As your child grows from babyhood through adulthood, God uses significant moments to draw your child more closely into relationship with Him. 

Milestones
are designed to help you prepare for and fully engage in significant moments in your child’s life. You are your child’s most important spiritual leader! Take full advantage of these moments to help your child follow close to Jesus.

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DEDICATION OF CHILDREN

Dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents, and sometimes entire families, make a commitment before the Lord to submit their  child to God’s will and to raise that  child according to God’s word and God’s ways. It is the act of giving back to God the gift He has given you as parents. It is an act of worship, thanksgiving, dependence, trust, and commitment. Dedication is different from the rite of christening or infant baptism as practiced by some other traditions.We believe that baptism is an important step in one’s journey with Jesus, and that every individual must make the decision to be baptized. A person must be able to think, reason, and decide in order to make the commitment to follow Jesus in water baptism. At our church, we invite individuals to be baptized any time they are ready after the age of 8. To help you prepare to make the commitment to dedicate your child, prayerfully take time to consider these questions.
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THE COMMITMENT TO FOLLOW JESUS

Salvation comes by repenting of our sins and having faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; 1 John 1:9).It is as simple as this:

  • Asking God to forgive you of your sins.
  • Believing that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died to take the punishment for your sins.
  • Confessing that you want Him to be the Lord of your life.

For the child who grows up in a Christian home, the decision to follow Christ is often reached between the ages of 7-11. This decision may also come later in life. From the time your child is an infant, it is your job as a parent to help your child come to an understanding of who they are in God’s kingdom so that, when they are ready, they can make their own profession of faith and accept Jesus as their savior.As you parent, your job is to be continually teaching your children about who Jesus is and how they can have a relationship with Him. You can help your children understand what sin is, and that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and that God forgives sin (1 John 1:9).This may seem like a daunting task, but you are not alone!  Regularly pray for the Holy Spirit to be active in your child’s life. Kids hear things at church or at home which can prompt questions about sin, salvation, and their relationship with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to make your child ready to make a decision to accept Jesus as his or her Savior. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom as you guide your child to this point.

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BAPTISM

Water baptism is a command of God, just as prayer, worship, holiness, and faithfulness (Acts 2:38). There are 5 key components of baptism.

  1. Baptism shows we are followers of Christ. It symbolizes the salvation that you already have received (1 Peter 3:21; 28:19,20). 
  2. Water baptism is a visual testimony of our spiritual birth. It is a pledge and promise to always live our lives for Jesus (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:4-6).
  3. It shows that one has chosen to serve God, not self (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3,4,11-14).
  4. It is a symbol that a person’s sins have been washed away (Psalm 51:7; Romans 6:3,6). Water baptism isn’t the removal of dirt from the body, but it reminds us that God has removed our sins
  5. Water baptism shows one is now dead to sin and alive to Christ (Romans 6:3-11).

Parents often wonder at what age a child should be baptized in water. The answer isn’t an easy one because each child is different. Many children are ready to be water baptized by seven or eight or nine years of age.  When a really young child asks if he can be baptized, especially after he has seen it being done in church, we recommend that the parents talk about it and then wait for that child to ask a second time. That is typically a clue that God is dealing with his heart and that the child is recognizing his need for this step with God. 

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COMMUNION

Communion is a time of Christian remembrance, memorializing the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).  It is an important step of obedience to Christ and deepens the fellowship with other believers in the church body.  Communion is a memorial to all that Jesus did so we could have salvation and a relationship with Him.  Many churches have communion time together once a month.  Families can also take communion together at home.  It is important to remember that communion is an act for a Christ-follower.  Communion will mean nothing to someone who does not already have a relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior. 

Parents, we encourage you to monitor when your child is ready to take communion.  Once they have a clear understand of what it represents and why we do it, have them sit in a communion service with you to see how it is done.  We encourage parents to take the lead on when their children take their first communion. 

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PREPARING FOR ADOLESCENCE

Around the time that your child is 10-12 years old (before puberty starts), it will be time for you as a parent to step into a new role in your relationship with your child – the MENTOR role.  Adolescence is a time of many changes – socially, emotionally, and physically.  The goal of this milestone is to help remove the fears and wrong messages that come with adolescent growth.  We recommend that you consider having a special parent/child event – usually a weekend away with your child.  It involves one parent to one child (father/son or mother/daughter).  This one-on-one time says, “You are important to me!” to your child.  Topics to discuss can include peer pressure, self-esteem, sexual purity, attitude, unresolved anger, appearance, integrity, substance abuse, boundaries, and physical changes.