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Special Section: Rite On

Make the most out of kids' big faith-marker moments.

As a children's minister, can you ever forget the adoring look parents have as their newborn is dedicated to God? Or the excitement on kids' faces as they receive their first Bible? And how about the preteens who melt your heart as they thank you for helping them learn about God at their elementary school graduation?

Big moments in life -- rites of passage -- are important to all of us. Yet we often commemorate such occasions with a passing "congratulations" or a greeting card, and miss out on the high-impact ministry that's possible during these significant moments. Capitalize on faith-development opportunities by playing an active role in kids' rites of passage with these creative ideas.

New Arrivals

The birth of a baby is a significant event in every family. Use these ideas to minister to new parents as they embark on their parenting adventure.

Expectant Parents Dinner

Several times a year our preschool department hosts a dinner for expectant parents. We mail invitations worthy of being saved as baby book keepsakes, and we also post an announcement in our bulletin for newcomers who may not be in our church database.

We serve a complete dinner with a few humorous menu items such as pickles, ice cream, and fruit-flavored chewable antacids. During dinner expectant parents meet other new parents and our nursery staff. We provide information about our nursery, a calendar of events for new parents, and a magnet with our ministry's contact information. We give parents a box of baby wipes with our preschool logo on it and a gift certificate for a free night at Parent's Night Out, an evening of child care we provide to parents.

After dinner our nursery staff prays for all of the unborn babies in the room. We give parents certificates signed by the staff that say, "You were prayed for before you were born!" We end the evening with tours of our nursery and preschool areas, and our staff can answer any questions our expectant parents have.

Robin Dufilho

Lubbock, Texas

Welcome to the Family

We publicly welcome new babies during our church service. We take a photo of each family and display it on the big screen as the family comes up front. Our pastor introduces the baby as the newest member of our church family. We give parents a certificate that says, "Gold Coast Christian Family would like to welcome the newest member of our church family, (baby's name), who was born on (birth date)." We attach a rose to the certificate and give the family a subscription to a Christian parenting magazine.

Anne Johnson

Queensland, Australia

Nurses On Call

Our church had a group of professional nurses who made home visits to new parents. Nurse volunteers set up two visits, one within two weeks and one within two months of a baby's birth. Parents could ask questions about newborn care such as bathing or nursing. They loved this gift from our ministry, and it's a great way for nurses to use their professional expertise to minister.

Carmen Kamrath

Loveland, Colorado

Baby Dedications

When parents make a commitment to teach and demonstrate their Christian faith to their newborns, partner with them as they embark on a family faith journey.

Devoted to Family

Our baby dedication services devote the entire weekend to celebrating family. We ask participating parents to complete a class explaining our church's position on child dedication a week prior to the service. Our pastor teaches about dedication, including the parent's role and the church's responsibility of teaching and modeling faith.

A volunteer creates boutonnieres for parents made of fabric and buttons. Beforehand, we ask parents to choose a Life Verse for their child. We print it on the certificate and encourage parents to share it with family to help them be accountable as faith mentors.

Kristine Wendt

White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Pray for Me

We ask parents to write a prayer for their child prior to our dedication service. We have samples and encourage parents to think about what they'd like God to do in the child's life. A parent or a family representative reads the prayer as the child is dedicated. We frame the prayers for parents to keep. Many of our parents save these prayers and give them to their children as high school graduation gifts.

Bill Love

Hazel Park, Michigan

The Right Start

Our church serves breakfast for families prior to dedication service. As families arrive, a photographer takes a family photo with the pastor, which we frame with the child's name and dedication date. Parents learn the morning's schedule, and then our pastor talks about this significant parenting decision. We conclude with a prayer for each child and family.

Then, before we open the doors to allow people into the dedication service, we usher families in for a group photo and allow them to choose seats close to the front for their family and friends.

Carmen Kamrath

Loveland, Colorado

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