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.