What we believe about the Presentation of Children for the Lord’s Blessing (July 2013)

We believe children are a gift of God.

The Bible clearly teaches that children are a gift of God and precious (Genesis 33:5; Psalm 127 and 128). God forms and gives special honor to every person (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5).

We believe we need to follow Jesus’ example in ministering to children.

Jesus showed deep appreciation and concern for children (Matthew 19:13-15). So should the Church. In fact, Jesus set forth a child as a model for greatness in God’s kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4) and warned against leading any child astray (Matthew 18:5, 6).

We believe children are a part of the community of faith.

Children born to parents who are in the household of faith experience God’s love through the care and loving concern of their Christian parents and the Church. It is appropriate that parents bring their children to the house of the Lord to be dedicated (1Samuel 1:27-28; Luke 2:22). This act of dedication recognizes their participation in the life of the family of God. In this service, children are set apart for the Lord. The congregation joins with the parents in pledging themselves to nurture those children in faith in Christ.

Child dedication as practiced in the Churches of God is not a sacrament nor is it a declaration of a child’s faith. God’s grace covers a person until such time as they are able to make a faith decision on their own (Matthew 18:10-14). That age will be different for each child. In the death of a person before that age, we believe that person goes to heaven. The same principle applies to the situation of the developmentally disabled person (Mark 9:36, 37).

We believe parents are responsible for the spiritual nurture of their children.

The Old and New Testaments direct parents to raise their children with godly discipline and instruction (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4). Throughout the scriptures, God’s people are urged to teach and nurture children by word and example (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:5-7). In presenting their child for the Lord’s blessing, parents dedicate themselves as well as their child by publicly declaring a commitment to raise their child according to God’s plan.

We believe the congregation is responsible for the spiritual nurture of children presented for the Lord’s blessing.

As children need warm relationships in their families, so they need warm relationships in the family of God. Such nurture is needed for both parents and children. This calls for a variety of educational opportunities and constant encouragement (Hebrews 10:25). Members of the congregation serve as models for parents and children, demonstrating what it means to be a Christian (John 13:34, 35; 1Thessalonians 5:11).