Even after five years of organizing baby dedications, I’m still tweaking the process. You see baby dedication isn’t that simple at our church, and the changes over time come from my desire to see the parents fully aware of what they’re participating in and fully informed of what steps to take after the dedication is over. This is complex at our church because we have not always required church membership, we have 13 services per week on three campuses, and we have people from 83 different countries with various cultural and religious backgrounds. To top it all off, we are Baptist, though many of the folks who attend our church know nothing of Baptist doctrine, traditions, etc. Did I say complicated???
Five plus years ago, before I organized the dedications, we had only four services, 3 Sunday Morning, 1 Saturday night, and there was the typical cattle call. “Please come forward if you’d like to dedicate your baby”. There was the announcing of the parents and baby and the typical prayer to thank God for the baby and to ask God to give the parents wisdom in raising the child in a Godly fashion.
This always bothered me for two reasons: 1- I am an organized person and it was totally chaotic looking and unorganized; so, that got under my skin. 2- Who are these people? Are they even Christians? Do they regularly attend our church, or did they just show up today? How can we get to know them and support them on this journey?
So, I began to think, plan and re-organize baby dedication. The first step was to have a registration process. This at least enabled us to know which parents were walking up on stage, and it helped us to greet them properly and to give them a bit of information regarding baby dedication before hand. The second step was a hugely unpopular move, but necessary – We made the stage time about Mom, Dad and Baby. No gradparents, no godparents. Even though unpopular, you actually noticed the dedicating parents during the dedication instead of trying to pick them out of the herd. Both changes were necessary and prove to be lasting ones. The only problems we encountered at that point were really late arrivals (right before presentation time) and the addition of seven more weekly services for our church. I’ll stop here for Part 1. In Part 2 I’ll explain how we do dedication with so many services to choose from.
This one’s for my KidsWorld Volunteers. Click below to view and print a list of our event for this new Ministry Year!
KidsWorld Calendar of Events 2009-2010
KidsWorld, at Oasis Church, provides children’s classes during 13 church services per week. We have three campuses, one of which holds nightly services. One of the ways we keep our many volunteers united and pursuing a common goal is to have Multi-Campus Quarterly Team Meetings. At our last team meeting, we talked about at curriculum change and our events for the year, but the bulk of our time was spent on Classroom and Behavior Managment.
Having taught in a public school classroom for six years, and in a preschool setting for two years, I know how challenging classroom mangement can be. Decreasing interruptions and re-occuring behavioral incidents, can really increase a teacher’s satisfaction with teaching. After all, it allows the teacher to do more of what he/she loves – which is teaching!! Below is a link to the outline I constructed for our seminar. I allowed two hours for food, fellowship and training. I should have allowed at least three hours! In fact, this would have been best taught in two sessions: whole Group, then age specific breakouts, with breaks before and after each. That was our orignal plan; which, got derailed when our time ran out. Our training went well; however, our infant through preschool group would have really benefitted from a small group time to express issues specific to their group and to develop common strategies. Below, is the link to the training document I used.
I recently read an excellent article entitled, The ABC’s of Spritual Growth. It was written in 2006 by Rick Chromey for Group Publishing. I don’t know Rick yet; but, I do highly respect and trust Group Publishing for the great resources they provide for Children’s Ministry. This particular article appealed to me because of it’s comprehensive look at how children develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually from birth into their pre-teen years – which happens to be the ages groups our KidsWorld Ministry teaches.
I especially like this analogy he uses, “Ultimately, faith is rooted in attitudes and feelings that mature into special relationships where commitments are created and decisions are later made. The process is similar to fitting shoes. Different ages have different sizes and shapes.” Rick then goes on to define how different age groups develop and how we can reach them for Jesus Christ. The link to the article is below: