What is a Baby Dedication?
Baby dedication is primarily a public declaration of responsibility by YOU, the baby’s parents, involving desire and gratitude. You are showing gratitude to God for the gift of a child and for all hopes and possibilities this gift embodies. You are also expressing your desire for the well being of the child in the years to come that he or she will prosper physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As parents, you take responsibility of working to make these things happen. The act of dedication is no magic ceremony, which insures the happiness of the participants. It is instead, more like the signing of a contract. Parents, you declare before God, and His people, that you will do all within your power to be the best possible parents for your child. In addition, you ask God for strength and wisdom to carry out the task.
In this regard, “baby dedication” is a misleading name. The real dedication is of you, the parents, to whom God has entrusted the child. If you are sincere and faithful in carrying out your responsibility, your baby will prosper (Proverbs 22:6). If you are not sincere, no matter how beautiful the prayer, how solemn the affirmations or how moving the moment, your baby will in no way benefit from this act of dedication. The child is not saved as a result of this ceremony. He or she must decide later whether or not to walk with the Lord. The ceremony is of benefit for the child only to the degree that you as parents fulfill your promise and demonstrate the love and grace of God in your actions and words at home as your baby grows.
If you are unfamiliar with this way of understanding baby dedication, I want to make clear the differences between this kind of ceremony and rite of infant baptism as practiced by many churches.
- Infant baptism is intended to secure the salvation of your child. Churches that practice this rite believe that infants are born sinners and are worthy of God’s judgment simply because they are born, descendants of Adam. They believe that an un-baptized infant will go to hell should he or she die! To counteract the child’s sinfulness, infant baptism offers the grace needed to save the child.
- Baby dedication is not a baptism to save your child. Our understanding of scripture is that people are not condemned to hell simply because they are born. Each person chooses wrongly for himself and encounters the judgment of God – but you have to be old enough to these wrong choices. Infants do not and cannot make these choices. The real concern is helping children make the right choices as they grow, choices for God and His grace. This happens most easily through the influence of godly parents – parents who dedicate themselves to a responsible, faithful lifestyle, and to dedicate children to the keeping grace of God.
If you are willing to bring your child to God in this way, and dedicate yourselves to Him in the process, here is how it works at Harbor Light...
- Complete the Baby Dedication Form. We have an electronic version or we have a form you can download. You may use your computer to fill in the downloaded form, save it on your computer, then send it as attachment to Otila@harborlight.com
- Complete the Parent’s Covenant.
- Send an electronic picture of your child. We will use this picture up on the large screen with your child's full name.
- Return these completed forms to the church office as soon as possible.
- Your application will be presented to the Pastoral Staff at their next meeting. All concerns will be addressed during this meeting and a decision will be made concerning your request.
- You will be contacted by our Nursery Coordinator that same week.
- When approved, your place will be reserved in the next baby dedication.
- We require you to attend a Baby Dedication class the week before your dedication. The Nursery Coordinator will coordinate this with you when she calls.
Thank you for considering this important step. I hope we have answered your questions. If you have further questions, please call our Nursery Coordinator at 510-744-2282.
Pastor Brent Way
Harbor Light Assembly of God