One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, "How do you plan a child dedication?" The most recent to ask it was Pastor Daniel Davis at Covenant Community Church in Pearland, TX. Well, our plans aren't perfect, but we're happy to share the strategy and documents that have been helpful to us. Here is our planning checklist with some helpful items for those planning a dedication service for the first time--or just revamping your planning.
12 weeks prior:
- Design web banners and posters. Here are some of the designs that we've used in the past:
- Secure event organizer/service coordinators
- Secure pastor for the services—(typically the campus pastor)
- Secure teachers for the dedication class. At Sojourn, we make this a pre-requisite for baby dedication
- Reserve classroom/time and do event setup request for the First Steps class
8 weeks prior:
- Create an online registration form and begin requesting necessary information from parents. At Sojourn, we have an account with http://wufoo.com. Wufoo allows for file uploads (necessary for baby dedication pictures), and it allows forms to be embedded in blog posts and on web pages. Here is the information we collect on the form:
The service time and campus which the parents plan to attend with their children on dedication day.
The dedication class time which parents plan to attend.
A 100-word paragraph about the child written as if it were to be read. It includes the following information: baby’s name, why the name was chosen, birth date, parents’ and siblings’ names, lessons learned since having this child, and a Bible verse with significance for the family.
A digital picture of the child.
Full baby name and gender in the following format: Jared and Megan Kennedy present their daughter Elisabeth Mercy Kennedy
- Contact parents who missed last baby dedication deadline to encourage them to participate.
- Begin communication through posters, flyers, blog posts, campus e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook announcements.
- Order gifts for the First Steps class / dedication service. At the First Steps class, we give away parenting books, diaper bag tags, and invitations to parents so that they can invite friends and family. At the dedication, we give away gift bibles. For more info and a pic, click here.
4 weeks prior:
- Review class notes with volunteer teachers and pastors.
3 weeks prior:
- Send class notes for printing.
2 weeks prior:
- This is the published deadline for parents to register for the dedication.
- Submit liturgy / service outline to worship team for any last-minute for any updating.
- Dedication class begins. The notes are printed and the volunteer teachers (we call them Parenting Champions), door prizes, and refreshments are ready.We set up the Dedication party with a plastic tablecloth, a baby shower centerpiece, and some confetti that we can keep and use each time. In summary, the food includes fruit, muffins, snack foods (nuts, crackers and cheese ball), cupcakes, and a fancy punch for the toast. At the class, we take roll to ensure that everyone who is in attendance has registered. During the class, we inform parents where to meet pastors and service coordinators prior to the service.
- We submit the information for the gift booklet to graphic designers.
- Send an e-mail reminder to parents to meet with service coordinators / pastors in the green room 45 minutes prior to the service.
- Send presentation script to parents for their review to ensure names are spelled correctly and gender is correct.
- Wrap gifts for Sunday service.
- Print gift booklets for families.
- Prepare power point presentation with baby names and pictures.
- **Wednesday Dress Rehearsal with all Staff involved.
- Reserve section for parents by placing gift bibles and gift booklets on chairs one hour before each service.
- Meet Parents 45 minutes early. Walk parents through the entire service. Over-explain. Pray for and bless the parents. Encourage them to take their children to the nursery during the song following the dedication.
- Service coordinators sit at the front to reserve rows and position families (centered so that grandparents can get great pictures) during the service.