As a Children’s Minister I have the privilege of sharing in new life when babies are born. It is so special to watch parents as they embrace their child, care for her every need, and make silent promises about how there will be no worries for their little one. Then comes the promise that is made before the church. In many churches, babies are dedicated, christened, or baptized. This often symbolizes a promise made before God (much like a marriage covenant is made during a wedding ceremony) for the parents to raise the child in faith.
In my church there is even a congregational response that goes like this: With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that (insert baby’s name), surrounded by steadfast love may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in a way that leads to eternal life. Amen. I take this promise quite seriously, realizing that the church (especially the children’s ministry) has a responsibility to teach the child about God, Bible stories, and spiritual disciplines. Yet, the Bible makes it clear that the church does not have the primary responsibility to raise the child in faith.
The mandate from Deuteronomy 6 remains, which says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up,” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NIV). Fathers (and families) are supposed to raise their children in faith! The church’s job is to come alongside families to provide resources and support for families to raise their children in faith.
Today begins Spring, a season of newness and growth. The dead trees are now blooming and flowers have emerged. Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is approaching, which offers the ultimate gift of a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a great time to make a new commitment to raise your child in faith. So don’t forget the promise made before God and the Church. Make a new goal to attend church regularly, to pray regularly, and to read Bible stories with your children. Use “teachable moments” to provide instruction on biblical concepts and Christian disciplines. Sign up for the Teaching Kids About God blog and seek out godly parents to join you on this journey.
What better way to thank God for his gift of new life than to live up to your promise to deliberately teach your child about the new life provided through Jesus!