Dedication Service
for Infants and Parents
adapted from p.151-152 of   For All Who Minister,
©1993, Brethren Press, Elgin, IL,
attributed to Norlyn Davis-Driver.

     

    Will the parents of _______________ bring their child forward?

            The ______ family has been blessed by God with the gift of a child. As with many of Godís gifts, a new life brings both responsibility and joy. Our children are not our possessions. They belong to God, who entrusts them into our hands for just a little while, to help them grow. ________ come today, sharing their joy and recognizing their need for support from this family of faith.

            Letís listen to the Gospel of Mark:

         "People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ĎLet the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter itAnd he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them" (Mark 10:13-16).

            These actions and words of Jesus tell us something about Godís desire for the reception of children into the family of faith. In the Church of the Brethren, our understanding of the gospel and our tradition have led us to wait for baptism until children are able to make a decision for themselves to follow Christ. We see that Jesus instructed his followers to receive children as a gift of God; he also said that children are an example of the way in which we should come before God in faith.

            Today, in obedience to our understanding of the gospel, we welcome this child as Godís gift to this family of faith. We receive (her/him) with our blessing and we pledge our support to the ___________ family as they seek to provide a loving Christian home for their child.

Vows

(to congregation, as child is taken down the aisle to be seen by all):
            This is ________________. (She/He) was born on (date) and is now (age).

(to parent/s):
            ________________, you have shared in God's creative power, bringing forth this beautiful new life. Will you pledge to support and love _______________ by providing the opportunity for (her/him) to grow up in the family of faith, with the hope that (she/he) will some day confess Christ as (her/his) own Teacher, Lord, and Savior?
                                                                                If so, say "(I/We) will."

            Will you, to the best of your ability and with God's help, provide a loving family environment in which __________ can grow in love, loyalty, and obedience to God?
                                                                                If so, say "(I/We) will."

            Will you encourage __________ to grow in faith, so that (she/he) might later be received into the fellowship of the church by baptism, fully partaking in the work and worship of the church?
                                                                                If so, say "(I/We) will."

(optional, to older sibling):
            ____________, your family has changed since ________ was born. What hasnít changed is your parentís love for you, a love based in Godís love. You, like your (sister/brother) "are precious in Godís sight" (Isaiah 43:4). But, I need to ask you - will you, with Godís help, be the big brother/sister that _________ needs you to be?
                                                                                If so, say "Yes."

(to congregation):
            _______________, have expressed their trust in God and in you, the body of Christ gathered here, by presenting this child for consecration. Will you pledge your support and loving presence in times of ease and difficulty, in times of joy and sorrow, in times of growth and frustration? Will you pledge to be faithful witnesses for Christ in upholding this family and especially this little one, _________?
                                                                                If so, say "We will."

(to the child):
                      (full name)         , you are dedicated to the Lord. May all the resources of home, family, and church nurture you and encourage toward your own decision for Jesus Christ.

Prayer

            God, you have blessed us with wonder, and today we celebrate your gift in this new life. May we, being mindful of your presence at all times, remember what Jesus, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." Make your presence know in the life of ____________ and in the life of (her/his) family. Bless ___________ and the rest of your children gathered here. We pray in the name of Christ, whose love for all your children brings us here. Amen.


For more on our understanding of infant dedication instead of baptism, check out - "Let Them Come to Me."
Other examples of infant dedication services:
Service 1, Service 3, and Advent Service.


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