One of the most underrated tools for reaching families today is the parent/child dedication event. There is no better time to get a family bought into your ministry than when they dedicate their child. It’s your chance to cast a vision for what the partnership between family and church will look like as families travel with you from cradle to college.
When developing our parent/child dedication event, Embrace, at our current church, I had a few takeaways I learned from the experience.
1. Content is still king. We base our entire event off of Orange’s Baby D kit. It’s a great tool to use when thinking your parent/child dedication event. You can take their content and customize it to fit your ministry’s needs. Graphics are included for those churches who may not have access to a graphic designer.
We took their 3 principles of Imagine the End, It’s a Partnership and Make It Personal and revamped them to fit our language for our event. Here’s our wording for what we want to call a parent to during our event.
We want parents to...
embrace your child with the love of Christ, focusing not on what you want your child’s future to be, but WHO you want them to become.
embrace your church as another voice in you child’s life, partnering with you to echo the message you’re instilling in your kids at home.
embrace your calling as a parent as the primary influence of faith and character in your child’s life.
2. Be sensible. These events can be as expensive as you want them to be. And while there are some things that are non-negotiable for me, there are some things that don’t rise in importance. In previous events, I would have used fresh flowers everywhere from the family tables to the food tables. This time around we decided to use cotton and magnolia leaves - it created a wonderful woodland feel. And better than that, is the fact that it was cheap! We chose to do a light dinner at our event in which in the past I had catered. This time, some sweet ladies helped to provide the meal. It connected women to the event that might have otherwise not been there. Plus, it was cost-effective.
3. Use the talent of those you have.
I love for families to be able to have a keepsake when they leave the event. There is a sweet lady in our church who is such a talented painter. I approached her about doing a canvas for each child with their name on it and the date they were dedicated. They turned out gorgeous, and it was such blessing to see someone be able to use their talents in such a lasting way.
We also have several photographers who lent their expertise to the night. One manned our Photo Booth we had set up for the family, and one took pictures of the details and event. Our parents were thankful to be able to concentrate on being in the moment rather than documenting the moment. It was a great gift to be able to give them these photographs after the event.
4. Splurge on the important things.
Some details are important to me that I find are worth the investment. In our parenting class before the event, we gave all of our parents three books - Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, From This Day Forward (marriage), and Praying Circles Around Your Child. We also give our parents a jar of marbles customized with their child’s birth date with a marble for every week they have left with their child before they go to college. We want parents to take a marble out every week so they can be reminded to make the most of the time they have with their kids.
Storytelling is important to our church family. For this reason, we have someone document the event in video. After the event, we put together a recap video celebrating the night. We then show that video in our service so our entire church family can celebrate what took place that night.
How do you celebrate parent/child dedication?