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Children and Family

“Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me, but Him who sent Me.'”
—Mark 9:36–37

Children Are the Ministers of the Future

At Harvest, we realize the future will one day be in our children’s hands. We want to do all we can to encourage and equip the children in our congregation to walk with God, both now and throughout their adulthood.

Children Are a Heritage

The Bible says that children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord (see Psalm 127:3). God has given Christian parents the tremendous responsibility of raising their children in the ways of the Lord (see Ephesians 6:4). He entrusts parents with the responsibility of establishing a foundation built upon Jesus Christ early in the lives of their children.

Why Children Should Be Dedicated

Baby dedications are actually family dedications. The entire family needs to be lifted up in prayer so that family members will be empowered to keep their responsibilities.

The Bible gives us an example of dedicating a child to the Lord through the account of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11, 26–28. Unable to have children, Hannah wept before the Lord because of her condition. As she was weeping, she made a vow to God and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…” (1 Samuel 1:11).

God honored Hannah’s request and gave her a son, Samuel. Hannah kept her vow and dedicated (which means “to set apart”) Samuel to the Lord.

Requirements for Dedication

To dedicate a child to the Lord is to make a vow to submit your child completely to the will of God and raise that child in the ways of the Lord.

Parents who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will be unable to submit their children to God’s will and His ways, because they themselves do not know the ways of the Lord. As a result, we must decline any requests to involve an unbelieving parent in the dedication of a child. We view this as an act of protection rather than rejection, as we cannot encourage someone to make a vow to God that we know he or she cannot keep.

The Bible says, “It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vow” (Proverbs 20:25 NIV). The Bible records instances where God dealt severely with those who broke their vows to Him (for example, read Acts 5:1–11).

A believing parent may dedicate a child independently of an unbelieving spouse.

Responsibilities of a Christian Parent

Christian parents are to do all they can to “set apart” their child to God until that child can make his or her own choice regarding a relationship with Jesus Christ. By dedicating a child to the Lord, parents make a vow to raise their child in God’s ways and not their own. They commit themselves to this promise and must do all they can to keep it.

The responsibilities God has entrusted to Christian parents include continuously praying for their children (see Job 1:5), instructing them in the way of the Lord (see Proverbs 22:6), setting a godly example (see Proverbs 20:7), and disciplining them as Scripture commands (see Proverbs 29:15, 17; 13:24). These responsibilities can only be fulfilled in Christ’s strength (see Philippians 4:13).

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