On Sunday, April 19th, we will take time during our regular services to celebrate beginnings. Parents from within our community will come to go public with their desire to raise their children in light of the gospel and to humbly ask for the church's help. Sojourn parents will bring their children for dedication-committing to parent with open hands because all that we have is from the Lord. Here is a brief preview of our public covenant--the commitment that we will make to one another. Parents Commitment:
Our service is called a Baby Dedication, but it could be called a Parent Dedication. This is a serious matter. It is covenant—a bond of commitment made between you and God and the church community.
Parents, do you profess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and affirm the promises of God made to you and your children in his Word. If so say “We do.”
Will you promise to God and this church community to live gospel-changed lives before your children? Will you promise to discipline them and show them grace? Will you instruct them by word and example in the truth of God’s Word and in the way of salvation through Jesus Christ? Will you promise to pray for them and teach them to pray? Will you promise to nurture them within the body of believers to the end that they become citizens in Christ’s kingdom? If so, say, “We will with God’s help.” The Church's Commitment:
There is a myth in society today. It is the myth of the nuclear family. This myth teaches that all children need to grow up well is a good mom and dad. The Scriptures make clear (Deuteronomy 6) that this is not the case. God does not give his commands to teach and instruct children to moms and dads in isolation. He commands the entire Israelite community. When we see the sin in our hearts, it should help us to see that we need each other. Parents, look around you. You are not alone.
Sojourn, will you promise in the presence of God and one another to live gospel-changed lives before these children and to pray that they will in turn be changed by the gospel? Will you love and pray for these children—encouraging them and helping to nurture them in the faith? Will you assist these parents in fulfilling their biblical responsibilities, hold them accountable by confronting sin, pray for them, and spur them on toward love and good deeds? If so, please read the following:
With joy and thanksgiving, As Christ’s church, With God’s help, We promise to love, encourage, and support you As you follow Christ and parent your children.
Gracious God, giver of all life, We pray for these parents. Give them wisdom and patience as parents. Let your peace and joy dwell in their home Instruct them in the truth of your gospel. Strengthen them by faith. Sustain them through prayer. Govern their lives by love.
We pray for these children. Change them by your gospel. Help them to love and trust Jesus. Help them to obey and honor their parents. Connect them to gospel community and gospel mission. For Christ’s sake, Amen.