The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” holds true in our society and in the Christian church. Take a moment to reflect upon your upbringing and those who helped raise you. Was it solely your parents? What about other relatives? Were you raised in a church community? For me, it truly was by God’s grace and my community. I was guided by loving parents and family, a Christ-centered congregation, mentors, teachers, Boy Scout leaders, and a plethora of others who held me to high standards and continued to remind me to submit myself to the Will of the Lord. Were you shepherded by one person, or did one person, Jesus Christ, shape the hearts of those who were called to play a role in your life?
Child dedications are a tripartite practice where the child, the parents, and the community of believers all dedicate themselves to God’s Will. The community of believers come together to acknowledge their role in being the “village,” parents submit a child to God’s Will and to raise the child according to the Word, which then hopefully leads to the child also dedicating themselves to live for God. Dedicating a child not only acknowledges the Lord’s sovereignty over the child, but also over the parents. The parents and community’s role is to teach and train the child in God’s Word, discipline the child according to God’s ways, demonstrate examples of Christ-like actions, and to pray earnestly.
The practice of Child Dedication is rooted in this passage found in Deuteronomy 6:4-7: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” The Lord has placed his precious children in the care of earthly parents. Although we, the church, cannot substitute for the parents in this realm, the church can supplement the teachings of Christ and their walk with the Lord. We must love the Lord ourselves and teach our children to love him, too.
As parents dedicate a child to the Lord, they make a covenant and commitment before the Lord. We as the church, a community of believers seeking to know and love the Lord with our hearts and minds, must recognize that each family needs the help and support of the local church. We are truly blessed to be called into the lives of our families. Let us pray earnestly for the child, their parents, and for ourselves to raise each one up in the love of Christ.
Written by Luke Lusted - Website
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Luke first felt God's call to lead and serve in the music ministry of the local church while pursuing his Bachelor's degree at Louisiana Tech University. He earned his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Arizona. While Luke has served in numerous professional capacities including Artistic Director of a large choral organization, chorister in professional choirs, and composer and clinician for schools and churches across the country, his heart is pastoring and using his gifts to glorify Christ and His kingdom.