At Morning Star, baby and child dedications are a joyful recognition that every child is a gift from God. Dedication is a public commitment you make before God, family, and friends. The dedication service provides you with an opportunity to express publicly your desire to raise your child God’s way, so your child will develop a desire to love God and love others.
Dedications are a powerful time for parents to embrace the responsibility they’ve been given by God and to catch a vision of the impact they can make in their child’s life. Child dedications also provide us with an opportunity to express our commitment as a church to helping families raise God-honoring kids. And we count it an honor to be entrusted with that incredible privilege.
Christian parents are to do all they can to “set apart” their child to God until that child can make his or her own choice regarding a relationship with Jesus Christ. By dedicating a child to the Lord, parents make a vow to raise their child in God’s ways and not their own. They commit themselves to this promise and must do all they can to keep it.
The responsibilities God has entrusted to Christian parents include continuously praying for their children (Job 1:5), instructing them in the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6), setting a godly example (Proverbs 20:7), and disciplining them as the Lord would discipline us (Proverbs 29:15,17; 13:24). These responsibilities can only be fulfilled in Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13).
One key step in marking your desire to nurture your child in the ways of God is to dedicate him or her to God publicly. The biblical basis for dedicating a child is found in 1 Samuel 1:27-28, where a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child. He answered her prayers and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
In Luke chapter 2 of the New Testament, following the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple and dedicated Him. In both Scripture passages, the parents entrusted their child completely to God.
The Bible says that children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). God has given Christian parents the tremendous responsibility of raising their children in the ways of the Lord. He entrusts parents with the responsibility of establishing a foundation built upon Jesus Christ early in the lives of their children.
In view of this responsibility, baby and child dedications are actually family dedications. The entire family needs to be lifted up in prayer so that family members will be empowered to keep their responsibilities.
You do not need to be a member to have your child dedicated. We do encourage parents to make sure they are calling Morning Star their home church. Why? In dedicating your child to God, you are stating that you are willing to partner with God and the church to raise your child in cooperation with God’s intentions. To partner with any church, a parent would be wise to decide if he or she agrees with its beliefs and vision, so they can be all-in in their partnership with the church.
We ask parents to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We ask parents to be sure their beliefs line up with Morning Star’s statements of belief.
We ask parents to be regular attenders of Morning Star’s Sunday services.
We ask parents who are living together and who are not married to take steps to acknowledge and surrender to God’s plan for their relationship before participating in a child dedication service.
During the dedication service, parents express vows before God, their family, and the church, declaring their desire to raise their child in a God-honoring way. Because parents are the key role models for their children, they play a primary role in the dedication service.
Scripture provides evidence that Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48). And the New Testament records the baptisms of adult believers only.
In the Bible, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them, prayed for them, and told us to welcome them. But He did not baptize them and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. We believe Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation, once they have the maturity and ability to understand what that means.
Dedication is not a sacrament; nor does it impart grace or salvation to a child. Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ as each person recognizes their sinfulness and receives forgiveness and eternal life through Christ and His work on the cross.
While we do not have a set age requirement for child dedication, the average age for a child to be dedicated is four to eight months old. However, many parents dedicate children much older than that, often for the following reasons:
The parent(s) are new believers in Christ and their children were not dedicated when they were infants.
The parent(s) are having a younger child dedicated and want to have their older child dedicated at the same time.
Yes! Child dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit themselves to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. The decision to dedicate a child is not dependent upon the beliefs of the ex-spouse; however we encourage single parents to discuss child dedication with their ex-spouse. Ideally, both parents—even if not married—would still commit to the dedication of their child to God. We acknowledge that this is often not possible, and that it takes extra effort for a single parent to raise a child. As a church, we are committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
If you have any questions, email Pastor Jonathan.
© 2018 Morning Star Fellowship