Over the years of our ministry, my wife Sally and I have taught various classes and seminars that offer vision and practical strategies for Christian parents who are committed to faithfully raising their children in the “instruction of the Lord.”
In the new book A Church Leader's Guide to Child Dedication and Youth Baptism, I explain how these two milestones provide significant opportunities in the life of a church to reinforce a biblical vision for the discipleship of the next generation. Congregations may adopt various traditions to make these milestones special. For example, churches often mark the occasion of child dedication by presenting parents with certificates, gifts, or symbols.
Though there are other milestones, there is a uniqueness and connection between child dedication and baptism.
The dedication of children anticipates their baptism. Parents dedicate their children in the hope that they will “belong wholly to Jesus Christ forever” as explained in Dedicated to the Lord. One of the promises that parents make is to regularly pray that, by God’s grace, their child “will come to trust Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of his/her sins and for the fulfillment of all His promises to him/her, even eternal life and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey His teachings.”
The most biblical vision, the best parenting strategies, and the most comprehensive Deuteronomy 6:7-9 instruction in the Christian faith does not guarantee that children will be born again and that parents will experience the joy of seeing them walk in the Truth. Saving faith for any child “is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one [no parent, no pastor, no grandparent, no Sunday school teacher] may boast.” God’s unstoppable purposes for our children and our inescapable responsibility to raise them in the faith come together in prayer.
What is your hope for the children in your life and how might you use a day focused on Psalm 78 for their eternal joy?
All of us at Truth78 are laboring together in this glorious season, and in every season of the year, for the comprehensive discipleship and ultimate joy of the next generation. We pray that the Lord would bless and satisfy you with all that is ours in Christ Jesus, who came into the world to save sinners. That is the best news ever, and the knowledge of that truth is the best gift that we can give to the next generation.
What I want, especially in this season of life and ministry, is for my children, your children, and the children growing up inside and outside our churches to walk in the truth, finish the race, and receive the prize that awaits all who are in Christ. Nothing on my wish list can compare to the next generation being rooted and grounded in God’s Word. This is one of the best and most enduring investments of my resources and time.
I am delighted to share with you the digital edition of Truth78’s first annual ministry report, Side by Side. This report stands as a testimony of God’s faithfulness, the ministry's fruitfulness, and the dedication of about 289 financial partners who have invested so generously.
Please take a few minutes to review this report and join us in giving thanks to God for the progress made in this mission to inspire and equip the church and the home for the comprehensive discipleship of the next generation.
Certainly, no well-meaning Christian parent or teacher would willfully hide the truth from children. However, without realizing it, we can focus on only the parts of a Bible story that are particularly exciting or interesting to children. Or we can put so much focus on the characters and stories that we don’t put enough emphasis on what the story reveals about God and His glory. To guard against this, it is helpful to consider the goal of our instruction. Why should we faithfully impart to our children the testimony that has been entrusted to us?