Dedications are a special time of celebration. There is something deeply moving about seeing parents bring their children before God to entrust them to His care. There is something equally touching when the church commits to supporting parents as they raise their children. At North Park, dedications are celebrated twice a year during the regular weekend services.
The Purpose of the Dedication
By bringing children forward for dedication, parents are formally recognizing their children as gifts from God, and are pledging to raise their children in a way that honours Him, with the goal that each child will one day choose Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour, and live a life of love and service to Him. (1 Samuel 1:27-28; Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 2:21-24, Dt. 6:5‐7). In exchange, the people of North Park Community Church, commit to surrounding the family as a supportive community, modelling Christ’s love and care to them.
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Do I Need to Be an Official Member of North Park to Dedicate My Child?
No, but we do require all participants to have chosen North Park as their church home, and to regularly attend our services. The reason for this is simple: dedications are a two way commitment – parents committing their children to God and the congregation committing to supporting the family.
What Age Does my Child Have to Be to Participate?
There is no specific age requirement. Though most children tend to be less than a year old, we welcome children of any age, recognizing that faith is a journey. Not all parents come to faith before their children are born. Commitment levels to Christ and to our community change over time. Some families choose to wait and dedicate all their children at once, while others participate after the birth of each individual child. One size does not fit all!
Can Just One Parent Participate?
Yes. Single parents are welcomed and encouraged to dedicate their children, after sensitively and thoughtfully discussing their intention with the other parent or ex-spouse.
Who Can I Invite to the Dedication?
You are welcome to invite anyone you wish to attend, though only parents and children come to the front for the dedication. We encourage you and your guests to arrive early for the service, as the Auditorium fills up quickly and seats closer to the front are often difficult to find if you arrive a few minutes before or after the service begins.
Is there a Dress Code?
No, not specifically. Parents sometimes choose a special dedication outfit for their child. If you are having trouble deciding, we would recommend something semi-formal (no jeans please). The way we present ourselves does say something of the value we are placing on this celebration.
What is the format of the Dedications?
The Dedications typically take place near the beginning of the service, following a couple of songs and announcements. A pastor introduces the meaning and purpose of dedications, and invites all the participating families to come and stand at the front. We do not have a pre-set order for where to stand, so families just aim for a place that is visually good for their guests. Families choose whether to bring all of their children with them, or just the specific children who are being dedicated that day. (Most bring all their children, making it a special family event). The families are introduced by name, while slides of the children being dedicated are shown on the large screens. A pastor then leads the families through our Dedication Affirmations. “As parents, do you commit to raising your children in a way that honours God – giving them the love, time and prayer they need to mature into the people Jesus created them to be? “ [All parents answer together – “We do”] North Park, “Do you commit to modeling Christ’s love to those around you, helping these families experience the joy of Christian community? [The congregation answers together – “We do.”]
This is followed by a time of individual prayer. Each family is joined by a representative from the church who prays privately with the family, until a prayer of blessing is shared from the stage over all of the families participating. As the congregation sings a song, the families return to their seats or take their children to their regular classes.
Are photos permitted?
Absolutely. Friends and family are welcome to squat in the aisle or along the front to take photos during the dedication. Please try to do so as unobtrusively as possible. We also ask that you do not post any photos on Social Media without the express permission of those included in the photos (you may post photos of your own family and those who pray with you, but if others appear in your photos, please do not post unless you have their permission). North Park may also take photos during the dedications. Please inform Cathy Thornton if you do not wish to have your photos used on North Park’s Social Media sites.
How do I register to participate?
Registration has now closed for our November 2017 Dedications. If you are interested in participating in our spring dedications, CLICK HERE.