Child Dedication is a way for parents to express their full appreciation to God through the dedication of their baby back to Him. Parents present their child before God and His people asking for grace and wisdom in carrying out their responsibilities.
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What exactly is Infant Dedication? The introduction of a new child into your family is an exciting time! God has given parents the most influence in the lives of their children, and dedicating your child is a way to commit, in front of God and your faith community, to teaching and modeling to them what it means to follow Jesus. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to be perfect—no one is—but it does mean that you’re going to give them opportunities to explore and grow in the Gospel. So it’s really more about your role as parents, than it is your child.
What’s the difference between Dedicating and Baptizing your child? There is a long tradition in some Christian denominations of baptizing infants. This practice comes from the belief that baptism replaced circumcision as the mark of the covenant between God and his people. In the Old Testament, boys were circumcised to picture the covenant God had made. In the New Testament, baptism was the sign of the new covenant God had made through the death of Jesus. Other traditions within the Christian faith believe that baptism is an act of someone who has put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It is a visible demonstration of the belief the person has and in, and the acceptance of, the redemptive work Jesus has done for them. This is often called believer’s baptism. In these churches, infants are dedicated instead, reserving baptism for that time when that child grows up and is able to confess and articulate their faith on their own. Regardless of whether a child is baptized or dedicated, they will still have to personally choose to follow Jesus when they are older. Infant baptism or dedication does not affect a child’s salvation; it is a commitment that parents make: • To accept the responsibility as the primary spiritual leader of their child’s life. • To teach their child God’s word and lead them to a faith in Christ. • To model the love and grace of our Heavenly Father to their children. • To raise their child actively participating in church. In a nutshell, through the dedication ceremony, parents are declaring that they will do their best to raise their child to love and follow Jesus and cultivating and environment for their child to put their belief in Christ when they are older. Peninsula Bible Fellowship is a “Believer’s Baptism” church and therefore dedicates infants instead of baptizing them.
Are there any pre-requisites for having my child dedicated? It is important that the family considering an infant dedication be closely connected to the church community, as both the parents and faith community commit to play a part in the spiritual development of the child. That is why we ask the following requirements be met prior to the ceremony: • Both parents must be Christ-followers. Peninsula Bible Fellowship views dedication as a commitment to raise your child to follow Jesus, so we believe that both parents should already be in a personal relationship with Jesus in order to guide their child’s spiritual formation. • Peninsula Bible Fellowship is the parents’ home church.
Do I have to have my child dedicated at Peninsula Bible Fellowship in a service or can I do it privately without a PBF pastor present? We see dedication as a commitment your are making before and with your faith community. As such, we would love to have your infant dedicated in a Sunday service in front of the church. However, if you would prefer to do a special dedication service on your own with your family and friends, you are welcome to do so.
Can we invite friends and family to the ceremony? Absolutely! As this is a commitment on the part of parents AND their faith community, we encourage friends and family to attend.
How do I sign up to participate? Please complete the Infant Dedication Registration online. Submit the registration online, along with emailing a current, high quality picture of your child to firstname.lastname@example.org, or print out a photo and bring it to the church office. Once we receive your information, we will contact you to confirm and provide further instructions.
Logistics Do I and or my child have to dress up? No—you’re welcome to wear anything you like. Some people dress their infant in what’s comfortable that day. Some dress their infant in an heirloom dedication outfit. It’s totally up to you. Where and when will the ceremony be held? You have the option of choosing which service you’d like to have your child dedicated. Dedications take place early on in the service, typically after the first two worship songs. What is the role of the parents? What happens during the dedication? You’ll be invited to stand up front with your infant. There may be other families standing up front at the same service. The pastor will ask the dedicating families a series of questions (see “Commitments” below) at the same time. He’ll then ask the congregation a question. After that he’ll turn to you and ask for the Christian name of your child (full first name is okay, middle name is optional). Parents will hand their child to the pastor to hold. He’ll talk to the child, make the sign of the cross on his/her forehead with oil and pray for him/her ending with “I dedicate you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” If you’d prefer oil isn’t used, let us know. The children’s pastor (or representative) usually stands next to the family up front as a symbol of the commitment the church is making with the family to do our part in helping your child grow to follow Jesus. Will pictures be taken of the dedication? We do not provide a photographer to take photos for you. But you may tell your family and friends ahead of time that they can take photos during the dedication. Encourage your family and friends to sit near the front so they have a good angle for photos.
Commitments (Questions we’ll ask at the dedication of your child)
To Parents: • Do you believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? • Do you rest upon the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ as your only merit of salvation? • Do you covenant together with Christ's church to raise your child to know the Lord Jesus Christ and His way, to nurture and guide them, to instruct them according to the teaching of God's Holy Word, to lead them and guide them until that day that they are able to make a declaration of faith and recognizing that Jesus is their forever friend? Will you?
To the Congregation: • Congregation, having heard these parents' intent to raise their child in the reverence and the admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ, do we as members of Christ's Holy Church covenant together with them that we will love and pray for them, that we will support both them and their family, and join them in helping them to recognize the love God has for them? If so, say we will.
For more info, contact Steve Mercer, Associate Pastor for Children & Families: Email email@example.com or call 360.692.6549.