1. What is the biblical purpose and history of a child dedication?
The scriptural root of a child dedication is found in 1 Samuel 1:27–28 (NASB), where a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child. He answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words:
"For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord."
In Luke chapter 2 of the New Testament, following the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple and dedicated Him. In both Scripture passages, the parents entrusted their child completely to God.
The writings of Moses found in Deuteronomy 6:5–9 describe God's plan for how a parent should raise up a child:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
One key step in marking your desire to nurture your child in the ways of God is to dedicate him or her to God publically, through a child dedication ceremony.
2. Does Lakeland baptize infants?
Scripture provides evidence that baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48). And the New Testament records the baptisms of adult believers only.
In the Bible, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them, prayed for them, and told us to welcome them. But He did not baptize them and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Lakeland Church believes baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation, once they have the maturity and ability to understand what that means.
Parent/Child Dedication is not a sacrament; nor does it impart grace or salvation to a child. Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ as each person recognizes their sinfulness and receives forgiveness and eternal life through Christ and His work on the cross.
Rather than baptizing infants or children, Lakeland encourages Christian parents to dedicate their children. This is a ceremony in which parents formally call upon God’s blessing for their child and publicly commit to raise him or her in accordance with Scripture.
3. Do I need to be a Lakeland Church member to have my child dedicated at Lakeland?
You do not need to be a member of Lakeland Church to have your child dedicated in a group or public ceremony at Lakeland. However, we do encourage parents to make sure they are calling Lakeland their home church. Why? In dedicating your child to God, you are stating that you are willing to partner with God and the church to raise your child in cooperation with God’s intentions. To partner with any church, a parent would be wise to decide if he or she agrees with its beliefs and mission, so they can be all-in in their partnership with the church.
When you choose to become a member at Lakeland, you are stating that you agree with Lakeland's beliefs and values, and that you want Lakeland to be your home church. For more information on membership, visit the membership page.
To have your child dedicated at Lakeland:
We ask parents to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We ask parents to be sure their beliefs line up with Lakeland's statement of faith.
We ask parents to be regular attenders of Lakeland's Sunday services.
We are open to having conversations with you on any of the above statements. If you are interested, contact Judy Crockett or email email@example.com.
4. Can a single parent participate in a child dedication service?
Absolutely! Child dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit themselves to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. The decision to dedicate a child is not dependent upon the beliefs of the other spouse; however we encourage single parents to discuss child dedication with their spouse. Ideally, both parents—even if not married—would still commit to the dedication of their child to God. We acknowledge that this is often not possible, and that it takes extra effort for a single parent to raise a child. As a church, Lakeland is committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.