Kids are an important part of life here at the Vineyard! Twice a year we hold a Child Dedication Service, giving parents an opportunity to publicly declare their intention to raise their child(ren) in God’s ways.
This is a Dedication Ceremony that takes place outside of the regular services. It’s a group dedication, so plan on other families taking part in the class and ceremony.
The child dedication orientation class will be held
Thursday, September 14, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
The Child Dedication Celebration will be
Sunday, September 17, at 12:30 pm.
Childcare will be provided, and light refreshments will be served.
To register, please email Cindy West or
stop by the Information Center after a weekend service.
Need some more information? Check out the FAQ:
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF CHILD DEDICATION?
The word “dedicate” means to set aside or commit to a sacred purpose. The dedication means committing a child to God and God’s purposes. In one sense, this is what every Christian parent wants to do, but in another sense, parents can’t actually make this decision on behalf of their children – as much as they might wish to! Each child will one day have to make his or her own personal decision about whether or not to commit himself or herself to God. Parents can guide, teach, pray for, and lead their children, but parents cannot choose a life path for their child. So even though we speak of dedicating the child to the Lord, dedication is really a matter of parents dedicating themselves to the Lord.
Child Dedication is:
A joyful opportunity for parents to acknowledge God’s incredible blessing of children as a gift from God. Psalm 127:3
A formal recognition that the child belongs to God. Psalm 24:1
A public commitment on the part of the parents and body of Christ to teach God’s Word and encourage them in their spiritual development.
WHEN CAN I DEDICATE MY CHILD TO GOD? IS THERE A SPECIFIC AGE?
The Vineyard encourages baby/child dedication for children ages 8 and under. Typically, a child is able to make the decision to follow Christ for themselves around the age of 8, but everyone is different. A pastor is willing to meet with you and offer resources to enable you to have a meaningful conversation to help assess if your child is ready for water baptism.
WHO SHOULD HAVE THEIR CHILD DEDICATED?
If we agree that dedication is primarily parents’ publicly dedicating themselves to raise their children in the nurture and love of the Lord, we’ll agree that these three things should be true of the parents:
- They should be committed Christians. They should have reached a point of believing the Good News – that God invites them to be part of His kingdom, family and mission in this world. They have confidence that Jesus lived and died to pay for their sins and rose from death to give them a new life, that God loves them, and that they can have a growing relationship with God as a free gift of grace. They shouldn’t just be Christian in name – but rather, Christians from the heart, with a sincere personal, committed faith. (If you aren’t sure how to become a committed Christian, please speak with a small group leader or staff member – any of us would be glad to help you take this important step.)
- They should be involved in the church – either as committed members or as people preparing for membership.
- They should take seriously their responsibility to raise their children with a strong spiritual foundation. They should be committed to having their children in church, and even more importantly, to making God a part of their daily lives. There are three beautiful passages that describe this type of parenting, two from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up… Deuteronomy 6:5-7
- In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees, and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “…The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6:4-25
- Parents do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
CAN A SINGLE PARENT PARTICIPATE IN A CHILD DEDICATION?
Yes! Child dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit themselves to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. The decision to dedicate a child is not dependent upon the beliefs of the other parent; however, we encourage single parents to discuss child dedication with the other parent. Ideally, both parents—even if not married—would still commit to the dedication of their child to God. We acknowledge that this is often not possible, and that it takes extra effort for a single parent to raise a child. As a church, The Vineyard is committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
We ask parents who are living together and who are not married to take steps to surrender to God’s plan for their relationship before participating in a child dedication service. Please contact one of the pastors at the church if you have any questions – we’d love to talk with you about your next steps!
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING A CHILD DEDICATION CEREMONY?
During the dedication service, parents express vows before God, their family, and the church, declaring their desire to raise their child in a God-honoring way. Because parents are the key role models for their children, they play a primary role in the dedication service.
Parents will be asked to affirm the following commitments:
- Do you receive this child with gratitude, as God’s gift to you and your family?
- Do you commit to each other as parents, creating a stable environment in which your child can mature? Will you make a covenant to strengthen your marriage relationship?
- Do you commit to be parents of personal faith, recognizing your children are more likely to follow God’s path by the model they first observe in you?
- Do you commit to lead a faith-filled home that honors God in all your relationships and in the choices you make in spiritually growing your family?
- Do you commit to be parents with patience, recognizing that with your inherent strengths and weaknesses, your desire to shape your child is a loving act that will require time, prayer, and God in order to produce in your children what He and you hope for?
The Dedication will include a Pastoral Challenge, Parents Commitment, Prayer of Dedication, and light refreshments for you and your guests.
We encourage you to invite family and close friends who will pray for you and support you as your raise your child.
CAN PARENTS ASSIGN GODPARENTS?
Although the term “godparent” is not used at the Vineyard, we do welcome parents to invite friends and family members committed to supporting them to stand with them during the dedication. The presence of these significant adults symbolizes their commitment to play a supportive role in the child’s spiritual development.
If you have further questions, please contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.