Most Christian churches have ceremonies for babies born to families in the church. Ceremonies fall into the categories of baptisms, christenings (which includes baptism), and baby dedications. At RBC we do baby dedications. The purpose of the ceremony is to dedicate the child to God, welcome the baby into the church, offer the parents an opportunity to commit themselves to raising the child as a follower of Christ, and encourage the church to support and pray for the family. Since RBC believes that baptism is an ordinance reserved for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, we do not include baptism as part of the dedication ceremony. You can learn more about baptism by listening to this sermon.
Baby dedications are not commanded by Jesus and the Apostles and, therefore, not to be confused or put on par with the two ordinances of the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Nevertheless, baby dedications may be inferred from certain passages in Scripture. For example, in the Old Testament, Hannah prays for her child, Samuel, and dedicates him to the Lord (1 Sam. 1:11, 28). In the New Testament, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to “present” Him to the Lord (Luke 2:22).
At RBC, baby dedications are performed during a Sunday worship service. They are about 5-7 minutes. The ceremony typically includes a Scripture reading, an opportunity for the parent(s) to share their commitment to raising the child in the gospel, words to the family as well as the congregation about the importance of loving our children with the love of Jesus, and prayer. As a church, we do this with the understanding that ceremonies may serve as pointers to the person and work of Jesus Christ, but never as a substitute for individual faith. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10).
- Is church membership a requirement for a baby dedication? Membership is not a requirement. In addition to identifying as a follower of Jesus Christ, we do ask that at least one of the parents is a regular attender at RBC since, in the dedication, the family is stating that they are partnering with the church to raise the child in the gospel.
- Is there a way to involve other family members such as grandparents? Yes. Other family members are welcome to join the ceremony.
- Is there a way to include godparents in the ceremony? Godparents are typically associated with Christian denominations that practice infant baptism. Since Baptist churches practice believer’s baptism, RBC does not require or have a formalized role for godparents. Nevertheless, if a family wants to include individuals who serve in a special role of encouraging the child in his or her walk with God, we are glad to include them in the service.
- How old does my child need to be to take part in the dedication ceremony? RBC does not set an age requirement for a baby dedication. The average age is six – twelve months.
- How may I schedule a baby dedication? For more information or to schedule a dedication, contact the pastor: firstname.lastname@example.org