Q. Why does VP celebrate both dedication and baptism?
A. Some Christian traditions practice child dedication, others practice infant baptism, and at VictoryPoint we have people from each of these traditions present. At the heart of both baptism and dedication is the love of God for people who didn’t earn it. In both, parents are making a solemn commitment to raise their child in the faith – to identify their child with Jesus and the promises of God, and to do their best (with God’s help, and with the support of their faith community) to raise their child to follow Jesus. At VP we honor both, allowing the parents to make the decision about which one is right for their family.
Q. What is child baptism?
Baptism is what we call a sacrament. A sacrament is a “visible sign of an invisible reality,” a sign and a seal of what God has already done in someone’s heart. As a sign, it represents that God has done something already. As a seal, baptism is how we say, “This is true now.” The waters of baptism do not guarantee salvation. Instead, it is an act of faith, a way of declaring God’s promises over a child. In the New Testament, baptism has multiple layers of significance. Baptism is a promise of…
- The washing away of original sin
- Our union with Jesus’ death and resurrection
- Our new birth in Christ
- Incorporation into the church
- The filling of the Holy Spirit
- The covenant and kingdom of God
In baptism, God promises to give us a new covenantal identity as his beloved son or daughter. God joins us to the death and resurrection of Jesus. And God also promises to fill us with the Holy Spirit and commission us for good works. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
When we baptize a child, we are especially reminded of God’s grace for us; before we could do anything to earn it, God poured out his love for us. “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” John 15:16
Q. What is child dedication?
Child dedication is a public commitment made by parents to raise their child to know God’s love and teach them to respond to him in faith. It is also a commitment for our church to partner with you as we live as God’s family together. Jesus was dedicated at the temple as a child, as was Samuel in the Old Testament.
Q. What’s the difference between baptism and dedication?
Child dedication and baptism are similar. Both baptism and dedication are public declarations that your child is loved by God, belongs to this church family, and will be raised in the way of Jesus. Dedication emphasizes your commitments as parents to raise the child in the way of Jesus. Baptism emphasizes God’s covenant love and salvation for your child. Both baptism and dedication are valued and celebrated as significant moments in faith, and offer the church family and parents an opportunity to give vows of commitment.
Q. What does a typical child baptism/dedication include?
A. We will occasionally take time during a morning gathering to celebrate child dedications and baptisms. Often we will do them either at the beginning of the gathering, or after the singing. The celebration will typically begin with some reminders about God’s promises, you’ll have a chance to exchange vows with the church, parents will have the opportunity to read a letter to their child(ren), a pastor will facilitate the dedicating or baptism of each child, and we will all pray for you and your child(ren).
Q. What vows will be part of the celebration?
A. Below are the vows parents exchange with the church for both child baptisms and child dedications.
- Do you commit to raise your child to know that they are a beloved child of God, and to teach them to love God and love others?
- In addition to teaching your child about what it means to follow Jesus, will you do your best, with God’s help, to show your child what being a disciple looks like in everyday life?
- Will you pray for your child and encourage them to use the gifts of the Spirit to listen to God daily, to respond in faith, and to join God’s mission of bringing the kingdom of God to earth?
- As your church family, we promise to encourage and equip you to be the primary spiritual influence and discipler in the life of your child.
- We promise to come alongside your child and affirm his/her identity in Christ as a precious gift to us. We will strive to be living examples to this child of people who love Jesus and love others.
- We promise to continually pray for this child, that by God’s grace this child would grow into a relationship with Jesus in the power of the Spirit as a vital member of this church family on mission in God’s kingdom.