Supporting families coming for infant baptism or dedication
It’s wonderful when parents and carers bring babies or toddlers for an infant baptism or a dedication service. How can we make the most of this opportunity by making them feel welcome, loved and supported?
Rachel will share the paradigm shift needed to get everyone on the same page and share our new, free videos and guide to support churches in this in a seminar recorded at the Nurturing Babies’ and Toddlers’ Spiritual Lives training morning in February 2021.
You can watch the seminar below and we have added brief notes below.
Depending on your church tradition, you may have families coming to you for baby baptism or dedication – and this provides great opportunities for us, as churches, as we meet these families coming to us.
Become a servant of families, not the gatekeeper
We often default to thinking that our role is to prep the families for the event, so it easily becomes an exercise in ticking boxes, or jumping hoops, to get the family through it, and we are the gatekeeper. But if we shift our aim so we’re not just getting families through an activity but making this moment all it could be – an equipping moment, ,a conversation about spiritual parenting – then we need to be a servant of families.
Then the goal changes – not just get them through the prep, but to affirm families where they are, come alongside them to figure how they can get what they want for their kid, then empower families to do life differently, and find their next steps in parenting for faith.
We need to be IKEA for these families, not a dentist! Parents often have a fixed view of what they want but we can broaden their vision: there’s so much more. God has promises for your child, a community for you and your child … there’s much more on offer than just this one day.
Resource them for their now, not just the one day
We often give them a Bible or a book to remember the day, but it doesn’t always help them go on a spiritual journey with their child. Think about how to resources their ‘right now’, so they recognise that their ten month old can meet and know God right now, or this is a playlist to help you worship with your toddler, or this is a group of families you can join. Give them next steps, resources and encouragement that helps them parent their child spiritually now. Parenting for Faith’s babies and toddlers resources are designed to help you do just that.
Give them invitations to ongoing support
It’s easy to feel discouraged when the families disappear after the event. But what about if we pursue them more consistently and for longer? Keep them informed, let them know you are here for them, use anniversaries to send them encouragement, invite them to special and seasonal events – for as long as they are happy to be contacted, keep in relationship with them. Offer to resource them for each season: your child’s now two years old – this is what you might need now. Your child’s starting school – come along to our first morning coffee and chat. Be pro-active in offering ways for them to carry on their connection and journey. Don’t assume that because you don’t hear back they are disinterested.
Resources that different people recommended in the chat were:
- Who Let the Dads Out
- Rucksack blessing service / pets service / first day of school cheering on
- Starting Rite
- Making the most of your child’s baptism
In addition, some resources from Parenting for Faith: