Baby dedications have become just that in many churches. This past Sunday we changed the way that we did dedications. Here are the reasons we did so:
1) To challenge parents to lead in their homes when it comes to matters of faith.
2) To remind the congregation that, as part of the Body of Christ, they have a responsibility to the child being dedicated and to the parents.
3) To provide parents a visual piece (as well as a meaningful moment in time) to serve as a reminder of this spiritual milestone in the life of their child.
Here's what we did......
Parents were expected to take a class. We met with parents for a one hour session and challenged them in the following areas:
1) Their own spiritual lives...you can't model what you don't have.
2) Their marriages (for those who were single, we challenged them to surround their child with Christian mentors). Again, you can't model what you don't have.
3) Defining NOW the type of person they want their baby to be 18 years from now. Now what they want them to DO but who they want them to BE.
Each family was asked to:
1) choose a life verse for their child (the life verse was read by the pastor as the family was introduced and a photo of baby was on the screen).
2) write a letter expressing THEIR COMMITMENT to raising their child in a Christian home. We asked parents to think of specific things they would commit themselves to.
3) provide pictures in digital format for us to use during the ceremony.
EXPERIENCE: Overall, the experience was so very positive. I thought it was so much more meaningful. One of the concerns some had was that if we were doing this only twice a year and with several families at once, it would become a "cattle call" sort of thing. FAR FROM IT! It was powerful and deeply personal to all who were a part. In fact, I had several say they wish they had had this for their babies.
Families were introduced (with the life verse parents had chosen: see description above.
- Families were asked to respond to a series of questions describing their intent.
- A video was shown with pictures and pieces from the commitment letter written by
- A charge to the congregation was made asking specific questions of commitment on their part. Would they intentionally pray for and encourage these parents as their part in the Body of Christ? Not just the normal "will you , say I will" stuff.
- Pastor prayed over each baby and dedicated them.
- Faith Boxes were given: this was, perhaps my favorite part. Each family was given a faith box that will now house the hand written letter of commitment from parents. They will then add to the box over the years with each spiritual milestone that the child passes. These boxes were hand made by a man in our church and were BEAUTIFUL. W e had stamped "My Faith Box Ecc. 12:1" on the top of each one.
- Vases with pearls were also given: figuring the number of weeks the baby had at home until age 18, we placed pearls inside a vase to serve as a visual reminder to
parents that time is limited and valuable. We want them to be intentional with
the time they've been given. It will be gone all too soon.
LMK if you'd like to see any of our documents. I'm posting the video below and a pic of our faith boxes. I was so pleased with how meaningful this approach was, not only to those participating, but to the congregation as well. Worth the work!
How about you? What have you done for Family Dedication Ceremonies that was effective?