Yesterday, we had an event that we do twice a year. It’s called Parent/Child Dedication and it is one of my favorite Journey Kids events.
Some churches do a “Baby Dedication” in which families of newborns are invited to stand on the stage during a regular adult worship service. The pastor prays for all the new parents and kids and the whole bit lasts about five minutes.
It seemed to me that a life-changing event like having a child and being a parent (in some cases for the first time ever!) should be celebrated a bit more than a five-minute tag before the offering plate is passed.
So, we tried to create an event that would do a few things:
1) Show value to families.
Having a child is a life-changing event. It is more than giving birth to new life. It’s raising deciding to take on the call of raising a child, who will one day be an adult. So, we want to honor that in a special way. Our service lasts about an hour and I think the word “service” is the wrong term. To me, it’s definitely a party. As one of our director’s said, “There’s cake. So you know it’s officially a party when there is cake!”
2) Equip parents with their first steps.
A child’s first steps are amazing. The family cheers, and the cameras come out. With each new step, and each new distance, the family celebrates. I think we should also celebrate a parent’s first steps. We should help them think through what it means to raising a child to know and follow Jesus. What can they do now that will give them the best success for that?
3) Let families know they are not alone.
Our most recent Parent Child Dedication had twenty families participating. When you looked around the room, you could sense, “we are all in this together.” All of those kids were within two years of each other in age. As I looked at them, I saw a flash of the future when those twenty kids begin Kindergarten together. They begin college together. And these families have a great opportunity to find community with each other and support each other, as the body of Christ, and as parent’s all fighting for the same goal.
As a church, if we say we truly care about partnering with families to have a greater impact in a child’s life then we need to start at the beginning and walk with them the entire way.