A baby dedication is an occasion where parents make a public commitment before the church to raise their child in the Christian faith. Often, the child is an infant, but parents may choose to dedicate a child at any time. The dedication is partly about dedicating children to God and partly about the parents’ promise to dedicate themselves to cultivating faith in their children. It is also an opportunity for the parents to acknowledge the child’s life is a gift of God and that the child’s life rightfully belongs to God (Ps 127:3).
The dedication of children is found in Scripture where Hannah promises to dedicate her son to God’s service (1 Sam 1:11) and Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the temple as a baby (Luke 2:22–35). Jesus also blessed children who were brought to him (Mark 10:14–16).
Since the purpose of a dedication ceremony is to hear the parents publicly commit their children to God and to raising them in the faith, the service usually involves the pastor asking the parents questions about their intentions in bringing the child for dedication. For example, the pastor may ask whether they are prepared to dedicate themselves to the task of raising their child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord or whether they commit to instructing their child in the faith and nurturing an environment at home of prayer and devotion to Christ.
The pastor will also generally express the church’s commitment to partner with the parents through encouragement and training to also nurture the faith of their children. In some churches, the congregation may also be asked to express their commitment through word or action.