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Is Parent Commissioning the same as Child Dedication?

Over the past few years, we’ve revamped a milestone moment that has become relatively common in Baptist churches called baby/child dedication. We’ve used terms like Baby Dedication, Child Dedication, and Baby Celebration but none of these adequately described what we were trying to accomplish. We don’t want to “baptize” babies into our fellowship or create opportunities for families to “show off” their children. Our hope is to elevate the important role God has commissioned to parents. 

Every time we host a parent commissioning we desire to communicate three things; the biblical mandate of discipleship, the beginning of a partnership, and the opportunity to lift one another up in prayer. Let me briefly discuss those three things in more detail. 

  • Discipleship begins at home.

One of the central things that was part of God’s creation was the family structure and his intention was that everything that is good and true would be lived out as it has been taught at home. After giving the Israelites all the commands, Moses makes this statement in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 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.”

It’s up to you. Keep these commands at the center of every discussion at your home. Even though every home is different, and some families have more time together than others, almost all parents will have more time spent with their kids than anyone else. If that’s not true in your family, perhaps you should rethink your schedule and make a better effort at prioritizing time with family. But assuming you fall into the majority, you need to leverage that time to talk about things that truly matter. Maybe you have mistakenly believed the lie that discipleship is like every other activity that we outsource. I’m not musical so I’ll pay someone to teach my kid an instrument. I don’t have the time or skill to teach my kid a sport, so I’ll send them to this camp or have them participate on this team. I’m not spiritual so I’ll let the church disciple my kid. We are very blessed with godly people at our church who are faithfully teaching God’s word, but they can’t supplant your role as parent and primary discipler. This may be challenging for you because perhaps you feel inadequate in your own faith or didn’t receive a good example of this in your home growing up. This is where we as the church want to step in.

  • Creating a partnership.

Parenting is difficult and when you add in the important task of discipleship, it can seem overwhelming. One of the main goals we have is to help you through a strategic partnership that can assist you in handling this difficult task. Our parent commissioning is designed to provide you an opportunity to see what that partnership looks like. In short, we have experiences both corporate and familial that are designed to capitalize on specific events throughout childhood and adolescence. Most of these “milestone” events are targeted at specific age groups but a few of these experiences are dependent on the family.

Our parent commissioning falls somewhat into both categories. Most families participate when their children are young, either after birth or after the finalization of an adoption. But this experience is also for any family and any parent who wants to publicly commit to raising their son/daughter in the admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). This event is an opportunity for you and the church to form a partnership that can extend for years to come.

  • Community celebration.

This is the reason why we dedicate time in our worship service to introduce these families.  An aspect of our worship services is celebrating what God has accomplished and what he will accomplish in the life of our church. Commissioning Sunday is an opportunity for our fellowship to join in prayer for our families who are making a covenant to parent their children in the Lord. Part of the responsibility we have as a church is to “bear one another’s burdens and by doing so we fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). We can educate our families about the primary place of discipleship and invite them into a partnership with the church but without the church accepting and understanding this responsibility our families won’t be able to experience the full blessing of being connected in community.

If you are a parent and are interested in being part of our next parent commissioning please let us know by filling out the form here. All parents should plan on attending a class to discuss some of these points in more depth prior to participating in our commissioning service. 

-Pastor Jeff

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