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The significance of a Baby Dedication.
Baby dedication is first and foremost an act of worship in which Christian parents offer back to God the gift He has given to them as parents. In this act Christian parents make a commitment before the Lord to raise their child according to God's Word and God's ways. As well as an act of worship, baby dedication is an act of thanksgiving, dependence, trust, and commitment. The practice of baby dedication has been modeled in the Bible, most notably by Hannah (1 Samuel 1: 24-28), and by Mary and Joseph (Luke 2: 22-40).
Responsibilities Involved in Baby Dedication
In baby dedication parents publicly acknowledge their responsibility to raise their child in the ways of the Lord. In this sense it is also parent dedication. Parents who make this commitment promise to the Lord to do everything within their power to raise the child in a godly way, prayerfully until he or she can make a decision on his or her own to follow God. Some of the responsibilities include teaching and training the child in God's Word, demonstrating an example of godliness, discipling according to God's ways, and praying earnestly for the child. Parents also recognize that children learn to love what they love, and so their primary job is to so love God in their own lives that this love 'rubs off' on their child.
To help parents in this journey, Elim will give parents who dedicate their baby excellent resources to help them in their high calling of being godly parents.
Baby Dedication FAQ
Is baby dedication the same as infant baptism?
Baby dedication is different from infant baptism (or christening). At Elim we believe that the Bible teaches that baptism should take place after a person has made a personal choice to follow Jesus Christ.
When do baby dedications happen?
Baby dedications form a short part of a Sunday morning church service, and typically when several parents are ready and we can arrange a suitable date.
What happens in a baby dedication?
Parent's, along with their family, fellow life group members, and close friends will be invited to the front of the church auditorium. A church pastor will explain the meaning and significance of the dedication and will ask the parent(s) to commit to raising their baby in God's ways. Afterwards an Elim pastor will lead the family and friends in a prayer of blessing for the child. During this time the pastor may also speak a prophetic declaration over that child.
I am a single parent. May I still dedicate my child?
I would like to dedicate my baby/child. What are the next steps?
Simply send a request to the office and one of the pastoral staff will get in touch with you and arrange a time to meet with you as a parent(s). The purpose of this meeting is to explain the significance of baby/child dedication, arrange a date for the dedication, and see how as a church we can best support you as you raise your child in the ways of the Lord.
Who should we invite to the dedication service? Do I need to select 'god-parents' for my child?
The dedication of your baby/child is a very special time, so be sure to invite your family and friends. There is no limit on the number of guests you may invite! We do not use the term "God parents" at Elim Dunedin. However, we recognize the truth in saying that it takes a village to raise a child. So we certainly encourage parents to choose one or two people who are a little farther along on the parenting journey and who they respect, to act as parenting-mentors and to help support parents in their commitment to their child.
My child is not a baby anymore but I would like to dedicate him/her. Is this okay?
The short answer is yes! A child can be dedicated at any time, although typically parents dedicate their child within the first year of a child's life. When a person is able to make the decision to follow God, and then does so, water baptism is appropriate. As a rough guideline we do not recommend primary school age children to be baptized. If you are not sure then just have a chat with one of the church pastors.
Where in the Bible does it speak about godly parenting?
A great place to start is Deuteronomy 6: 5-9. There, it describes God's plan for how a parent should raise up a child:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and your gates."