Child dedication is completely different than a child baptism. In child dedication, parents are fully aware that the dedication is not an attempt to secure salvation for the child. Dedication is not an attempt at transfer of faith from the parent to the child.
A child dedication is just as much about the parents than it is the child. When a parent dedicates their child they are committing themselves to four things:
In a nutshell, parents are committing to cultivating an environment where their child will be lead to put their belief in Christ when they are older. This is important, because parents have the most influence in their child’s spiritual development.
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” - Luke 2:21–24 NLT
Jesus was “presented to the Lord” or “dedicated to the Lord” as was the custom of the Jews in his day.
As parents raise their families in the faith of Jesus, we hope that many will dedicate their children from birth to the Lord. However, that being said, it's our hope and we recognize that people will begin following Jesus after they’ve had children. If this is the case for you, then child dedication is still something you may consider!
As we read the book of Acts, we see households making decisions to faith together (Cornelius in Acts 10, Lydia in Acts 16, Philippian Jailer in Acts 16, Crispus in Acts 18). These decisions certainly brought baptism to those able to profess Christ and a dedication of the new converts to dedicate and direct their whole families towards the Lord.
We do not practice that child dedication can only occur if your child is a new born baby. Rather, if you’ve recently begun following the Lord, and would like to dedicate your child or all of your children to the Lord, we would love to be a part of that with you!