In many places in the Bible we read that God commands parents to teach their children to know and love HimÖ

ďGod gave his Law to Jacobís descendants, the people of Israel. And he told our ancestors to teach their children, so that each new generation would know his Law and tell it to the next. Then they would trust God and obey his teachings, without forgetting anything God had doneĒ (Psalm 78:5-7 CEV).

This is an amazing passage. In this text, God makes parents responsible for teaching their children about Him. He commands moms and dads to remember His words and works and then to teach them to their kids. According to Godís word, the primary context for your child learning about faith is not in our childrenís ministry on Sundays (although we are always here, doing our part). It is in your home, in your car as you drive along the road, at your childís bedside, and at the breakfast table. It happens in those planned moments when you pull out a Bible storybook. And it happens in those unplanned moments when your child has sinned or is heartbroken and you correct or comfort your child as a Christian corrects or comforts. Passing on our faith canít just be done in one hour each week. It involves passing on our lives.

And while it is clear that we are responsible for passing on our faith, it is also clear that God doesnít give this responsibility to moms and dads in isolation. He gives His law and testimonies in the context of a believing community. Training children is a community project because we all need help. We need one anotherís encouragement, one anotherís accountability, and one anotherís eyes to see what we canít see. We need our children to hear others say the same things we say. We need classes and worship experiences for our children where they hear Godís word taught with others in ways that are meaningful to them. We need one anotherís help, and we need Godís help. He is the one who opens the womb and gives life. He is the one who controls the way our children grow up and develop. And He is the only one who can change their hearts and save them.

A Parent-Child Dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents make a commitment before the Lord, before their child, and before their church family to submit a child to God's will and to train that child according to God's Word and God's ways.

What that means for you.

Christian parents who dedicate a child are making a promise to the Lord to do everything within their power to raise the child in a godly way until he or she can make a decision on his or her own to follow God. Parents who make this vow of commitment are instructed to raise the child in the ways of God, and not according to their own ways. Some of the responsibilities include teaching and training the child in God's Word, demonstrating an example of godliness, disciplining according to God's ways, and praying earnestly for the child.

How it works at Cherrydale Baptist Church

Several times each year part of our Sunday morning worship service is the dedication of children and parents. We have a clear, specific path for you to follow to make this meaningful and a public commitment of your intent to parent your child.

 Read the paragraphs above again prayerfully. Decide with your spouse that this is a commitment you want to make and a path you commit to follow. This service is a promise, and a promise is a decision you make in advance. You are committing to be and do certain things for the glory of God and the success of your child. If you are a single parent, find a godly friend or family member to support you in this and to hold you accountable to follow the commitment you will make.

 Attend the Principles for Parents Seminar. This is offered several times each year. Here you will learn the most important biblical principles for leading your children. Much of what you will learn is groundwork for what you will do later. Our goal is to equip you before you face issues that can distract you from being the parent you want to be and to provide a framework on which you will parent your child. You can register online by clicking here.

 Complete the online registration form to notify us of your intent to participate in a Parent-Child Dedication service. Here you will provide us with basic information and tell us in which service (both date and service time) you wish to participate. You can complete the registration form by clicking here.

 Call Herb Owen, Pastor of Children and Families, to set up a time for a 20-minute meeting with him. Both parents will attend. This meeting must be set up no later than two weeks before the date of the Parent-Child Dedication service. You can phone him at (703) 254-8305.

 And remember we are always here to assist your family in any way we can. Call us or email us whenever you have a question, a need, or a suggestion.

We look forward to sharing these years with your family.