Infant Dedication

Meredith Road Baptist Church and other Baptist churches do not baptise infants because they believe that the decision to be a disciple of Jesus is one that can only properly be made at a later stage of spiritual development.

However, we do welcome babies and children into the church family by means of an infant dedication service. The presentation of children by parents is based on Mark 10 v 13 -16 when Jesus took the children in his arms , laid his hands on them and blessed them. The service usually takes palce in a regular service of worship on a Sunday morning and has the following pattern:

  • When the child is bought by their parent(s) they are welcomed and introduced by name to the congregation. The service itself is explained as one of thanksgiving, dedication and blessing.
  • Selected Bible readings are read, such as Deuteronomy 6 v 4 -9, Matthew 18 v 1 - 7, Acts 2 v 37 - 39 and usually end with Mark 10 v 13 -16.
  • A prayer of thanksgiving for the child is offered.
  • The parent(s) areasked to dedicate themselves to bringing up the child in a loving way and teaching them the Christain faith.
  • The congregation is asked to stand, as a way of indictaing their support and their willingness to play their part through prayer and nurture in the child's upbringing.
  • The minister leading the service blesses the child by name with the words from Numbers 6 v 24 -26 'The Lord bless you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.'
  • Further prayers are offered for the child and parent(s), expressing the hope that the child will, in time, come to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and confess him as such in the waters of baptism.
  • If a child is still a baby, they will often be taken around the congregation to be welcomed before being returned to the parents. A Bible or some other gift will then be presented.

Infant dedication does not claim to make the child a Christian. This can only happen as the Spirit of God awakens faith and the response of repentance and faith is given (Acts 2 v 38). The service celebrates the fact that children belong within and are embraced by the church family. It provides an opportunity to speak powerful words of blessing over them in Jesus' name and so assists in their healthy growth.