Parent Commitment, Child Dedication Service
FOR CHILDREN UNDER ONE YEAR OF AGE
The Parent/Child service is an opportunity for parents to present their child to their community of faith, publicly promising to raise him or her in a Christian home and to teach them what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. In turn, the congregation covenants with the parents to share in the responsibilities of nurturing and teaching that child and helping them to grow in their faith.
Ultimately, each person must make his or her own decision to commit themselves to Jesus Christ. In the Baptist church, such decisions are typically followed by baptism. It is the hope and prayer of both the parents and the congregation that each child presented for dedication will come to profess faith in Jesus Christ as they come to know Him better.
The dedication of babies started in the Old Testament. It was based on God's command for the Israelites to bring their firstborn sons for consecration in a ceremony (Exodus 13:1-13). In 1 Samuel 1:24-28, Hannah committed her son Samuel to the Lord. Furthermore, we see Jesus brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph, fulfilling the Jewish purification laws (Luke 2:21-40) In preparation for the Service we would suggest that parents study the passages of Scripture listed above, as well as the following passages: Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm 37:5-6, Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, 1 Corinthians 4:2
Q) Who should participate?
A) Any Shadow Hills Church member parent(s) desiring to raise Christian children, and wants help in that challenge. This would mean, as a minimum, a willingness to set a good example through Christian living, marked in part through regular attendance in the church. This service is an important time of dedication to be taken quite seriously, in which parents are making solemn promises before God, one another, and an entire congregation. These vows, to have integrity, have lifelong ramifications. Such a time ought not to be entered into lightly, without some level of commitment.
Q) Is it the same as baptism or christening?
A) No. Baptism in the New Testament is part of the conscious decision a person makes in response to hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, to believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God & confess it, the decision to turn away from living that dishonors God, the decision to die to oneself & be raised to new life in Christ, & the desire to receive forgiveness of sins & the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because we recognize that an infant is incapable of making these decisions & expressing these desires, we do not baptize them. In this service we are asking God’s help, strength, guidance, & provision in raising our children to the point where one day they will choose to believe in him of their own volition, having come to their own faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord & savior, and then submit to be baptized.
"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord." Psalm 127:3
Q) Why baptize?
A) Because this is what Jesus said to do. In Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15 Jesus tells his followers to baptize new believers. Why? During Jesus’ era baptism was a mark of allegiance and identification. It declared that the person was a follower of Christ and his way. It also verified the humility of the convert to recognize a higher authority. If Jesus is going to be your God, that person in humility will do what Jesus asked him to do. Baptism is an action which settles the question of obedience.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."Mark 16:15 (NIV)
Q) How do we baptize people?
A) The New Testament suggests a pattern—immersion. A believer should be immersed beneath the water to fulfill the basic meaning of the water used in the New Testament. The New Testament word baptism comes from the Greek word baptism, meaning “to dip or immerse.” The New Testament accounts of baptism verify this word posture. In Acts 8:36-39, the Ethiopian eunuch is “brought up out of the water.”
Baptism is the symbolism Paul speaks about in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
"As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized? And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing."Acts 8:36-39 (NIV)
Q) Who should be baptized?
A) We believe that the New Testament declares Christian baptism to be only for those who already believe in Jesus. Thus, the term, “believer’s baptism. Right standing with God (salvation) comes by faith alone. One must make a deliberate choice of Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Baptism, then, follows one’s confession of personal faith and trust in Christ. Baptism symbolically shows the world a new spiritual allegiance. New Testament evidence for this position comes from Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 10:47-48; and Mark 16:15-16.
"Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day." Acts 2:41 (NIV)
"But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw." Acts 8:12-13 (NIV)
"Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days." Acts 10:47-48 (NIV)
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:15-16 (NIV)
Marriage was created by God and is a gift from Him, the highest commitment possible between two human beings. He created man and woman and from the beginning has intended that they be joined in marriage to fulfill in each other what each one lacked in themselves. Since God ordained marriage and created those involved in it, He desires to be at the center of each marriage and to add His direction and blessing.
We share in your happiness as you formulate your wedding plans and begin the wonderful adventure of marriage. We are anxious to serve you and to do our best to make your wedding day one that is God-glorifying and the joyous occasion that you anticipate.
Shadow Hills Church believes that marriage needs God’s Spirit and blessing. It is preferable that individuals who are requesting marriage ceremonies to be performed at Shadow Hills be believers in Jesus Christ and committed to growing in Godliness.
The wedding policy of Shadow Hills Church is one that combines careful organization and Christian planning. We sincerely hope that the following guidelines help you prepare for your wedding.
The Shadow Hills staff members are always available for grieving families to help plan memorial services, step by step, for departed loved-ones. We are here, not only to provide comfort and inspire hope to these precious individuals at the time of need, but to also be a support and encouragement to them in the days which follow such a loss.