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The Southgate Christian Fellowship

SCF What About

 

What about Dedicating babies?

 

"Dedicating babies and children?"

"I thought babies were Baptised or 'Christened'?"

Well, it's true that in some churches this is what happens. In Anglican and Methodist Churches, for instance, babies and children are baptised or 'Christened'. On the other hand, in Baptist Churches, Pentecostal Churches, and Churches like ours, babies and children are dedicated to God and, when they later become Christians, they are baptised in water.

 

A good precedent

There is a very good precedent for this - Jesus.

When Jesus was a baby he was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem and dedicated to God. You can read about this in Luke 2:21-40. Then, just before he began his ministry, he was baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist (see Luke 3:21-22). In Matthew's version of this event (see Matthew 3:13-17) Jesus inferred that he was doing this to set an example for his followers.

 

So, what happens when we bring a child to be dedicated?

Firstly, like a 'Christening', it is an occasion that involves the child's family and family friends, often with a family celebration afterwards. The Dedication usually takes place in a morning service of the church, and we like to involve the child's parent/s in the choice of songs and Bible readings.

 

Then, what does dedication mean?

When we dedicate a child to God we are doing a number of things:

1: They're a gift

We are recognising that every child is a gift from God and we are saying thank you to God for his wonderful gift of life.

In Psalm 127:3 the Psalmist says "children are a gift from God". One translation puts it as "children are an assignment from God".

From this three facts emerge:

a: Children are a gift, not a liability.

b: Children are a gift from God - they belong to him and are his before they arrive in this world.

c: God entrusts them to our care. As parents we are stewards and our task is to lay down, as far as possible, a good physical, psychological and spiritual foundation in their lives.

2: Bring them to Jesus

In saying thank you, we also want to present this young life to Jesus and dedicate them to God, asking God's blessing on his/her life. Throughout his ministry Jesus always welcomed children, taking them in his arms and blessing them. Jesus himself was dedicated to God as a baby in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jewish parents have always dedicated their children and Christians do the same.

3: Our responsibility

The third thing we are doing when we bring a child for dedication is recognising our responsibility as parents and as the church to help this young life grow up to find Jesus for themselves. It says in the Bible: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6). As parents we are raising our children for God. He brought them into the world so that they might grow up knowing and loving him. His purpose for us is that we teach our children who they are, why they are here, and where they are going. This can only be done when we introduce them to a personal knowledge of God through Jesus.

This isn't always easy and so it can be a great encouragement to know that, in the family of the church, there are others who are on the same road ready to help and encourage. This is why, in the service of dedication, the church family join in praying for the child and its family, as a sign of commitment to go on praying and be available for help and support.

 

Dedication is just the beginning and, just as the young Jesus went to the Temple to learn about God, so too our young people need the teaching and love given them in their early lives to equip them to serve and follow Jesus.

If you have children or have contact with families here is a prayer you can pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, I/we thank you for the gift and joy of children. Help us to bring them up in the care of your family. Guide us as we prepare them for life, and help us to show by our own example your love and care, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

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Office Address:

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020 8886 3786