As part of Appreciate April, our kids were dedicated during church this weekend! In celebration of this, I'm sharing some ideas to make an infant or family dedication service a memorable event.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. | Deuteronomy 6:5-6From birth, I have been taught love for God--the sort of love that uses heart, soul and strength. It spurred me to want to make that public testimony to dedicate my life to God in front of family and friends. My sister and I took weekly baptismal classes in anticipation of "the big day."
Many baptisms happen as a brief break in a typical church service. I am grateful to my parents for seeing it differently, for seeing it as a distinct expression deserving its own service. It was May in Tennessee, and at the time we were renting a house on a corner of the Tennessee River. Our church was an hour drive away, but many church members and friends made the drive for that special afternoon event.
We sang songs in nature (the flowering trees scattered around the property were in full bloom), and when the time came, my sister and I joined the pastor in that chilly early spring water. Everyone lingered and ate food mom provided, and enjoyed the beauty of God's nature and the glory of that moment when new members are welcomed in to the family of God. When love is proclaimed with heart, soul and strength.
Fast forward thirteen years and the time has come to follow up on verse 7 of Deuteronomy 6.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7I wanted our kids' dedication to be special to mark its importance. A sort of follow-up to my husband's and my baptisms, when we now come with our two blessings from the Lord and return them to Him as Hannah did with Samuel. (1 Samuel 1:19-28) A re-dedication of our own lives, and a re-gifting of our kids. A reminder that even if they are still in our care, they really are in the Lord's care and everything we do for/with/in front of them should be done with heart, soul and strength in love to the Lord.
Family/Baby Dedication: Choosing When and Where
After Samuel's birth, Hannah wasn't ready to give him to the Lord until he was weaned. Her husband, Elkanah, responded, "Do what seems best to you... Only let the Lord establish His word." (1 Sam. 1:23) I don't think the "when" is as important as that it happens.
Hannah waited until Samuel was weaned, because she was physically giving her son away. Usually, that is not the case for us which is why many families choose to dedicate their babies in the first few months. I think it's fine to "do what seems best to you." Just honor it with worshiping the Lord. (vs. 28) Here are some ideas of where...
Home or church baby dedication, as its own special "event"Choose a place (church fellowship hall or community center, park, or your own home or yard) and invite those people that are close or special to your family or kids. Make it a special worship service with songs and a devotional talk, or make it a picnic or potluck to follow the dedication.
Church baby dedication, after the regular serviceIf you're part of a very large congregation and want to have a more intimate gathering of people, have the pastor meet your family and select close people you invite meet at the front of the church for a special dedication prayer.
Church baby dedication, during the regular serviceTo make it more special there are poems or special texts that can be chosen and read, or a chosen song. One family did a slide show of special photos that played during the few minutes the family was in front for the dedication. Or keep it simple and traditional however your church normally does it, then follow it up with a special celebration afterward.
Ideas for Planning a Baby Dedication Celebration
Once you decide when and where, make it a celebration. Either during the dedication, or for a special meal or gathering afterward, here are those "party" elements that might help make it more festive.
*Affiliate links used; see full note below.
Hang a banner and balloons.Some fun banner ideas include: an ivory and gold tassel garland, a white die cut lace pennant banner, a basic fabric bunting, a string of gold glitter hearts, a "Jesus loves me" banner, or a create-your-own banner that comes with a variety of silver letters. Of course you could make your own. Or even just make a fun sign that says something along the lines of "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind" or "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord" or "Train up a Child" or "We love Jesus!" It doesn't matter as much which banner you choose, especially with toddlers or kids involved, a banner and some balloons are a perfect way to say, "This is a moment worth celebrating!" And absolutely I want my kids to think of every moment with Christ to be one worth celebrating.
Make a special treat.A cake or cupcakes or decorated cookies. We aren't vegan, but our favorite cupcake recipes come from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Sweet treats are a special addition to any celebration. And fruit or healthier options are just as celebratory :)
Write dedication letters to the kids.As part of a keepsake, mom and dad can write a special vow or prayer or letter of some sort to the kid(s).
Have family and friends write their support.Do you have a wedding guest book that is less than a quarter used? What about using the latter pages as a dedication service guest book? Or get a guest book specifically for this event, like a simple white leather guest book or an illustrated nature guest book; both have dedicated space for guests to write their names and write a short message to the child/family. You could also provide special scrapbook paper or cards for guests to write their words of encouragement and support for both the dedicated kids and parents, then add them to a baby book or photo album. Or gift the kids a Bible or other special book and include pages in the front and back for signing. Our church (the one I was baptized into) circulated personal-sized hymnals for church members to sign and give as birthday gifts. Such a fun and personal and useful gift that I still have.
Choose special baby dedication outfits.We spend hundreds of dollars to wear our wedding garments once, why not put a little effort into choosing a designated outfit for this special dedication service? Which of course can be worn multiple times after. Girls could wear a princess-like dress, and boys could wear a bow-tie and suspenders. You could stick with traditional white, but it doesn't have to be. Just choose it with this specific event in mind.
Take photos.Make arrangements for someone to take photos of the dedication service/celebration. (Thanks to my dad and a friend for taking pictures for us.) You could also arrange a photo shoot with the children wearing their special dedication outfits before or after. The photos can then be scrap-booked or displayed with a special Bible text, song, prayer or letter associated with the dedication, or simply kept as a reminder of committing their care to God. Or you can use them to create your own birth announcement; learn how >> here.
Give an offering.Once Samuel was weaned, Hannah and Elkanah brought a sacrifice and their son to Eli as part of the yearly sacrifice and vow (see 1 Samuel 1:23-25). Even if we don't currently make yearly sacrifices and vows, a dedication ceremony is the perfect opportunity to do something similar. Choose a special offering amount to give to the church or a special mission project, or do a fast and prayer time in your personal life to honor this commitment.
Give the kids a gift.Gift your child a children's Bible that's age-appropriate for current use; a scripture lullaby CD; Bible felts for a church quiet bag; or a special story book with heartfelt words and beautiful illustrations like I Prayed for You, God Gave Us You, or When God Made You. If family or friends ask about gifts, be ready with similar fun Christian-based suggestions that might be useful for your family's devotional life, or choose a charity that can receive a donation in your child's name.
However you choose to make the day special, be present in the moment. There will be hard days ahead, but knowing Who your kids really belong to and Whose child you are can make all the difference.
new? start here...
design your birth announcement
create a family purpose statement
family worship rhythms
monthly dose of simple
*Note: Affiliate links used in this post. Purchases through these links could earn me a small commission with no extra cost to you. Thank you!