At Otterbein, we encourage parents to dedicate and present their babies to the Lord. Following are answers to some of the most common questions that arise concerning Parent/Baby dedication as well as information to help make the occasion special and meaningful. After reviewing the information, complete and submit the application below. If you have additional questions after reading this information, please contact the church office.
What is the Biblical basis and purpose for dedicating babies to the Lord?
The Bible makes it quite clear that children are very special in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ. In Psalm 127:3 we read, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” In Luke 2 we read that Simeon took Jesus in his arms when He was a child and asked God’s blessing upon Jesus. And in Mark 10:11-13 we read, “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, put his hand on them and blessed them.”
At Otterbein, we believe Parent/Baby dedication is really about three things: 1) It is a way for parents to publicly give thanks to God and acknowledge that their child is a gift from God; 2) It is a public commitment of the parents to raise their child according to teachings in the Bible and do everything they can to help the child grow in his or her understanding of God and help them to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ; and 3) It provides an opportunity for a prayer of blessing to be prayed over the child by the pastor and affirmed by the congregation as they begin their lives on this earth.
Is dedicating a child the same as baptizing a child?
In short, the answer is no. While some churches baptize babies at a very early age as a way of “sealing” them into the Christian faith, we believe the Bible teaches that water baptism is something that should be done after a person makes a personal choice to become a follower of Jesus Christ. As such, we do not use water as part of baby dedications. If you have additional questions about why we do not baptize babies at Otterbein, please speak with one of the pastors.
What happens during the actual ceremony?
During the service, the pastor will ask the parents to bring their children to the front of the church. Following a short scripture reading and some comments, the parents will be asked to answer publicly the following question:
Do you commit yourself to do your best in raising your child according to the principles taught in the Bible and will you do all you can to help your child learn what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus?
Parents will be prompted with the answer, “If so, you will answer, I do” and will answer together in unison. Following the answering of the question, the pastor will take the child in his arms and ask God’s blessing on the child and then pray for the child and the parents.
It is very important that parents consider the question they will be answering before God and the congregation. God expects us to fulfill the commitments we make to Him. If you feel you are unable to answer the question honestly, you should discuss this with the pastor prior to the ceremony.
How old should the child be?
At Otterbein, we encourage parents to have their baby dedicated before their first birthday. We recognize that there may be extenuating circumstances that sometimes make that difficult and as such we will dedicate children up until their second birthday.
When does the church dedicate children?
At Otterbein, we generally have Parent/Baby dedications on Mother’s Day. Parent/Baby dedications are also sometimes done other times. If you are interested in having your child dedicated at a time other than Mother’s Day, please contact the church office.
Should we place the child in the nursery the day of the dedication?
Generally, the dedication will be done within the first half hour of the worship service. In most cases, you should bring the child with you into the worship service until after the dedication.
Should the child be dressed a certain way?
No. You can dress the child in whatever clothes you wish.
What if the child gets fussy?
As you know, babies sometimes get fussy. If that should happen during the dedication service, we will just continue on with the service. If the child does not want to be held by the pastor, he may ask the parents to hold the child instead of taking the child in his arms.
Can other family members participate?
Generally, only the parents of the child and the child participate in the dedication along with the pastor by coming up on the stage. Other siblings, grandparents, and relatives should be encouraged to watch the dedication along with the congregation.
What do I need to do to have my baby dedicated?
We have the following requirements for baby dedications at Otterbein. They include:
- Read all the information above prior to completing and submitting the Baby Dedication Application
- Complete and submit the Baby Dedication Application below. Whenever the next Parent/Baby Dedication is schedule, we will contact you with additional information.
- Attend the special Parent/Baby Dedication Orientation class that will be held prior to the dedication (usually the week before the baby dedication). Information about the class location will be provided to you prior to the class. NOTE: Parents are required to attend this class if you are planning on having your child dedicated at Otterbein.
Who should I talk to if I have additional questions?
If you have additional questions about infant dedications at Otterbein Church, please speak with one of the pastors or contact the church office by email or by phone at 717.762.7147.