Unlike many Christian denominations, Prism Church doesn’t have a “First Communion” program for kids. We believe that parents are responsible to instruct their children about the significance and meaning of communion. If parents need assistance in this matter, they can ask to meet with a Pastor. They also can also email and request information about how best to teach our children on this matter.
Once a child understands the Biblical significance of communion, and his or her parents are comfortable with the child’s understanding of the Christian faith, children may begin receiving communion with the church.
Keep in mind that if your child is taking communion, our assumption is that that they are eligible for and should be baptized as soon as possible.
BAPTIZING AND DEDICATING CHILDREN
In the diversity of the body of Christ at Prism Church, there are families that wish to have children baptized and others who prefer dedication. We appreciate that believers may have different views on this matter, and at Prism have agreed to graciously differ on what we consider non-essentials. We have intentionally chosen to be a “dual practice” baptism church, which means we perform both child dedications and infant baptisms. The determination of which rite a family will practice is a matter of conscience for the parents.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BAPTISM AND DEDICATION?
The primary difference is that baptism is viewed as a sign and a seal (sacrament) and dedication is seen as a symbolic declaration (ordinance). A sacrament is understood to be something that originates with God and an ordinance is something that originates with human beings.
Baptism is a sacrament that demonstrates God’s relationship toward us, and through the “washing with water” shows the nature of His salvation as he cleanses us from sin. As a sacrament, baptism (like communion) is dependent on faith, and it is important to know that salvation depends not on being baptized, but on one’s personal faith in Christ. Baptism does not make someone a Christian; rather it is an outward sign of spiritual realities. In the case of infant baptism, the baptism is premised on the faith of the parents. For some Christian families, the water baptism of infants is seen as the New Testament equivalent of what circumcision was to Old Testament Covenant families.
Dedication is an ordinance that seeks to inaugurate the Christian parenting commitment of a family and the church community. During this celebration, we thank God for a child, pray God’s blessing upon the child and dedicate her/him to God. Such a dedication has precedent in the Bible where, for instance, Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to God.
WHICH SHOULD YOU DO?
This is a personal decision for parents. In thinking this through, here are some things you may wish to consider:
In no sense does the Bible teach or do we affirm that baptism is anything but a symbol of salvation. The act of baptism does not save, nor does the absence of baptism not save someone.
In dedicating a child, the parents believe that baptism should be done once the child makes a credible profession of faith. When the child does make a decision to trust in Christ, and has a basic understanding of their faith, these parents believe that their child is ready to be baptized.
In infant baptism, the parents believe that baptism is a symbol of God’s covenant promise to the family to bring their children to faith in Christ. The practice is rooted in the Old Testament rite of giving the covenant sign to the children of believers. Hence, when a child comes to receive Jesus through their own faith, they would not be baptized again. Instead, their personal faith would confirm the work God had initiated in their heart.
In either case of baptizing or dedicating an infant, a matter of importance is the personal faith of the parents. The child is being presented because the parents have a growing personal relationship with God through Jesus, and want their children to grow to have faith in Christ, too. In offering a child for dedication or baptism, it is important that parents have an understanding of a few things they will be acknowledging:
• That the parent(s) has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
• That God made our children and gave them to us to love and raise to be His servants.
• Neither baptism nor dedication is a saving act. Rather, a child will need to profess their own faith in Christ.
• Parents cannot make their children Christians. Instead, we are to teach and model genuine Christian living. We should actively engage with children through prayer, reading of Scripture, talking about our faith at home, and faithfully worshipping with our church family.
When parents present their children for dedication or baptism, there are four commitments that are made. Three are done by the parents and one by the congregation:
To the Parents:
1. Do you acknowledge your child’s need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ and their need to profess faith in Jesus as you yourselves have done?
2. Do you recommit yourself to Jesus Christ as both your Lord and Savior?
3. By God’s grace, will you seek to model for your child what it means to be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ?
To the Congregation:
4. Do you commit yourselves to encourage (name of couple) as Christian parents and will you do all that you can to model for and teach (name of child) what it means to live life in a committed relationship with Jesus?
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
1. Contact a pastor if you have any questions or concerns.
2. Once you’re ready, contact a pastor about setting a Sunday date for your child.