Special Section: Rite On

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Make the most out of kids’ big
faith-marker moments.

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As a children’s minister, can you ever forget the adoring look
parents have as their newborn is dedicated to God? Or the
excitement on kids’ faces as they receive their first Bible? And
how about the preteens who melt your heart as they thank you for
helping them learn about God at their elementary school
graduation?

Big moments in life — rites of passage — are important to all of
us. Yet we often commemorate such occasions with a passing
“congratulations” or a greeting card, and miss out on the
high-impact ministry that’s possible during these significant
moments. Capitalize on faith-development opportunities by playing
an active role in kids’ rites of passage with these creative
ideas.

New Arrivals

The birth of a baby is a significant event in every family. Use
these ideas to minister to new parents as they embark on their
parenting adventure.

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Expectant Parents Dinner

Several times a year our preschool department hosts a dinner for
expectant parents. We mail invitations worthy of being saved as
baby book keepsakes, and we also post an announcement in our
bulletin for newcomers who may not be in our church database.

We serve a complete dinner with a few humorous menu items such as
pickles, ice cream, and fruit-flavored chewable antacids. During
dinner expectant parents meet other new parents and our nursery
staff. We provide information about our nursery, a calendar of
events for new parents, and a magnet with our ministry’s contact
information. We give parents a box of baby wipes with our preschool
logo on it and a gift certificate for a free night at Parent’s
Night Out, an evening of child care we provide to parents.

After dinner our nursery staff prays for all of the unborn babies
in the room. We give parents certificates signed by the staff that
say, “You were prayed for before you were born!” We end the evening
with tours of our nursery and preschool areas, and our staff can
answer any questions our expectant parents have.

Robin Dufilho

Lubbock, Texas

Welcome to the Family

We publicly welcome new babies during our church service. We take a
photo of each family and display it on the big screen as the family
comes up front. Our pastor introduces the baby as the newest member
of our church family. We give parents a certificate that says,
“Gold Coast Christian Family would like to welcome the newest
member of our church family, (baby’s name), who was born on (birth
date).” We attach a rose to the certificate and give the family a
subscription to a Christian parenting magazine.

Anne Johnson

Queensland, Australia

Nurses On Call

Our church had a group of professional nurses who made home visits
to new parents. Nurse volunteers set up two visits, one within two
weeks and one within two months of a baby’s birth. Parents could
ask questions about newborn care such as bathing or nursing. They
loved this gift from our ministry, and it’s a great way for nurses
to use their professional expertise to minister.

Carmen Kamrath

Loveland, Colorado

Baby Dedications

When parents make a commitment to teach and demonstrate their
Christian faith to their newborns, partner with them as they embark
on a family faith journey.

Devoted to Family

Our baby dedication services devote the entire weekend to
celebrating family. We ask participating parents to complete a
class explaining our church’s position on child dedication a week
prior to the service. Our pastor teaches about dedication,
including the parent’s role and the church’s responsibility of
teaching and modeling faith.

A volunteer creates boutonnieres for parents made of fabric and
buttons. Beforehand, we ask parents to choose a Life Verse for
their child. We print it on the certificate and encourage parents
to share it with family to help them be accountable as faith
mentors.

Kristine Wendt

White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Pray for Me

We ask parents to write a prayer for their child prior to our
dedication service. We have samples and encourage parents to think
about what they’d like God to do in the child’s life. A parent or a
family representative reads the prayer as the child is dedicated.
We frame the prayers for parents to keep. Many of our parents save
these prayers and give them to their children as high school
graduation gifts.

Bill Love

Hazel Park, Michigan

The Right Start

Our church serves breakfast for families prior to dedication
service. As families arrive, a photographer takes a family photo
with the pastor, which we frame with the child’s name and
dedication date. Parents learn the morning’s schedule, and then our
pastor talks about this significant parenting decision. We conclude
with a prayer for each child and family.

Then, before we open the doors to allow people into the dedication
service, we usher families in for a group photo and allow them to
choose seats close to the front for their family and friends.

Carmen Kamrath

Loveland, Colorado

     

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