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A Church Leader's Guide to Child Dedication and Youth Baptism

A Church Leader's Guide to Child Dedication and Youth Baptism

Age Range: Adult

To be trusted by God to raise His image bearers in the fear and joy of the LORD is an unspeakable privilege. Because parents and church leaders share this responsibility, it is important for there to be a true spirit of partnership and cooperation between the church and home.

This guide is a companion to the booklets Dedicated to the Lord and Established in the Faith, which outline the biblical principles and vision behind the dedication of children and, when the time is right, preparation for baptism. This information for child dedication and youth baptism is not only intended to help church leaders make the most of these milestones, but it is also intended to do this in a way that promotes partnership and maximizes the impact for all who are involved in the process.


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Though there are other milestones, there is a uniqueness and connection between child dedication and baptism. The dedication of children anticipates their baptism. Parents dedicate their children in the hope that they will “belong wholly to Jesus Christ forever” as explained in Dedicated to the Lord. One of the promises that parents make is to regularly pray that, by God’s grace, their child “will come to trust Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of his/her sins and for the fulfillment of all His promises to him/her, even eternal life and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey His teachings.” This promise links to the questions the child will be asked when, Lord willing, he is baptized several years later: “Are you now trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the fulfillment of all His promises to you, even eternal life?” and “Do you intend, with God’s help, to obey Jesus’ teachings and to follow Him as your Lord?”

As the title of this guide suggests, it has been developed to serve church leaders who are responsible for planning and overseeing child dedication services and/or the baptism of young people. The content has been drawn from the author's 23 years of experience in two different churches. In both churches, the dedication of children and preparation of young people for baptism were connected to and designed to reinforce the biblical vision for the discipleship of the next generation were pursued in those churches. Certainly, the preparation process, content of the instruction, communication, and service details should be adapted to fit the unique traditions and culture of each church. We are happy for these tools and various forms of communication to be adapted and used to effectively serve the church.
May God bless your efforts for His glory and for the comprehensive discipleship and everlasting joy of the next generations.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible.