Outside of when a couple marries each other, there is no other time in a couple's life that is more life changing and precious as when a couple has their first child. Outside of when a couple marries, there is no other time that a couple is more receptive to seeking help than when that bundle of joy has been delivered to them.
See, when a couple has their first child, it makes them start thinking. They think about their childhood. They think about the things they want to replicate and the things they would do differently. Maybe they've slacked off in attending church since they've become an adult. Maybe they're so wrought with anxiety over "not messing" this kid up, that they'll take any help they can get...even from a church.
As a preschool ministry, we have an incredible opportunity to impact the life and direction of a family when they have a baby. We have the privilege of coming alongside a family to help them realize the importance of faith in their family.
As a church, we are very committed to making this time as meaningful as we can through our parent/child dedication event. You didn't read that word wrong...it's an event. I believe when we get serious and intentional about this time, no longer will the "drive-by baby dedications" do on a Sunday morning. If our faith commitment is important and warrants going public with our faith and our vows to our spouse are said in a wedding ceremony in front of others, why would the next biggest commitment we make not be important enough to commission a strategic event?
Over several blog posts, I'll break down how we do First Steps, our parent/child baby dedication, at our church. I'll write about what we've see work and what we've seen not work.
One thing I will tell you I've learned over time is that "content is king". If you start with good content and build off of that, you can figure out how to do a dedication event on any budget. If this is the time in a parent's life they are more receptive to feedback and instruction, we've got to give them good content...good content that the rest of the world isn't saying to them.
I first heard of doing events for baby dedications when I attended the Orange Conference several years ago. So when we began to dream about how to be more intentional with our dedications, I started there with Orange's Baby D event kit. The content is incredible. The 3 principles they use of asking parents to Imagine the End, Make it Personal and It's a Partnership was a great jumping off point for us when we began to develop our own event. Why reinvent the wheel when it comes to great content? With great content, you can tailor it to fit your church's context and culture.
Over the next few blog posts I'll unpack some elements of the experience we want to give families who go through First Steps. From the class to the event and all the details in between, we want to inspire parents to "begin with the end in mind".