One of the most memorable times in a Christian parent’s life is the dedication of their baby. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone’s first child or their tenth, the days leading up to this special ceremony is filled with joy and excitement.
If you are celebrating a child’s dedication, there are a few things you should know! Since each family and church is unique, there are many different traditions for dedicating a baby. Whether you are the parents, godparents, or a guest it is so important to discuss the ins and outs of baby dedication etiquette!
- What is a Baby Dedication?
- Baby Dedication Etiquette
- Dedication Party Etiquette
- Do You Give Gifts?
- Prayers for Baby Dedication
- Bible Verses For a Baby Dedication
What is a Baby Dedication?
Traditionally, in protestant denominations, baby dedication is done before the church body wherever the family attends. That means that the mom, dad, and immediate family members take their sweet little one before the church body for dedication. Normally, the pastor and church join in prayer for the baby. This is essentially a public declaration that the parent’s commit to raising their baby in accordance with God’s Word. The church agrees to come alongside them and support them in raising the child to know and love the Lord. It is a common agreement that it’s both the parents and the church’s responsibility to pour Truth into the child’s heart.
Baby dedication is changing some in more modern churches. Parent commissioning services are replacing baby dedication. Parent commissioning is basically taking the responsibility off of the church and putting it mainly on the parents. It is the church praying for the parents and sending them into the world of parenthood as missionaries. Since it is not the job of the church to raise our children, this seems like a more Biblical approach. Nevertheless, baby dedication and parent commissioning are very similar – both are for the purpose of praying that the Lord works in the heart of your child as they get older.
In non-protestant circles, baby dedication may also include some sort of sprinkling or anointing the baby with oil.
Is Baby Dedication The Same As Salvation?
Baby dedication or parent commissioning is not the same thing as salvation. It is a promise that the parents will teach their child about God’s Word and pray for them to one day come to know Him. The prayer of Christian parents is that God calls our children to repentance and salvation in Christ as they get older. We are simply committing to lay the foundation for their faith journey.
Baby Dedication Etiquette
What Age Do You Dedicate a Baby?
There is no set age to dedicate a baby to the Lord. Often, you will see parents bring their newborns before the church for dedication. However, we don’t see the term baby dedication in the Bible, so we don’t have a set Biblical mandate on when to dedicate. Since this is something that we have come up with as a milestone or tradition in a child’s life, it is up to the parents as to when they will dedicate their baby.
For instance, a couple may come to know Christ when their child is in preschool. It makes perfect sense for them to choose to dedicate their child to the Lord at that point in life. Just this year, I heard of a couple adopting a four-year-old from China. When they brought him home, they went before the church at a parent commissioning service.
So, there is really no set age for dedication. Baby dedication is a choice that a parent makes to commit to raising their child to know Christ’s principles, until them hopefully one day come to actually know Christ. The right time is whenever the parent feels led to make that commitment. It is a big commitment, but it is one that can change the course of a child’s eternity.
Do You Have Godparents For a Baby Dedication?
Beside immediate family members, many parents choose to have godparents at the dedication as well! It’s not as common, as it used to be, for parents to have godparents. Recently more and more families are choosing not to include them. But they definitely aren’t a thing of the past!
A godparent is simply someone who agrees to join arms with you in teaching your child about Christ. They can be family members or simply close friends. Think of all the godly couples that you know and trust. You want to choose people who will link arms and support you in raising your child in a godly home. They will be committed and invested in the life of your baby.
Questions to Ask When Choosing Godparents
Sit down with your spouse and consider these questions:
- Who has made a difference in your own faith journey?
- Who do you want to hold you accountable in raising your child in a Biblically based home?
- Who is going to come alongside you and lift you up in prayer?
- Who is going to speak truth into your heart about godly parenting as your child’s strong-will grows?
- Who do you trust with the life of your child?
Now write down the name(s) that came to mind. Begin praying about whether God would have them be your baby’s godparent. Whenever you feel led, approach them and ask them to consider praying about joining hands with you in your child’s faith journey.
Do You Give Them a Gift?
There is no set answer for whether or not you get godparents a gift. This is completely up to the actual parents. If you do choose to get them a gift, pick something that helps them remember the commitment that they made.
Here are a few ideas for godparent gifts:
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Dedication Party Etiquette
Do you have a party?
It is not required or expected to have a party after a baby dedication. But more and more parents are choosing to throw one, since all their friends and family have come to celebrate.
You can keep it small with even just coffee and finger foods, is great idea! However, having a party is a wonderful way to get your family involved in celebrating the decision you have made to raise your child in a godly home. It’s honestly a great excuse to have a party!
There are so many cute baby dedication invites on Etsy. Just a quick search and you can find almost anything to match the theme you pick. There are also invites that are meant for both a baby dedication and first birthday party – what a great idea!
When should you send them out?: Give your guests at least three weeks notice! You want to give your guests enough time to put the dedication and the party on their calendar
Include an RSVP: It is helpful if you add an RSVP date on the invite, so you can properly plan for the get together.
Letting Guests Know About Gifts: I encourage you to write on the invitation whether or not gifts are expected. This is a great way to take some of the pressure off of guests. It is no fun going to a party not knowing if you are supposed to bring a gift or not.
Cake is always a good idea. Here are a few great cake ideas!
1. Cupcake Cross
A cupcake cross is so adaptable to any theme. This DIY video above makes 20 cupcakes and put them into a cross shape. This is such a cost effective way to have a cake. The perks of using cupcakes is that it is so easy to serve… and everyone gets an equal amount!
2. Bible Verse or Picture Cake
Head to your local bakery and they can easily make a cake with a Bible verse or your child’s picture. Not sure what verse to choose? We will list some Bible verses for baby dedication later on in this article.
Decorations & Theme
This is where it gets fun! Etsy is always going to be your best friend with things like this. You can really take any theme that is used for a baby shower and use it for the dedication party.
Here are a few ideas from an earlier article on planning a baby shower. Check out the original article for a more in-depth description of each idea.
This theme is based off of Psalm 127:4-5 and completely centered around tribal decorations.
“As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…” Psalm 127:4-5
2. Salt & Light
Another great theme based off of Scripture. This is based off Matthew 5:13-20 and uses candles and bath salts for décor.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, what will it be salted with? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can’t be hid. Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a bushel basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. Even so, let your light shine before me; that they may see you good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:13-20
Matthew 6:26 provides a great foundation for this theme that is centered around sweet little sparrows.
“See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
Whatever you pick, make sure it matches your heart for raising your child. There is no need to go overboard with decorations. Baby dedication etiquette is really unspoken, you are writing your own rules here. Decorate (or don’t), but always remember that hospitality is more important than stressing over decorations.
Do You Give Gifts?
If you are simply a guest and the invite doesn’t give gift details, always bring a gift. When in doubt, be prepared. It is better to bring a gift than to show up empty handed.
Here are three gift ideas to make sure you keep up with baby dedication etiquette:
Traditionally, a lamb is given for a baby dedication. This lamb serves as a reminder for the parents that they are to raise their children in accordance with God’s Word. It is also a great teaching point to teach children about how Christ is the lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
Another great gift to get for a baby dedication is some sort of cross. There are a ton of amazing options. A tiny cross bracelet is perfect for a little girl. You can also visit hobby lobby for a ton of cross wall decorations. This is the perfect reminder for a child that you have committed to raising them in a godly home.
This sweet Busy Bible is perfect for a little one! Parents will love to bring this church to keep baby happy and quiet. It will also encourage baby in their Faith as they see pictures of Jesus, Moses, Joseph, and more!
Prayers for Baby Dedication
An integral part in raising your child to know and love the Lord is remaining steadfast in prayer. Prayer shows dependency on the Lord to work and move in our lives and the little life of our baby.
1. Prayer for Before Dedication
“God, thank you so much for the gift of parenthood. God thank you for calling me to salvation and redeeming my life for your glory. As we consider dedicating our child before you, may we consider the weight of this decision. I pray that we do not commit half-heartedly, but confidently in your power. Take away any fear. We want to serve you in our parenthood. Help us also to find the godparents that you would have come alongside us in raising our children to know your Truth.”
2. Prayer for during the dedication
“Father, thank you so much for the chance to dedicate the life of our child to you. Thank you for creating everything, including our baby, for your own glory. God, please help us to raise our child to know and love you. I pray that we would establish a godly foundation in their heart, so that one day they might come to know you deeply. Work in their heart at an early age. Prepare them now to serve you later in life. Protect them from hurts and strengthen them. God, we commit to teaching them your Word, praying diligently, and showing them your love.”
3. Prayer for after dedication
“Lord, help us never to forget the commitment we made to you. Life will get hard. Struggles will come, but we want to stay close to you. Help us to treasure Christ, so that His love flows through our hearts. Show us how to teach our child your Word. Teach us to continue in prayer. Help us discipline in accordance with your Word. Empower us to be godly parents. We need you.”
Bible Verses For a Baby Dedication
We use the WEB version of Scripture, but feel free to use your favorite!
These Bible Verses are great resources as you consider everything having to do with baby dedication etiquette. Use them for on decorations, favors, gifts, cakes…the list goes on!
1. Psalm 139:13-16
“For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well.
My frame wasn’t hidden from you, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
2. 1 Peter 3:3-4
“Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet dpirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
3. Samuel 1:27-28
“I prayed for this child, and Yahweh has given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore, I have also given him to Yahweh. As long as he lives He is given to Yahweh…”
Baby dedication is such a precious time in the life of a family. It is a whole family commitment to raise a child in a godly home. It is a promise to be intentional in building a solid faith foundation.
With such a special event, baby dedication etiquette is nothing something to be overlooked. I hope you feel confident in your etiquette knowledge after reading this article. If you are a parent, I pray that the Lord guides you as you prepare to dedicate your child. If you have been invited to a baby dedication and/or party, I hope that I have answered all the questions that you may have about dedication. If we left anything out or you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. We want to help you as you prepare for this special occasion!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. So you can pin it to your Baby Board!!