Making a promise to raise our kids in a home where they can grow in a deep relationship with God is a huge way of showing them how much we love them and want only the best for their life. Not only is this a huge honor, but it is also a calling from God. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Proverbs 22:6)
First Steps is a 30 minute class parents attend before their child’s baptism or dedication and it is required. The class prepares parents for the commitment of the celebration and shares how Sunnybrook partners with parents to raise children to love and serve God. Upon completion of the class you will be able to register for baptism or dedication. If you are unable to attend the First Steps class on your scheduled class date, please contact the church office.
What is Infant Baptism?
Baptism, whether administered to those who profess their faith or to those presented for baptism as children, are one and the same. The baptism of infants witnesses that God loves us even before we are able to respond in faith.
What is Dedication?
Parents who desire to reserve baptism for when their child chooses baptism for themselves, may present their children for dedication.
Expectations of Parents
To participate in either infant baptism or dedication, at least one or both of the parents have made a commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We recognize that there are many families in which only one parent has come to faith and the spouse that is not yet a believer would still like to participate—and we encourage that.
What should I expect during Infant Baptism or Dedication?
During either service, you (parent(s)) stand before God, your family and your church community, declaring your desire to raise your child in a God-honoring way. Because you are the key role models for your children, you play a primary role in the service. You will be asked to affirm the following commitments:
- Do you receive this child with gratitude, as God’s gift to you and your family?
- Do you acknowledge that neither the act of baptism or dedication saves your child, but that your child will have the choice to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ one day on his or her own?
- Do you commit to creating an environment for your child that teaches and models faith?
- Do you commit to be a parent who is growing your faith, recognizing that your child is more likely to follow God’s path by the model they first observe in you?
- Do you commit to partner with Sunnybrook Church to raise your child to love and serve God?
At Infant Baptism, the baby will be sprinkled with water. At Dedication, they will not.
What is the biblical purpose?
Infant Baptism - The infant is usually baptized by "sprinkling", or the act of dropping water over the baby's forehead, baptizing the child in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This is considered a sacrament or a sacred oath, and refers to God's covenant with us (first of all) and ours in response to God's gracious provision of salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul correlates baptism with circumcision in Colossians 2:11-12. Circumcision is a sign of the Old Covenant of God’s mercy; baptism is a sign of the New Covenant of Grace.
The acceptance of this form of baptism harkens back to when entire households were baptized by the disciples and apostles when they went out, following the Great Commission to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19)
Parents request infant baptism for their child as a sign of the covenant to bring a child up in the way of the Lord in hopes they may one day receive Christ as their Savior. It is not a guarantee of salvation and we do not believe that Scripture supports the concept of baptismal regeneration.
Child Dedication - The scriptural root of Dedication is found in 1 Samuel 1:27–28 where a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child. He answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words:
"For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord."
A New Testament example is in Luke, chapter 2. Following the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple and dedicated him.
In both Scripture passages, the parents entrusted their child completely to God. The writings of Moses, found in Deuteronomy 6:5–9, describe God's plan for how a parent should raise up a child:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
This passage reflects the commitment of the parent(s) in the Dedication, for it is your responsibility to love and follow God and to teach your child to love and follow God in hopes they will one day receive Christ as their Savior.
Do I need to be a member of Sunnybrook to participate?
You do not need to be a member of Sunnybrook Community Church to participate in infant baptism or dedication. We do, however, reserve these milestones for those who consider Sunnybrook their home church. For in baptizing or dedicating your child to God, you are committing to partner with God and the church to raise your child in cooperation with God’s intentions. To partner with any church, a parent(s) would be wise to decide if he or she agrees with its beliefs and vision so they can fully participate in their partnership with the church. Sunnybrook’s beliefs and vision can be found here https://sunnybrookchurch.org/about/what-we-believe/
Is there an age requirement?
While Sunnybrook does not have an age requirement for infant baptism or dedication, the average age for a child being dedicated is two years or younger. However, some parents dedicate children older than that, for the following reasons:
- The parent(s) are new believers in Christ and their children were not baptized or dedicated when they were infants.
- The parent(s) are having a younger child baptized or dedicated and want to have their older child dedicated at the same time.
- The child has not yet made a personal commitment to accept Jesus as their Savior.
- The child was adopted into your family at a later age.
Can a single parent participate?
Yes! Infant baptism or dedication signifies the commitment of parents (including single parents) to do their best to raise their child to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, we highly encourage single parents to baptize or dedicate their child as they raise him or her without the presence or partnership of a spouse. Ideally, both parents—even if not married—would still participate in the baptism or dedication of their child to God. We acknowledge that this is often not possible and that it takes extra effort for a single parent to raise a child. As a church, Sunnybrook is committed to supporting single parents in providing a Christian foundation for their child’s upbringing.
Can parents assign godparents?
Although the term “godparent” is not used at Sunnybrook, we do welcome parents to invite friends and family members to support them. The presence of these significant adults symbolizes their commitment to play a supportive role in the child’s spiritual development.
What should be worn on the day of baptism/dedication?
Parents and children are welcome to wear whatever makes them feel most comfortable.