A Dedication Celebration

Our church decided to do something different with their Baby/Child Dedication service this time around. Instead of traditionally including it as part of their Sunday-morning service, we had a separate gathering later on in the day — specifically for those children being dedicated and the family and friends invited to celebrate alongside of the families doing so.

In short, we loved the change for two specific reasons: 1) it made us, as parents, to be purposeful in our actions and intentions in wanting Harper to be a part of something like this, and 2) it allowed those family and friends to share in this special moment (we all gathered in tables, had time to share, etc.).

As part of this post, I wanted to share what Jen and I came up with as part of our “homework” (yes, we had homework prior to the service!). We ended up sharing this with our table of family and friends, and wanted to share it with you as well!

Write a description of the kind of person you hope to see your child become by the time she turns 18. What kind of person do you hope to see? What kind of heart do you want to develop in her?
Our hope is to see Harper become a woman who passionately loves God. Above all, we want her to  recognize her need for Him. Additionally we want her to be someone who values other people, is compassionate and kind, extends grace and second changes, and is intentional about serving and preferring others. We want her to have a heart that honors God in all that she does, every decision she makes, and every relationship she has. More than a title or worldly status, we want her to be confident and secure with her identity as a child of God.

What will you do to invest in yourself and your relationship with your spouse?
We will openly share the ups and the downs of our family with our kids. We will prioritize our relationship by protecting “us” time. We will regularly seek godly counsel.

What steps will you take to grow in your relationship with God?
We will faithfully serve in a local church by generously giving our time and resources. We will frame the way we discipline and parent against Biblical truths. We will look to personally grow our relationship with God through Bible study, prayer, and intentional community.

Those three questions allowed us to personally reflect on how our decisions now will influence young Harper’s life. Challenging and humbling at the same time. Ultimately, with the help of those around us, we want our lives to help point her life to Christ.

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Thinking about your own children, what are your thoughts on those three questions?
Have you ever participated in a celebration service like this? 

24 Responses to “A Dedication Celebration”

  1. bill (cycleguy) December 5, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    this is a tremendous idea Dustin that I may have to steal, I mean borrow, for the future. Thanks for sharing this. I pray that you and Jen (whom I pray for on a regular basis) will see these ideas and thoughts come to fruit. Well done you two!

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

      steal away! thanks for the prayers, bill – we appreciate you!

  2. Arny December 5, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Wow…i love yalls dedication description of Harper…

    I really like that…and ima have to go with bill too…i may have to “borrow” that and tell my wife so we can write some up too!

    God bless you and your family Dustin!

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      thanks arny – especially for your support!

  3. Jon Stolpe December 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    As part of the dedication service for our kids, we selected a life verse for each of them and we wrote them a letter to be opened on their 18th birthday.

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      i like that idea! 18 years in the making, that’s awesome.

  4. kristinherdy December 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I think this is a beautiful idea.

    Your daughter is a very blessed girl – they are all blessed girls and I am excited to see how God uses your family for his glory.

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      thanks kristin- grateful that we don’t have do it alone… and we’re excited too- praying for her heart to bring Him glory as well!

  5. Joseph December 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    I’ve never been a part of a service like this but we will be dedicating LJ soon. I like how your church gave you homework. That’s a neat idea. I think we will steal these questions and fill them out ourselves. Our church does a traditional dedication service. Thanks for sharing this with us. And you have a beautiful family!

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      thanks, joseph! i like the traditional as well- standing up in front of the church, getting their commitment as well. but this was a nice change, and certainly had us reflecting on our intentions much more!

  6. Jon December 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Dude, thanks for sharing…those were beautiful responses.

  7. Moe December 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    You said it very well Dustin. Investment. Investing is putting your chips and expecting a return on your investment. There is not a better gift than investing in your children. I echo what John said in his epistle, “it gives me great joy to see that your children are walking in the truth”. Those 3 cute little girls are your little disciples. Teach them, love them, laugh with them, fart with them… the possibilities are endless. They will see this, not only with their eyes, but with their hearts (and smell it too, if you fart with them).

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

      You know, it’s starting to pay off because just the other day I let one rip and my oldest congratulated me. #DadLife

      • Moe December 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

        #proudmoment Hey, the game is the game! (fart game that is)

        • Dustin December 7, 2011 at 8:12 am #

          I encourage strong fart games in our house. I love it when my kids cackle when one rips.

  8. Jim F December 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I have never participated in a service like that – either as a parent or a pastor but love it.

    I have thought a lot about those questions. I have daughter who is 16 and just beginning the process of dating and so we as parents are thinking a lot about this and so is she. For us with our daughter and son both we invest and are intentional in dealings with them when it comes to Spiritual life and Everyday life.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

      What a delicate age, yet such an important and moldable time in her life. Your investment and attention in her life is so vital – thanks for reminding me, jim.

  9. jbussell December 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    This is awesome, Dustin! I love that you had to intentionally be so intentional for the dedication.

    When Cooper was dedicated we had to come up with a life verse. During the service the pastor talks about what the child’s name means and reads the life verse. During our most peoples’ kid’s name means something like “protector of all that is good” and “God’s chosen one.” What does Cooper mean you ask? Barrel maker. That’s right. We felt great about our ability to choose a name!

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      LOL, that’s awesome. They gave us a sheet with her name, meaning, and a verse. I like having that to save around as well.

      And we have friends who name their kids something because of the meaning behind it – that’s totally cool… but we just pick names we like. :-)

  10. seekingpastor December 6, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    This is great. I’ve never been a part of a celebration like this, but this makes me want to. I want my kids to love God with all of their heart, soul, strength and mind and to love their neighbors as theirselves.

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Can’t get much better than that. Thanks Matt.

  11. Ally Garner December 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    That sounds like such a beautiful day for your family. And I love how intentional & commitment focused your church asked you to be for the children who are dedicated. My Harper grown to be the woman of God you pray for her to be! What a beautiful blessing that prayer is for her spirit.

    I love that our church still holds the Baby Dedication service as a part of worship. It’s an opportunity for our church family to commit with the parents to teach, lead, serve & love their children as well. It takes a village ;)

    Hope you don’t mind, but I’m passing this post along to my Pastor. Your church’s service is really powerful and one I’d love for our church to adopt as well!

    • Dustin December 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Certainly, forward away. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I’ve always been a part of the Dedication in the actual church service, but now being a part of something like this, I can see both sides–value in both indeed. Thanks for your comment, Ally.

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