appropriate for our worship services.
  • I also write a letter to the child—sealed in an envelope—to be opened when the child accepts Christ. I write in the letter that the point of the child’s dedication was for the church and family to raise the child to love Jesus. This letter is given to the parents or guardians of the child at the dedication.
  • After presenting the child to the church (it’s always a hit with the congregation), I issue a formal charge to the parents. I challenge them to raise their child in a Christian home and to show the love of Christ to their child.
  • Next, I have the congregation stand and issue a challenge to the church. Like the parents, the congregation is to show Christ’s love to the child, but also to support the parents and hold them accountable.
  • Our preschool director then gives the parents a children’s Bible, and mom gets a bouquet of flowers.
  • The entire process builds up to the most important part of the dedication. Lastly, I call the entire congregation forward to lay hands on the parents, surrounding them in prayer. I then guide a prayer for the congregation and the parents. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will begin the process of regeneration for the child and that the parents will be obedient in sharing Jesus with their child.

Sam Rainer

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Sam S. Rainer is the president of Rainer Research and the senior pastor of Stevens Street Baptist Church in Cookeville, TN.

4 responses to How to Do a Baby Dedication

  1. Sam,
    Thanks for sharing. I’m curious if the church provides any type of “training” or class for new parents??? Would appreciate any info or intentions. Thanks!

  2. Al – great question. We’re working on streamlining our discipleship process at FBC (which includes every aspect of the church…programs, events, staff, budget, etc). Part of the new process will eventually include this type of training, which is critical in helping parents understand their roles in discipling their children. I recommend having this class before the baby is born–things get real busy afterwards.

  3. Sam,

    I am interested in your guided prayer time. We are having a problem as we are a quickly growing church and have lots of events and activities added to our schedule every week. We have gotten to the point that every ministry wants to make some sort of announcement. We tried moving the announcements to the end of the service to keep it from interrupting the flow of the service and distracting from worship, but it is still too cumbersome. I am thinking this might be a plausible solution. I have some questions:
    1. How do you decide what activities to pray over?
    2. How do people respond if you don’t choose their activity?
    3. Are you a large church or small church?
    4. Does this make a difference in this approach?

    Our church council of ministry team leaders decided we would make no announcements and I do not feel that is the right direction, but don’t want to just shut them down, but would like to provide an alternative. Your answers could help us out of this sticky situation.

    Thanks.

  4. Jack – I think you’ve given me the idea for my next blog post. I’ll answer all your questions in it. Thanks!

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