This is a guide to how we perform a Child Dedication ceremony at Calvary Assembly. Part of this article will include thoughts that Pastor Bob and I spoke about in a conversation about how to perform a Child Dedication. We wanted to have a ceremony that included both our Lead Pastor (Pastor Bob) and the Children’s Pastor (myself).
When in the service: We did the Child Dedications after the worship songs but before our kids were released to their classes. We really wanted the entire family (including kids) to be able to see this meaningful ceremony.
- Pastor Bob Intro – There were some key things that Pastor Bob wanted to communicate to our church family before inviting up the families.
- Dedication vs Baptism – We don’t think there is anything wrong with baptism. Many parents were baptized as infants. That is a wonderful thing. We support that. We simply choose to do a dedication based on the story of Samuel where Hannah recognizes that Samuel is a gift from God and commits to raising him for the Lord. Our understanding of Scripture is that our children are not our possesion. They are a gift from God. We are blessed with them for a season. That time now becomes very important in how we raise them.
- Invite the families up by name – Pastor Bob then invited up the families (and I came up at the same time).
- The questions – Pastor Bob introduced me and shared that I will be asking some questions. He shared that these are commitments that parents make to their children that are as important as the commitments we have made to our spouse.
- Intro – I shared with the families how excited I was for the parents to make this commitment publicly and how excited I was for the kids who were blessed to have parents who understood the significance of this ceremony and were committing to raise kids that would be shaped by their faith.
- With God’s Help – Here is what I shared next: “This is a very sacred and precious moment. There is something I would like you to know. You are most likely not going to be able to keep the promises you are about to make… on your own. But I have good news for you. God always keeps his promises. And when parents invite God into their families – not only is God able to keep his promises, but God also helps you to keep your promises.
- Direction – (This is important so that they feel comfortable and know how to respond) – I shared, “I will be asking you three questions, and after each question I will give you a chance to respond.
- Question 1: “First, Will you live out your faith at home, in a real and authentic way that can be modeled for ______?” (Living out your faith at home)
- Question 2: “Will you commit to connecting ______ with a spiritual family, so that they will have multiple sources of support?” (Connecting them with a spiritual family)
- Question 3: “Finally, Will you be willing to discern the direction of God in _______ life, and act on that direction?” (Releasing your child to God’s purposes)
- Anointing with Oil & Closing Prayer – Pastor Bob closed with this portion.
- Pastor Bob first anointed each child with oil on their forehead (which simply signifies being set aside for God’s special purpose).
- Then he prayed for each child (or children as a group from a family).
- Thoughts about prayer – The key here – and I believe one of the most significant parts of the dedication is being open and sensitive to God’s prompting of what to pray for. It’s very difficult to be open to the Spirit’s leading while you are concerned about what is coming up next. But if you are able to be present and sense what God is placing on your heart to specifically pray for – whether that is an image or a phrase or a verse – and then simply pray that out, it can be a very significant moment.
- As a practical step – Pastor Bob encouraged me to simply be open to the Spirit’s prompting in any situation in service and to simply pray my own prayer of how the Spirit is leading. But if you are always concerned with what is coming up next, or distractions – you miss out on this opportunity to partner with the Holy Spirit and intercede for someone based on His prompting.
- Gift – Pastor Bob concluded the dedication by giving each child a wrapped book – The Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s our favorite children’s Bible, and in fact, we think every adult should own one and read it.
A few more thoughts –
Be prepared. Have the questions ready to use and use them. I had the questions ready (in my pocket) during the first service but I tried to recite them without looking at my paper. My focus then become entirely on getting the questions right and not being present in the moment. For second service – I simply glanced at my note before sharing each question. It doesn’t look bad to have them written down or to read from them and it allowed me to be more present.
Understand the main concepts of each question. (I included this in italics above). You don’t have to be formal – always reading the question the same exact way. If you understand the concept and are present and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you may phrase things slightly different that will end up being very meaningful to the parents.
I’m also a Communications guy. So ahead of time I created some graphics to place on the screen during the service, as well as on our Facebook page (with parents permission) after the service. You can see those below.
Shown on our projector screen during the dedication:
Shown on our Facebook page after the service: