Those who desire to dedicate their children or infants do so as an act of consecration of themselves and their children to the glory of God. Dedicating a child or infant is not a waterless baptism. It does not save the child or add one thing to the child's spiritual standing before God. We believe that every child, whether dedicated or not, must at some point, respond to the Gospel, receive Christ, and be baptized for their own faith to receive Christ as Lord and Savior themselves.
Parents who choose to dedicate their children are doing the following:
- They are recognizing that the children are the Lord's, on loan to parents for a time. As Christians, we understand that all we have has been given to us from God. What we have is not ours. It is His. We will answer to Him for how we have managed the gifts He has entrusted to our care. This includes our children. Dedicating children is an act of humble worship, as we acknowledge His complete Lordship over all we are and have.
- Parents who bring their children or infants for dedication come asking for God's blessing on the children's lives. Just as the people brought their children to Jesus so that He might touch them and bless them, we seek His blessing on our children's lives. Dedicating children is an act of prayer, as we ask for His blessing.
- Parents are making a sacred vow to bring the children up in the love and wisdom of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). When parents stand before the Lord and His church to dedicate their children, they are publicly acknowledging the value of their child before the Lord. This value necessitates a commitment to teach the child about the grace of God, to expose the child to the Word of God, and to lead the child to faith in Christ. This is far more than a one-time religious experience. It is more than promising to bring the children to church while they are young. It involves a lifelong commitment to be godly and loving parents who take seriously the eternal soul of their child.
- Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of a child dedication service is the commitment made by the local church. While the responsibility to raise children in the Lord rests squarely on the shoulders of parents, the church, as a community of believers, shares in the responsibility. The congregation pledges to support, encourage and hold parents accountable to their vow to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.