Baby Dedication…every church has some form of it. Here at our church we did it for years in autopilot. We liked it. We enjoyed seeing families on stage. We prayed over babies and it was a special time but we never slowed down long enough to move beyond cute. I am pro baby dedication but I wonder what might happen if you slow down for a few minutes and rethink what you do in this special time in the life of a family.
Two years ago we began to rethink what we did with baby dedication. We purchased a resources from Orange called Baby Dedication Celebration and we formatted a new process that would help our church invest in families. We even changed the name to Parent Dedication because in reality we are strategically asking parents to make commitments and dream about the future they desire for their child.
Here are a few steps we have made to make our version of baby dedication help parents think intentionally about how they will parent and how they can partner with our church…
- We developed a clear system // we made sure when parents asked to have their child dedicated we had clear and easy next steps for them to take. If parents don’t have clear direction for HOW to be a part of this process they will miss the message you want them to get!
- We made it a big party // we put a ton of effort into making the Parent Dedication day a very special day. We want to communicate that this is a big deal to us and we go all out to make it a fun party. Everyone likes a good party! This also means we took this dedication time out of our adult services so we could give it the attention it needs! This is a different service just for families and we do it on Sundays so families can be there!
- We raised the bar for parents // we give the parents steps to take before the dedication. We have three talks we want every parent to hear before they make this commitment.
- We assigned important homework // we ask parents to come to dedication with some homework they have spent time on. Every parent shares an “imagine the end” statement they have written for their child. This is a chance for parents to actually write down where they hope their child will end up when they leave home in 18 years!
- We give parents resources (and a cool gift) // we give every family a cool monogrammed baby bag from our church at the dedication service. We also give them a parenting book to help continue the parenting journey and enforce the idea of partnership.
These are five steps that helped us take Parent Dedication to another level. We leaned on the Baby Dedication Celebration material from Orange to help us created an experience to best fit our church. I hope you will take time this week to rethink baby dedication in your setting.