On Sunday, June 1st, as part of our Sunday morning worship gathering, Sojourn Church will be having a "child dedication." So what exactly is the purpose of a child dedication? Below is a brief answer to this important question.
First, having your child participate in a dedication service does NOT make your child a Christian. No, the only way for your child to become a Christian is the same way that all other people become a Christian - repentance of sin and faith in the finished work of Jesus. Though you, as a Christian parent, long for your children to one day turn away from the natural sinfulness of their heart and place their faith in the finished work of Jesus, participating in a child dedication service does not accomplish this.
So what exactly is the point of a child dedication, then? Below are three things that Sojourn Church believes are accomplished through a child dedication service.
1. It is a commitment from Christian parents to raise their children in a Jesus-centered environment - When parents participate in the dedication service, they are saying through their actions that they are committed to pointing their children to Jesus. They are saying that they want to teach their children to love and honor Jesus with every aspect of their lives, and they are saying to the church that they will intentionally seek to point their children to Jesus through example, correction, and instruction.
2. It is a commitment from Christian parents to partner with the local church - Not only is child dedication a commitment from parents to seek to point their children to Jesus through their home life, but it is also an acknowledgement from parents before the church that they need the community of believers to help them in this journey called parenting. By participating in child dedication at Sojourn, parents are acknowledging that they want help and desire to partner with the church to ensure that their children are regularly exposed to the gospel and taught, through example and instruction, what it means to follow Jesus in everyday life.
3. It is a commitment from the community of believers (Sojourn Church, in this case) to partner with the parents and help them in the the sometimes difficult journey of parenting - The church is as much a participant in the child dedication as the parents and their children. The church is covenanting with parents to pray for these children, love these children, and help the parents shepherd their children in a way that points them to Jesus.
In summary, it should be clear that child dedication is more about the parents and the local church then it is about the children. Through child dedication, parents are covenanting with the church to point their children to Jesus, and the church is committing to help these parents in their parenting journey.