St. Matthews Baptist Church rejoices with you in the birth of your child! We are so excited and thankful that God has blessed your home with this wonderful gift. Raising children is a rewarding and awesome privilege and responsibility! Through Scripture parents are commanded to love God; by doing so their child can also learn to love and follow God. Parents’ lives must be an example. While the duty of teaching children belongs to parents, church organizations and worship services can help provide weekly instruction for children. Yet, parents must seize the teachable moments that arise in daily life. Bible stories, prayers, caring for other people, living a godly life are some of the ways parents live out their faith.
We know you want to provide all you can for your child. We want to help you to do that here at St. Matthews Baptist Church. As you grow as a family together, we will grow as a faith family together, too. We will explore together how best to teach your child about God.
Below you will find information that will be helpful in making a commitment to dedicate your child to God. We know that your child is a gift from God and that you have been entrusted by God to love and nurture this child. Will you covenant together with St. Matthews Baptist Church in a special commitment time called a Parent & Child Dedication Service.
Why Have a Parent & Child Dedication?
The joy of Jesus’ birth was shared with many people. Like most Jewish parents in that day, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to be presented to God. Long before this time godly parents presented their children to God. And to this day, parents bring their children to God, asking for his blessing. The arrival of a new baby is a time of rejoicing. The new life brings a special freshness toward all of life. Often parents want to celebrate their joy with other people – their church family – and to present their child to God for blessing.
Our Preschool Hallway has a mural which depicts children coming to Jesus. The Bible says in Mark 10:16 that parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed by Jesus laying his hands on the child and offering a spoken word of blessing. Similar to Jesus’ parents and the parents of children who brought their children to Jesus, parents today bring their children to church – to God – to ask for God’s blessing as well as to commit themselves, with the church family’s assistance, to love and nurture their children in Christian faith.
What is a Parent & Child Dedication Service?
A Parent & Child Dedication service is first a “thanksgiving” service and second a “covenant” service. We thank God for you and for your child! We also covenant together to commit ourselves to God to teach and nurture your child in faith. This Dedication time is a public time of commitment. We each recognize that we are not perfect. We need God’s help in our lives. We need God’s help in parenting. We covenant together to seek God’s help and to do our part in providing love and instruction for your child to grow in God’s love.
The commitment is ours and yours (as parents), not your child’s. Your son or daughter will have that opportunity to commit himself or herself as he or she grows older and is able to personalize their faith in Jesus. While we look forward to that day, we recognize that there is much instruction, nurture, love and life to be lived before your child is able to make that decision for Jesus.
When can we have a Parent & Child Dedication Service?
St. Matthews Baptist Church values the individual commitment time of each Parent & Child Dedication. We schedule Parent & Child Dedications as a part of our 10:30 am Worship Service. We schedule these with parents believing that having individualized dedication services allows for this to be a personal dedication time. This is a time of personal commitment and church commitment for this one child.
Who is involved in a Parent & Child Dedication Service?
A Parent & Child Dedication time is mainly a time for the “Parent & Child”. Several other people will also be involved. Any siblings of the child are invited to be a part of this Dedication Service. Although this is not the siblings’ special day, it is a special day to the family – and they are part of the family. Siblings may stand at the front of the congregation as a part of the Parent & Child Dedication time or they may sit with other extended family members and participate through observation.
Grandparents are to be included in the Parent & Child Dedication Service. Proverbs 17:6 tells us that “Grandchildren are a crown to the aged.” Invite grandparents to attend this service. They will be recognized, prayed for, and encouraged to participate in the spiritual education of your child.
Other guests can also be invited. Do you have family friends, aunts, uncles, other relatives, neighbors, co-workers, etc. with whom you would like to share this special occasion? Invite them!
The extended St. Matthews Baptist Church Family will be included. This is a covenant time between God and parents and the St. Matthews Baptist Church family. We are all in this together! Our Pastor and Minister with Preschool & Kindergarten Families will also partner with you in this Parent & Child Dedication Service.
Are you ready to make this commitment?
As you prepare for the time of Dedication, there are several questions which will assist you in pondering how you can best commit and covenant to be the Christian parents that God desires you to be.
First, the Parent & Child Dedication is a Christian act of covenant with God to teach and nurture children, so the first question to ask is, “Are we Christians?” As parents standing before God dedicating their child to God, the parents’ life needs to show the characteristics of Christ.
The next question is, “Are we serious about this Dedication?” Parents should ask themselves if they truly want to see their child serve God. An act of dedication is an act of faith in God, trusting God to call each child wisely and mercifully.
The third question that is appropriate to ask at the time of Dedication is, “Are we willing to oversee our child’s Christian development?” Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we are to train a child in the way he should go. Dedication of your child to God is a promise to model a Christian lifestyle and to worship with a church family regularly, and a commitment of the parents to be godly role models. Dedication means that you promise to teach your child to live a holy life and to value the good gifts God has given us. You promise to give your child every opportunity and encouragement to develop into the well-rounded Christian individual God intends him or her to be.
St. Matthews Baptist Church will also make a covenant with you. The Church agrees through their role in the Dedication to continue getting to know you and your family. The Church wants to give you prayer support, Bible teaching, and provide opportunities for you and your family to grow in the love and nurture of God.
If you are ready to covenant with God and St. Matthews Baptist Church to help your child grow as Jesus did – in stature and favor with God and others (Luke 2:52) – and if you promise to pray for and with your child, and to teach your child about the Bible and to do everything in your power to help your child to a knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then St. Matthews Baptist Church welcomes the privilege and responsibility of covenanting with you in Parent & Child Dedication.