I can remember sitting through my first Orange Conference seven years ago and attending a breakout on Baby Dedication events. I knew this was something our church had to do. When we began to implement Baby Dedication events, it was a game changer for connecting families to our ministry and our church. We found that when a family went through the process of our baby dedication, it solidified the relationship between them and us.
These are the three things we keep in mind when creating our Baby Dedication event:
1. Make it Informative
Sometimes when creating and thinking through a Baby Dedication event, we can get stuck thinking only about the event night. But, one of the most meaningful times of the whole experience is when we meet for a class with the parents before the event. During this period, we can lay out what they can expect from our family ministry as their child journeys with us through the years. We introduce the Phase language and then we also speak about some parenting principles.
It’s during this time that we ask parents to “Imagine the End.” We ask parents to think not on what they want their child to do, but WHO they want their child to become when they leave their house at eighteen. We give them homework that asks them to think this through and write it out as a prayer or letter to their child. The parents read the letter at our Baby Dedication event while their family and friends gather around. It’s such a special moment!
2. Make it Memorable
One challenge we give our parents in the class is to count your weeks with your child so you can make your weeks count. We give each family a jar with marbles customized to their child’s birthday with the number of weeks they have left with their child before they turn eighteen. I can’t tell you how excited it makes me to go into our families’ homes and see their jars displayed. What a great visual for families to make the most of their time with their children!
We also give a special gift to each of our families. At one church we did a wood art piece with part of Deuteronomy 6:7 written on it, along with the child’s name and date of dedication. At my current church, we do a sweet canvas painted with their child’s name and dedication date. In both of these cases, we used the talents of people we had attending the church.
3. Make it Meaningful
“Love is in the details.” I tend to agree with this statement. I feel loved when someone goes out of their way to notice the details and make something special for me. We try to do the same with our Baby Dedication event. We give our families invitations they can send out to their family and friends. We’ve served dinner before the event on some occasions and brunch on others. We provide a photo booth for families to take pictures. We also have a photographer taking pictures of the whole event so mom and dad can concentrate on being in the moment.
Orange’s Baby D Kit is an incredible resource to help you get started thinking through your own baby dedication event. How do you prioritize baby dedication at your church?