Baby Dedication Service – Some Ideas For The Ceremony

On mother’s day, our church had a Baby Dedication Service. Many churches dedicate infants and babies because of tradition rather than theology. We want our families to have a Christian vision for their children. We want them to see parenting as a divine responsibility. We believe every child is a gift from God.

Pastor David Michael at Bethlehem Baptist Church has given us some great ideas for baby dedication. David and his wife Sally are behind the Children’s Desiring God curriculum. Their approach to baby dedication emphasizes parental promises and includes a mandatory parenting class. So before the ceremony, parents are challenged to have a God-centered vision for their children. Here is what we are planning at our church:

  1. I invited parents to meet with me about baby dedication. These are families from our church that have added new children since last year. I take the initiative to contact them.
  2. We have arranged a training meeting several weeks before the dedication. We will use this as a teaching time to explain the dedication service and reinforce a biblical vision for Christian parenting. We discuss specific scriptures about parenting. We invite them to define their vision for their children. We challenge them to dedicate themselves as parents to raising God-centered children.
  3. At the dedication service the parents stand before the congregation with their children and are asked the following questions:
    • Do you today recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God’s blessing?
    • Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you all, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?
    • Do you pledge as parents that, with God’s fatherly help, you will bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the Word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?
    • Do you promise to provide, through God’s blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children, looking to your own heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?
    • Do you promise, God helping you, to make it your regular prayer that, by God’s grace, your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?
  4. The congregation will have these same promises as a bulletin insert. We want this time to reinforce a biblical vision of parenting for the whole congregation. We invite parents to silently re-commit to being intentionally Christian in their parenting.
  5. After the parents have affirmed the promises the senior pastor will pray this prayer of dedication: (child’s name), together with your parents, who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claims upon your life, in the hope that you will belong wholly to God for ever .
  6. After the ceremony, each child will receive a gift. We usually give them a Children’s Bible. They also receive a certificate. We have discussed writing a pastoral letter to the child.

We are careful to make this a time of commitment and prayer. I think the approach I’ve described removes the “sacramental” feel that accompanies infant baptism (which we cannot practice in clear conscience). What are your thoughts? Does your church have a similar process? Leave a comment and let me know. We are always eager to learn.


Comments

  1. Hiram Eaves says

    Thank you for the ideas of the service in the Baby Dedication. I believe you are correct in not baptiizing the babies. This is to come when they recieve Jesus as their Savior. God Bless you and your ministry.

  2. Mike Baber says

    Thank you very much. Really. You made our service to the parents and the service for our church congregation very meaningful. Thanks for the printable certificate as well. One request is about a certificate that says ‘Child’ instead of ‘Baby’. Last week was a dedication for a 8 month old and his three year old sister. I am very grateful for the pdf you provided free of charge. A couple of years ago I had to manufacture one on my own. It was good but yours is much nicer. God bless you and your ministry. Pastor Mike Baber, Chugwater Valley Church, Chugwater, Wyoming

  3. Chaplain Klugh says

    My daughter and son in-law invited me to dedicate my newest grandson to the Lord this coming Sunday. As a Chaplain I spend the majority of my ministry with the elderly. With delight I accepted this wonderful opportunity to be the one who will dedicate little Russell in the House of God. Thank you for making your resources available. For they help me to prepare my heart and mind as this Sunday approaches. God Bless You.

  4. William says

    I also thank you for your information. My question is, is there an age limit or should it be just for new borns? Thank you.

  5. Ray Lansbery says

    My grandaugher asked if I would dedicate her new born baby girl,
    (my great grandaughter) to God. I humbly accepted, that I would be asked to conduct such a service for my new great grandaughter. I am an elder for my Lord and Savior for many years, but I have
    never participated in a Dedication Service. Your website has helped me tremendously and I praise God that you have provided such information and guidance for public use. May God continue to bless you and your organization. Thank you.

  6. Beth says

    I have the honor of conducting my 1 year old granddaughters dedication the end of April. I would like to include her 2 year old sister also. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to address the older sister and include her? I don’t want her to feel left out. Any thought or suggestions would be great!

  7. says

    This is very helpful we are a new church and this is our first dedication, we have been opened six months. Thanks and God Bless

  8. Kathy says

    What about for grandparents,, my daughter and her husband do not go to church, my daughter was saved at one time but does not pratice her faith,, so my husband and I want to have our new grand daughter dedicated,, any sugestions on that,,

    Thanks
    Kathy

  9. Alicia says

    I’m looking for a life verse for my daughter. She’s getting dedicated to God in two weeks. We found one for my son, but I’m having trouble finding a good one for my daughter. Thanks for the help!

  10. Susan Sarmiento says

    My daughter will be turning 18 this July and my husband and want to celebrate her debut but we want it to be purposeful.
    Can you suggest how we can include the word of God so we can share it with non believers.
    Thank you

  11. Richard says

    I failed to mention that Christian Artist – Linda Paige-Tolis at Paige-TolisDesigns.com also personalizes these baby dedication certificates for Pastors, Churches and families. She has several other certificates honoring special events in the life of any child, with specialty items for Christian babies and children. I have never seen anything like it…her work and devotion to families is truly remarkable.

  12. says

    Mindy – You might check with your pastor to see who/what they can do in the service itself. I think it’s a great idea to follow the service with a party. Celebrating the gift of children is always a good idea.

  13. mindy says

    my 2 children will be dedicated in february. I was wondering is it okay to hold a celebration /party after. I feel this is something to celebrate. My children are very important to me it will be a special day for my family is it okay to have god parents or people to stand with saying they will help guide the children as well.. thanks

  14. Pam says

    Thank you for your article.I would like to ask your permission to share this with my pastor? I am praying to have a parent commitment ceremony on my 8 year old’s birthday which falls on a sunday. The reason why it is only this time that she’s bigger that we are “dedicating” her is bec. we want her to be able to understand and see for herself that we’ve made this commitment to the Lord.

  15. Joe B. says

    I think you have a great idea of having a class for the parents and or family. I feel this is more of a commitment for parents and the kids instead of a drive-by prayer for them. God Bless You and Your ministry.

  16. Stacy Butler says

    Our church [small - 250??] does baby dedications individually, whenever a parent wishes to make that proclaimation in front of our church family. We, as parents, get to tailor it to include verses, songs, or a testimony. It is a special time. :D

  17. says

    Josh,
    Thanks for your encouragement and the great idea. We have a letter from our former church waiting for my daughter to open when she becomes an adult. I can see this would be a great Gospel-Driven tradition.

  18. Pastor Joshua McKinney says

    Great Web site!!! One thing I do in a baby dedication is write the child a letter to be opened on his/her 18th birthday. I tell a little bit about how I come to know their family, and I share the plan of salvation. This has proven to be a special practice.

  19. says

    Richard,
    That sounds like a great idea. I think a special gift would mean more to most parents than just a standard gift Bible. Thanks for the recommendation.

  20. Richard says

    Our church does these periodically throughout the year and present personalized baby dedication certificates that we get from paige-tolisdesigns.com. The Christian artist is Linda Paige-Tolis.

    The certificates are really beautiful and they enable us parents to display our commitment as a reminder for all involved. We love ours.

  21. says

    Doug,
    I tend to agree with you about mother’s day. We will have to check into that next year. Thanks for the comments. I just found them in my moderation box. Your approved now – so there should be no delay moving forward.

  22. says

    I like your new blog …

    I too have benefitted from David Michael’s ideas on baby dedication. The one thing I would humbly submit to you is to move the baby dedication date away from Mother’s Day. Many women find this day to be pretty painful (with past experiences of losing a baby, not being able to have one, etc.).

  23. says

    Thanks for leaving your comment. I understand baby dedication as an optional practice. There is scriptural warrant, but it does not rise to the level of Gospel ordinance like preaching, prayer, baptism and Lord’s supper. I don’t see why you need to choose between a public time of prayer at church and a private time of prayer with your family. Having extra prayer will not hurt your child :)

    Let me know if this helps. May God bless you and your family.

  24. Chie says

    I am going to dedicate my baby in our church and our church does the same way as how you described it. The pastor pray for the baby in front of the congregation. It’s not that intimate though since the church does it will a couple of other babies and parents. Sometimes, more than a dozen.

    I was wondering, is it okay to have a baby dedication not in my church (since our church is really really big) and do it just within our families & friends? If that’s the case, would that be okay if our uncle (who’s a pastor also of a small church) conduct the dedication? I also want to have chosen close friends to be “sponsors” (they are like Godmother/Godfather in catholic) as accountability group who commits to help us parents in raising the child.
    What do you think of this? This is what we do as Christians in the Philippines where I grew up and is it okay to include that part of our culture?

    Thanks…sorry for the long comment and so many questions.

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