At Otterbein, we encourage parents to dedicate and present their children to the Lord.  Following are answers to some of the most common questions that arise concerning Parent/Child Dedication as well as information to help make the occasion special and meaningful. If you have additional questions after reading the information below, please contact the church office at or 717.762.7147.

What is the Biblical basis and purpose for dedicating CHILDREN to the Lord?

The Bible makes it quite clear that children are very special in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ. In Psalm 127:3 we read, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” In Luke 2 we read that Simeon took Jesus in his arms when He was a child and asked God’s blessing upon Jesus. And in Mark 10:11-13 we read, "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, put his hand on them and blessed them."

At Otterbein, we believe Parent/Child Dedication is really about three things: 1) It is a way for parents to publicly give thanks to God and acknowledge that their child is a gift from God; 2) It is a public commitment of the parents to raise their child according to teachings in the Bible and do everything they can to help the child grow in his or her understanding of God and help them to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ; and 3) It provides an opportunity for a prayer of blessing to be prayed over the child by the pastor and affirmed by the congregation.

Is dedicating a child the same as baptizing a child?

In short, the answer is no. While some churches baptize babies at a very early age as a way of “sealing” them into the Christian faith, we believe the Bible teaches that water baptism is something that should be done after a person makes a personal choice to become a follower of Jesus Christ. As such, we do not use water as part of Parent/Child Dedications. If you have additional questions about why we do not baptize babies at Otterbein, please speak with one of the pastors.  

What happens during the actual ceremony?

During the service, the pastor will ask the parents to bring their child to the front of the church. Following a short Scripture reading and some comments, the parents will be asked to answer publicly the following question:

Do you commit yourself to do your best in raising your child according to the principles taught in the Bible and will you do all you can to help your child learn what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus?

Parents will be prompted with the answer, “If so, you will answer, I do” and will answer together in unison. Following the answering of the question, the pastor will pray a prayer of blessing over the child and also pray for God to give wisdom, strength and help to the parents as they raise the child.

It is very important that parents consider the question they will be answering before God and the congregation. God expects us to fulfill the commitments we make to Him. If you feel you are unable to answer the question honestly, you should discuss this with the pastor prior to the ceremony.

How old should a child be?

At Otterbein, we encourage parents to have their child dedicated when they are infant—preferably before their first birthday.    

When does the church dedicate children?

At Otterbein, we generally have Parent/Child Dedications on Mother’s Day. Parent/Child Dedications are also sometimes done other times. If you are interested in having your child dedicated at a time other than Mother’s Day, please contact the church office.

Should the child be dressed a special way?

No.  You can dress the child in whatever clothes you wish.

Can other family members participate?

Generally, only the parents of the child and the child participate in the dedication along with the pastor by coming up on the stage. Other siblings, grandparents, and relatives should be encouraged to watch the dedication along with the congregation.

What do I need to do to have my baby dedicated?

Complete and submit the Parent/Child Dedication Application below. 

After receiving the application and prior to the dedication, one of the pastors will contact you to discuss additional details and answer any questions. 

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions about Parent/Child Dedications at Otterbein Church, please speak with one of the pastors or contact the church office at or 717.762.7147.

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