In the story of Hannah and Samuel (1 Samuel 1:24-28), we see the practice of dedicating the lives of children to serve the Lord. Further, as we see in the other Scriptures, Jewish custom required the presentation of a male infant at the age of eight days before the priest, if possible in the temple in Jerusalem, for the purpose of circumcision and dedication to the Lord (Luke 2:21-40). Christians have adopted the dedication part of that custom, and often like to have their children dedicated publicly to the Lord before the congregation. That is what we do at The Hills.
Baby dedication services should not be confused with infant baptism. A number of churches practice infant baptism feeling it is comparable to the Old Testament covenant of circumcision and some churches treat it as necessary for salvation. Dedication, however, is a blessing for parents to publicly bring their child before the congregation of God’s people to commit themselves to raising their child in accordance with God’s will. At the same time, it affords the congregation the opportunity to under-gird the new parents with prayer and Biblical support in the ensuing years.
Children are a gift from God. We believe that it is a great honor to present God’s precious little ones to Him in prayer. As parents, being part of a loving church family can help you raise your children in the ways of the Lord. It is in this church family that your children will receive love, make friends, grow and even find their purpose.
At The Hills, our baby dedication services are very simple and are usually held before the sermon during the Sunday morning service. We simply have the parents bring the baby up front, then we go before God in prayer, asking His blessings on the child and the parents.
Does this ensure salvation for my baby/child? As Parents we cannot decide our child’s salvation for them. Each individual must make their own decision about their relationship with Christ. When a child becomes old enough to understand the concept of sin and their responsibility for that sin before God, they are then ready to make a decision about salvation. This age of understanding is not a pre-determined age, it is when the child has a true understanding and is able to express that understanding of their faith in Jesus as their Savior, even in a childlike way (Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:14-15, Luke 18:17).
Parents can, however, lay a foundation by their teaching and example that will help a child be ready to make that most important decision.
Is it the same as baptism? This dedication is not a Baptism, and it does not impart salvation to the child. Baby Dedications are viewed as a confirmation between the parents and the church to raise the child in a Godly way until the child is old enough to make his/her decision in accepting Christ as his/her personal Savior. The dedication of Children is taught in the Bible. As a baby, Jesus was dedicated by his parents. Jesus also bestowed blessings on the children. (Mark 10:16)
What age should a child be when dedicated? There is no set age but usually parents decide to have babies dedicated. However, some people may not have been part of a church when their kids were babies and so it was never an option. It's never too late!
What does my baby/child have to wear on that Sunday?
There is no requirement or custom that we adhere to at The Hills. Some families take this opportunity and dress up their child in a nice dress or suit. This is a special day in the life of your child to be remembered (and photographed).
Who should I invite?
Everyone. Especially close friends and family. Grandparents and any other family members will be recognized as vital roles in the life of this child.
How does the actual dedication work?
During the "Meet & Greet" families will come up to the front. It can be just parents and other kids. Grandparents or other influential people in your child's life are also welcome to join you at the front. (Parents will have time to get their kids from the kids classrooms if necessary). Once the Meet/Greet is over, families will remain standing while the congregation is seated. Families will face the pastor. The pastor will read several scriptures about parenting and then provide a few words of admonition. Then she/he will say, "Parents, by coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and your son/daughter to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying - we do." Parents will respond with "We do." She/He will then speak to the congregation and charge them as a community to provide support and prayer. The dedication will conclude with a prayer of blessing. Each family will receive a small gift and then return to their seats.
On the day of dedication, we will meet with the parents 15 minutes before the service in order to explain where everyone will stand and to talk through the dedication time.
If you would like any more information about having your child dedicated, please help us by completing the form below.