Child Dedication Details
Dedicating our children to God is a very special moment in the life of our church family. We celebrate what dedication means when we, as a worshiping community, gather around families in our services to pledge our support. There’s something deeply moving about seeing parents bring their children before God to entrust them to his care. There’s something equally touching about the church standing together with parents in the task of raising their children.
We want this moment to be special for you and your family. This document outlines some of the important details and answers some frequently asked questions about child dedications.
Child Dedication and the Bible
Psalm 127 reminds us that children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). They are entrusted to us so that we can care for them and help them grow into the people God has intended them to be.
Bringing children before God for dedication is recorded at different points in the Old and New Testament. In 1 Samuel 1:27–28, a godly woman named Hannah gave birth to a baby boy, Samuel. Her immediate response was to thank God for him and dedicate the boy to him saying, “I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.”
In the pages of the New Testament, Luke’s gospel also records Mary and Joseph taking the infant Jesus to the temple to dedicate him. In both of these examples, the parents bring their child before the Lord to set their child apart for God, asking him to guide and direct their steps.
In addition to these specific examples, Jesus also displayed enormous love and compassion for children. When his followers were becoming angry with people for bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing, Jesus asked them not to stand in the way saying, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” After saying this, scripture records he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them (Matthew 19:14-15).
The Spiritual Significance of Child Dedications
By bringing your child(ren) forward for dedication, you are pledging to raise your child in a Christian home, with the help of a church community, where he or she can come to know, love, and serve Jesus. In exchange, the people of North Park promise to provide a loving community that helps and prays for your family.
Dedications are spiritually significant moments in several ways:
- The parent(s) who bring their child or children forward and the church community both recognize that God gives the gift of children to parents (Ps.127:3).
- The parents promise to raise their child in a way that will help train and educate their children to follow, love and serve God (1 Samuel 1:27-28; Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 2:21-24, Dt. 6:5‐7).
- Those gathered commit to helping the family raise the child and laying a foundation of learning about what it means to live a godly life.
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Do I Need to Be a Member to Dedicate My Child(ren)?
No. We ask that parents who dedicate their child(ren) at North Park do it with the understanding that North Park is their church home. The reason for this is simple: dedications are a two way commitment – the parents commit their child to God and the congregation commits to helping the family do their best in raising their child(ren).
If you also choose to become a member at North Park, there are classes are offered several times a year for those interested in pursuing this as a further step.
What Age Does my Child Have to Be to Participate?
Ages vary for children who are dedicated. Most often children are under a year of age. It’s common, however, to have older children dedicated. This is because sometimes parents decide to have a younger child dedicated and ask that their older sibling be dedicated at the same time. In other situations parents come to follow Jesus at a later stage in their marriage and decide to ask for God’s help and blessing with children who were not dedicated when they were babies.
Can Just One Parent Participate?
Yes. Single parents are welcomed by the church to dedicate their child(ren). This is not only permitted, it is encouraged. In these cases we encourage single parents to sensitively and thoughtfully discuss this issue with the other parent or ex-spouse. We realize that there may be challenges to having both parents participate. The meaning of the event doesn’t change, however. In child dedications the parent or parents come before God and the church to ask for support from the church community and from God in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
Who Can You Invite to the Dedication?
You are welcome to invite anyone you would like to come to the dedication service. While only you and your immediate family will come up to the front of the church for your dedication, guests are invited be seated in the auditorium and enjoy the service. We encourage you to come early for the service. The auditorium does fill 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.
What should the baby and the family wear for the dedication?
We don’t have any formal “dress code” for the family or for the child being dedicated. Parents sometimes choose a special dedication outfit for their child. The rule of thumb we recommend is that you and your family come dressed in ways you feel are comfortable and you believe suit the occasion. No Jeans please.
What Can I/We Expect at the Dedication Service?
The service typically includes a reading from scripture, a series of promises made by the parents and the congregation, and an individual prayer offered by a staff member or elder for the family and the child. Child Dedication services take place on 2 weekends during the year.
If you are interested in participating in our May 13-14 Child Dedication, please click here. In order to participate, applications must be submitted by April 9. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.