One of the special things that I get to do is baby dedications. There was a time where we did them on one Sunday in May. We would line up 15-25 couples with their children on the stage and say their names... then I would say something, ask a couple questions, then ask the church to committ to support the families and then pray.
It was always meaningful, but it seemed like an "add on." It was not all that personal, although our EC directors at the time ( Karen Schemet and Cathy Wheeler) did their best to make it a special moment.
While on sabbatical a few years ago, I regularly attended a downtown Tulsa church who did baby dedications once or twice a month. It seemd very pastoral, personal and was something that engaged both the family and the church.
So I stole the idea from my friend and started doing them that way. It was a change that I have never regretted.
Whenever a couple or a parent wants dedicate their child, I get together with them and we talk first. We talk about how this is a dedication of the child, but even more importantly it is a dedication of the parent (s) to raise the child to love Jesus. It is about their example. It is about their faith. It is also about their church family. I think that God gives us a church family for a reason. In part it is so that no one feels like they are going through life alone. Parenting can be a difficult and even lonely journey. Church families have a responsibility to support and bless those who are raising children. So I emphasize that with the parents. Then I always get a funny story or two out of the conversation, and we talk logistics and then pray. Then the following Sunday, we have them on stage and we talk and pray together.
I appreciate the efforts that our current EC director ( Amy Bray ) goes to in order to make it a special time for the family. She has a couple photographers who take fun pictures and then it all goes into a keepsake for the family. I get such great comments about this from the families.
A few weeks ago we had a single mom with her little boy up there doing the dedication. I just thought it was an incredible moment because this little boy is so amazing. His mom and grandparents have been through alot, but here they were, committing to raise this little boy to love Jesus. He is a gift from God and I have the feeling that God is going to use him in a special way. The dedication also blessed some others who had been connected to single moms in their families. There was a huge message sent that day. They saw that our church is a church of grace... a church that looks forward to redeem situations in our lives, and a church that truly cares about everyone.
Today, I have met with two families and another one is coming in a few minutes. They all three are totally different families...but with one common thread. They love Christ, love their children and desire the blessing of God and the support of their church family in raising their children.
This is something I always look forward to... It's one of the many good things about the life I live.