Being a parent is no easy task. It’s one of the greatest joys in life, but so often, you feel that nagging twinge in your gut that makes you wonder, “Am I doing this whole parenting thing right?” There’s good news for you—you don’t have to parent alone. That’s actually where child dedication comes in. You get to stand in front of your church family and commit to raising your child according to biblical teachings. But the best part? You’re committing to do it with your church family.
As a parent, you’re the most important influence in your child’s life. But you’re not the only influence your child needs.
Child dedication is an opportunity for you to meet other parents and trusted leaders who will join you in the parenting trenches and speak truth over your kids. We know that, as a parent, you are the most important influence in your child’s life. But you’re not the only influence your child needs. And that can relieve a lot of the parenting pressure because you get to partner with people who will love and lead your child well.
When you dedicate your child, you’re deciding that you’ll raise your kids knowing who Jesus is. And this matters because your kids won’t become fully devoted followers of Christ by accident. We’ve got to lead our kids on purpose. Check out what Deuteronomy 6:4-7 NIV says about this:
Hear, O Israel: The Lᴏʀᴅ our God, the Lᴏʀᴅ is one. Love the Lᴏʀᴅ 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 on 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.
We love God with everything in us, and we model that for our kids because we know that our example is far more powerful than our words. We teach our kids what it looks like to follow Jesus. And we talk about it and think about it often. Leading kids to become fully devoted followers of Christ isn’t a checkbox on a parenting to-do list. It’s an intentional, ongoing conversation that shapes who they are now and who they become later.
Still have some questions about what child dedication is all about? Here’s some answers to common questions about what it means to dedicate your child:
1. It’s not baptism nor a sign of salvation. Child dedication is a great step for your family, but it’s certainly not the same thing as salvation nor baptism. Salvation is what happens when your child decides to start a relationship with God, and baptism is when they decide to go public with their faith. Child dedication is less about your child’s choice now and more about setting them up for those choices later. When you dedicate your child, you’re committing to raise them in an environment where they hear about Jesus and have an opportunity to accept Him.
2. What’s the big deal about child dedication? Child dedications are a spiritually significant milestone for your whole family. When you dedicate your child, you’re choosing to make some parenting decisions that honor God, like getting in community through a LifeGroup, modeling what it looks like to be planted in the church through serving, and showing your kids an example of what an irrationally generous life looks like. And while it sounds like you’ve got more things to do, you’re actually lightening the load because you’re committing to do these things in partnership with the church.
3. When can you dedicate your child? That’s your decision. You can dedicate your child whether they’re three days old or 13 years old. The age doesn’t matter as much as the principle. Child dedication is an important step in your family’s faith life because it’s setting a foundation that your family will be known for following Christ. So, consider choosing a family verse, picking family values, or finding community that will help you grow in these values and become the people God has called you to be.
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