WHAT IS PARENT DEDICATION?
New parents frequently ask us about the process of having their child baptized. We love that engaged parents are seeking what’s best for their kids physically, developmentally and spiritually. However, we do not baptize infants at Westside. Essentially, we believe that baptism is the action a person takes after becoming a Christ Follower. We see this many times in scripture as people believed in Jesus Christ and were subsequently baptized.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 8:13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Acts 18:8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
Acts 19:4-5 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
Because we see baptism as something done after making a clear decision to follow Jesus, we do not baptize infants or young children. Instead, we offer Parent-Child Dedication.
This is a very special and important time, both for the parents as well as the child. It’s a time where parents present themselves, their parenting, and their child to the Lord. Family and/or friends as well as others from the church surround them and together they commit to raising their child under God’s guidance and love.
Although this isn’t a required spiritual practice, we do see where children were dedicated to the Lord in the Bible. In 1 Samuel 1:27-28 we see how Hannah took her son Samuel to the temple to dedicate him to the Lord. As well in Luke 2:21-38 we see Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple to be dedicated.
In the dedication, we’re dedicating several things to the Lord:
We’re dedicating the child to God. Our prayer of dedication is that they will grow in knowledge of God and his son Jesus and that when the child is old enough, they will make a decision to follow Him. This isn’t the salvation of a child or a “necessary spiritual step,” but rather acknowledging that we want God to be in the life of this child.
We’re dedicating the parents to God. God has entrusted the parents to spiritually train this child. The church is here to help, but ultimately the responsibility is on the parents. So we pray to dedicate Mom and Dad’s efforts of creating a safe and healthy environment where a child can learn about God and grow in relationship with Him. So, in this dedication, Mom and Dad commit to do everything within their ability to point their children to God and help them follow Him.
We’re dedicating the friends and family to God. Children are rarely influenced by the parents alone. Family and family friends have a significant influence. It is the responsibility of family and friends to hold parents accountable and encourage parents in both their marriage relationship and efforts to spiritually train their children.