Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, but it’s no easy task. Often, you feel that nagging feeling in your gut that makes you wonder, “Am I doing this whole parenting thing right?” But, there’s good news! You don’t have to parent alone. That’s where child dedication comes in. You get to stand in front of your church family and commit to raising your child alongside your church family.
Why Child Dedication?
We know that, as a parent, you’re the most important influence in your child’s life. But you’re not the only influence your child needs. That’s where your church family comes in. Child dedication is an opportunity to invite others to develop and influence your child as they grow in their faith. It can relieve a lot of parenting pressure because you get to partner with people who will love and lead your child well.
Your kids begin following Jesus by accident. When you dedicate your child, you are deciding that you’ll raise your kids knowing who Jesus is. 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 live like Jesus 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’re becoming.
3 Common Questions about Child Dedication
1. Do my kids need to be dedicated for them to be Christian?
Child dedication is a great step for your family, but it’s certainly not the same thing as salvation. 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. It’s a great practice, but it is optional.
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 finding trusted relationships through a Life Group, 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 friends that will help you grow in these values and become the people God has called you to be.
Parenting doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Let’s parent together—trusting that with multiple voices and collective influence, our kids will be trained up in the right ways they should go.