“Parents partnering with God as they raise their children”
Riverwood Church believes children are a precious gift from God, and we are very excited to share information regarding our upcoming child dedication.
Child dedication is a public commitment you make before God, your church, and your family. The dedication service provides you, the parent(s), an opportunity to express your desire to lead and spiritually nurture your child in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, so your child will develop a desire to love God and love others.
Listed below are frequently asked questions about child dedication. Take time to review them to find answers to any questions you may have. For unanswered questions, feel free to contact Emily Mullens or 262.539.2383
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the biblical purpose and history of a child dedication?
The scriptural root of a child dedication is found in 1 Samuel 1:27–28 (NASB), where a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child. He answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words:
“For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.”
In Luke chapter 2 of the New Testament, following the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple and dedicated Him.
In both Scripture passages, the parents entrusted their child completely to God.
The writings of Moses found in Deuteronomy 6:5–9 describe God’s plan for how a parent should raise up a child:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
One key step in marking your desire to nurture your child in the ways of God is to dedicate him or her to God publically, through a child dedication ceremony.
Do I need to be a Riverwood Church member to have my child dedicated at Riverwood?
Yes you do need to be a member of Riverwood Church to have your child dedicated at Riverwood. We do encourage parents to make sure they are calling Riverwood their home church. Why? In dedicating your child to God, you are stating that you are willing to partner with God and the church to raise your child in cooperation with God’s intentions. To partner with any church, a parent would be wise to decide if he or she agrees with its beliefs and vision, so they can be all-in in their partnership with the church.
When you choose to become a member at Riverwood, you are stating that you agree with Riverwood’s beliefs and values, and that you want Riverwood to be your home church. For more information on membership, contact the church office at 262 539 2383.
To have your child dedicated at Riverwood:
- We ask parents to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- We ask parents to be sure their beliefs line up with Riverwood’s Statement of Belief.
- We ask parents to be regular attenders of Riverwood’s weekend services.
- We ask parents who are living together and who are not married to take steps to acknowledge and surrender to God’s plan for their relationship before participating in a child dedication service.
We are open to having conversations with you on any of the above statements. If you are interested, contact the church at 262 539 2383.
What can I expect during a child dedication ceremony?
During the dedication service, parents express vows before God, their family, and the church, declaring their desire to raise their child in a God-honoring way. Because parents are the key role models for their children, they play a primary role in the dedication service.
Parents will be asked to affirm the following commitments:
- Do you receive this child with gratitude, as God’s gift to you and your family?
- Do you commit to each other as parents, creating a stable environment in which your child can mature? Will you make a covenant to strengthen your marriage relationship?
- Do you commit to be parents of personal faith, recognizing your children are more likely to follow God’s path by the model they first observe in you?
- Do you commit to lead a faith-filled home that honors God in all your relationships and in the choices you make in spiritually growing your family?
- Do you commit to be parents with patience, recognizing that with your inherent strengths and weaknesses, your desire to shape your child is a loving act that will require time, prayer, and God in order to produce in your children what He and you hope for?
If you have registered to participate in a scheduled child dedication service, you will receive an email before the date of the service with information regarding what to expect, including the service order and times.
Does Riverwood baptize infants?
Scripture provides evidence that Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48). And the New Testament records the baptisms of adult believers only.
In the Bible, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them, prayed for them, and told us to welcome them. But He did not baptize them and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Riverwood believes Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation, once they have the maturity and ability to understand what that means.
Dedication is not a sacrament; nor does it impart grace or salvation to a child. Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ as each person recognizes their sinfulness and receives forgiveness and eternal life through Christ and His work on the cross.
Rather than baptizing infants or children, Riverwood encourages Christian parents to dedicate their children. This is a ceremony in which parents formally call upon God’s blessing for their child and publicly commit to raise him or her in accordance with Scripture.
At what age can a child take part in a dedication service?
Riverwood does not have a set age requirement for child dedication. Parents can dedicate child as an infant, but many parents dedicate children much older than that, often for the following reasons:
- The parent(s) are new believers in Christ and their children were not dedicated when they were infants.
- The parent(s) are having a younger child dedicated and want to have their older child dedicated at the same time.
Can a single parent participate in a child dedication service?
Yes! Child dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Christ. Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to dedicate their child as they commit themselves to raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. The decision to dedicate a child is not dependent upon the beliefs of the ex-spouse; however we encourage single parents to discuss child dedication with their ex-spouse. Ideally, both parents—even if not married—would still commit to the dedication of their child to God. We acknowledge that this is often not possible, and that it takes extra effort for a single parent to raise a child. As a church, Riverwood is committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
Can parent(s) assign godparents?
Although the term “godparent” is not used at Riverwood, we do welcome parents to invite friends and family members committed to supporting them to stand with them during the dedication. The presence of these significant adults symbolizes their commitment to play a supportive role in the child’s spiritual development.
How do I participate in child dedication ceremony?
To attend a child dedication, fill out the attached form and attend a child dedication class.
Emily Mullens, Next Generation Ministries Director