A few weekends ago our Kids Ministry put on our first Parent Dedication Ceremony. It was a HUGE success! All the families I talked to after the loved it. They were so glad we put something on like this to help them start their parenting journey off right.
Chances are your church does something like this for families. Most I’ve been to do it as a sort of add-on to their weekend services. While that’s not a bad thing, in our setting we found doing a separate service worked much better. But you don’t have to do that to make dedications awesome. Here’s 5 ways you can make them great:
Teach a dedication class
Teaching a class on what the Bible has to say about parenting is a must. We teach a 1 hour class a month or two before each ceremony. There’s a lot more than an hour’s worth of material in the Bible about parenting. This just hits the highlights for babies as well as our dedication expectations.
Have a conversation with parents before the ceremony
Parents meet with me before taking part in a ceremony. This is to make sure they understand the commitments and are living in accordance to the teaching of Scripture themselves before committing to raise their kids to do the same. I’ll also answer any questions they might have. This takes 20 – 30 minutes.
Give them a list of next steps
At the end of the conversation I’ll give parents a checklist (it’s pretty short) of what they need to do to get ready for the ceremony (pick a verse, send us a picture, RSVP, etc). They’ve heard this stuff already in the class but the list is another, helpful, reminder so nothing falls through the cracks.
Encourage them to invite their family and friends
Our ceremony is a big deal to parents. We want them to invite family and friends to come celebrate and hold them accountable. It’s also a great entry point for their family and friends who don’t know Jesus to come and check out church.
Make the ceremony small and special
Our time together was short (because babies don’t stay still for too long) but special. Here’s an overview of how we ran the morning (on a Saturday):
9:30am – Pictures taken in the gym and continental breakfast served, buffet style
10:00am – Welcome families
10:02am – Worship
10:17am – Families introduce their family, share the verse they chose, and why they chose it
10:20am – Deliver message and have parents take the Milestone 1 vow
10:30am – Your guests will pray over you and your family
10:40am – Close in prayer
10:42am – Families will be dismissed to hang out, grab more food, take pictures, or take a tour of our Children’s Ministry facilities
In the Freebies section I’ve posted a lot of our resources. Feel free to use as many as you’d like. I hope they’re helpful to you as you think through how you can make your Parent Dedications awesome.