TAKE THE VOWS,
LIVE THE VOWS
Twenty-three years ago, in response to God’s calling, I created and launched a church specifically designed to reach out to young single people who had given up on church and God. It was a unique time in the history of our culture to bring the gospel to them in a very creative and strategic way. God used it tremendously, and many young men and women embraced the gospel, put their faith in Jesus Christ and began to follow him. I will never forget our first several retreats, almost 235 young people got baptized! I was passionate, committed and determined to teach them the ways of God, and teach them to walk in His truth found in the Bible. I also knew that many would eventually fall in love, and begin to marry and start their own families. I was determined to teach them God’s design for marriage and the family, and instruct them how to raise godly children, showing them by my own example, and teaching them how to be the kind of dads and moms God intended them to be.
One of the traditions I began at this church, as new babies were born to these couples, was to have a baby dedication ceremony on a regular basis throughout the year. I created this tradition for a very specific reason. I intended to have these young parents take some vows and make a commitment to strive to fulfill them. My divine inspiration for this came from this Bible passage in Malachi 2:15 NLT: “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does God want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
In reality what I was really doing was having the parents take vows, with all reverence and seriousness to dedicate and commit themselves, to the task of intentionally raising their children to love and honor God.
I would bring them all up on stage, introduce each couple and their precious child, then perform this ceremony with all of them, and pray over all of their lives. I would say each line, and then the moms and dads would repeat each line of these vows just as they did their wedding vows. It is still one of the most treasured memories of my life as I was also able to do this with all of my own grandchildren and their parents. Believe it or not, almost everytime we got through this sacred ceremony without the little children fussing or crying! God’s little miracle for us.
Today, I am sharing them with you below, and urging you Dads along with your wife, to read through them, and with all seriousness before God, make these vows yourselves. I would encourage you to print them off, sign them, date them, and carry a copy around with you in your Bible to remind you of what you vowed to do! Then live them out!
BABY DEDICATION CEREMONY/VOWS
The Malachi Ceremony
GOD HAS GIVEN EACH OF YOU PARENTS A WONDERFUL GIFT IN THESE PRECIOUS CHILDREN. GOD GAVE THEM TO YOU FOR A DIVINE PURPOSE!
HIS DIVINE PURPOSE IS THAT YOU WOULD RAISE THEM TO LOVE AND HONOR GOD.
MALACHI 2:15 NLT
DIDN’T THE LORD MAKE YOU ONE WITH YOUR WIFE? IN BODY AND SPIRIT YOU ARE HIS. AND WHAT DOES HE WANT? GODLY CHILDREN FROM YOUR UNION. SO GUARD YOURSELF. REMAIN LOYAL TO THE WIFE OF YOUR YOUTH!
CHILDREN DO NOT BECOME GODLY AND WELL TRAINED BY ACCIDENT!
GODLY CHILDREN ARE THE RESULT OF DILIGENT, SUSTAINED, INTENTIONAL EFFORT.
TODAY WE DEDICATE THESE CHILDREN TO JESUS CHRIST AND WE DEDICATE YOU PARENTS TO COMMIT YOURSELVES TO RAISE THEM TO HONOR GOD AND TRAIN THEM IN GODLY CHRISTIAN LIVING.
PARENTS, PLEASE REPEAT AFTER ME:
WE COMMIT OURSELVES TODAY, TO RAISE OUR CHILD, TO KNOW, TO LOVE, AND TO OBEY JESUS CHRIST.
AS PARENTS, WE COMMIT OURSELVES, TO HONOR AND OBEY GOD’S WORD, THE BIBLE.
WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO RAISE AND TRAIN THIS CHILD, THAT GOD MAY USE THEM FOR HIS PURPOSES.
WE UNDERSTAND THIS IS OUR SACRED RESPONSIBILITY!
WITH GOD’S GRACE AND HELP, WE WILL STRIVE TO RAISE OUR CHILDREN FOR HIM.
Ps. 50:14b NLT
I want you to fulfill your vows to the Most High!
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling