Genesis West practices both infant baptism and infant dedication. In bringing your child to the community of faith to be either baptized or dedicated, you are acknowledging your desire and the child’s need for the gathered church to help children come to faith and to grow in faith throughout their lives. Baptism is a sacrament, an action ordained and commanded by God. Dedication is a practice of the church developed in relation to believer baptism. We honor both beliefs and practices, and we would love to talk to you about how to make this important decision.
Infant Baptism. We celebrate the sacrament of baptism as commanded by Christ in Matthew 28:19-20. This sacrament is a visible sign of God’s invisible grace, and it signifies that it is through God’s love and grace and by God’s initiative alone that God (1) Created us, (2) Redeems us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (3) Promises us the forgiveness of sin and eternal life, (4) Places us in the community of believers that we might be nurtured and encouraged in faith, and (5) Is present as the Holy Spirit to transform and guide us into an ever-deepening faith in Jesus Christ and eternal life.
The sacrament of baptism, through the sacred means of water and the word, is a sign and seal of the new covenant in Jesus Christ, whereby God cleanses our sin and welcomes us into the family of God. When parents bring their child for baptism, they acknowledge in the sacrament God’s promise and the unmerited gift of God’s prevenient and redeeming grace. Its emphasis is not on our response, but on what God has already graciously done for us through Jesus Christ. God has already provided the means of salvation and nurture within the community of faith, with the hope that one day the child may acknowledge his or her acceptance of new life in Christ. Through water and the word, the child is indelibly marked with the sign of the covenant, conveying a new identity to the baptized in the name of the Triune God—Father/M other, Son, and Holy Spirit. Parents who baptize their child emphasize the unique way in which the child is tied to the believing community. While the elements of hearing, repenting, and believing are necessary in the reality of conversion, the presence of word and sacrament in the community of faith recognizes the ongoing work of God in a child’s life making it difficult to pinpoint where one of the three is a distinct experience.
Click here to begin the process of having your child baptized.
Infant Dedication. We also recognize and values children who have not been baptized as infants to be full participants in the community of faith. The rite of blessing a child, also commonly referred to as the dedication of a child, is a service for parents who want the blessing of God on their child but believe that baptism is to be reserved for those who make a conscious choice in confession of faith. Grateful for the gift of a child, the parents are accepting their responsibility of nurturing the child in the love and grace of God. The emphasis in infant dedication is on the personal pledge of parents to raise and nurture their child in a loving Christian home. There is anticipation and hope of the child’s future personal commitment of faith in Jesus. This service is rooted in the biblical celebration of the blessing of life and birth. It recalls Jesus’s blessing of the children as a sign of the kingdom of God (Mark 10:13-16). It proclaims the message of God’s saving deeds in Christ for all, including children. Parents who dedicate their child look forward to the day when the child hears the word, repents, believes, and is baptized. The believer who is baptized makes public, through immersion or sprinkling, the witness to this conversion and a pledge of personal discipleship. The focus here is more on the believer’s conscious reception of God’s grace.
Click here to begin the process of having your child dedicated.