Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Amidst all that is changing in your home with this addition, we invite you to take a moment to focus on what matters most. At Calvary Plainfield, we rejoice over the children entrusted to us and greatly value the role parents, as well as the church family, in the process of raising children to delight in the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
We invite you to consider participating in a public service with two purposes: celebration and commissioning.
Everywhere you look in Scripture, children are given as a gracious gift from our loving Father in heaven. From the saints of old to the tender embrace of Jesus, children are presented as blessings to be celebrated and cherished. It’s good and right to publicly celebrate the gift of children given to our church; therefore we use the term “baby celebration.”
Our church exists to bring more and more glory to God by bringing the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to more and more people to become more and more like Jesus. In pursuing this mission, we include your baby among the “more and more people.”
Further, Scripture commands parents to bring up children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We believe joyful obedience to this command is carried out most effectively with the support of the local church (which is why this is for church members). In publicly celebrating our children in a worship service, our parents are committing themselves to raise their children in the way of the Lord. Doing this in front of and alongside the church body invites the encouragement, accountability, and prayer support of the congregation. In this way, the whole church family is being commissioned to play a part in supporting parents in raising their children. No one will have more influence on your child than you. At Calvary, we want to be your biggest fans, your strongest supporters, and your trusted guides as you bring up your child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We use the term “parent commissioning” to reflect our recognition and support of your essential role as the primary disciple-makers of your child(ren).
To be clear, this act does not determine a child’s salvation, for we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. May God grant our children grace to repent and believe at a young age, so that, alongside a faithful Gospel covenant community, they never know life apart from trusting and treasuring Jesus as they zealously follow him their whole lives.
Upcoming Celebration and Commissioning
Our next celebration/commissioning will look something like this:
- Reading of Scripture (e.g. Psalm 127:3-5)
- Explanation & Declaration of Intent
A pastor will say something like this: “This morning we, as a church, praise God for his kindness to us, especially in entrusting us with little children. What a gracious gift these children are to our church body. What we are doing today does not save our children—salvation is from the Lord and comes by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. But we do hope today is a significant day; we hope that today affirms our commitment as a church family and as parents to seek God’s blessings to help us make disciples—to bring more and more glory to God the Father by bringing the Gospel, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to more and more people, including these babies, to make us more and more like Jesus. And today we celebrate the gift of children to us.”
- Invite Families to Come Forward and Introduce them
- Public Commissioning of Parents
A pastor will say something like this: “In seeking to fulfill our mission as a church, we have the opportunity to disciple the littlest ones among us. In doing so we joyfully obey the commands of Scripture like Ephesians 6:4, which says, ‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.’ With this in mind, we have entered a covenant together to raise our children in the gospel. Our church covenant reads, ‘We will train our children in the instruction of the Lord, seeking to walk in a way that adorns the gospel of Christ before our family, friends, and neighbors.’
“Will you commit to raising your children in the gospel of our Lord, first and foremost by your example as you follow Christ wholeheartedly? [“We will.”]
“Will you commit to raising your children in the gospel of our Lord by your teaching, actively communicating the truth of God’s word to your children? [“We will.”]
“Will you pray for your children regularly and raise them in the fellowship of a church that teaches God’s word faithfully and worships Jesus Christ wholeheartedly?” [“We will.”]
- Public Commissioning of Church
A pastor will ask church members to stand, saying something like this: “Raising children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is not a task for the parents alone; it’s a joyful opportunity for us all. We are in covenant together to teach children here the gospel of Jesus and the delight found in him. This happens as you show children what it looks like to follow Jesus; this happens as you teach them in our programmed ministries; this happens as we live life together helping each other delight in Jesus.
“Will you, by God’s grace, do all in your power to pray for these children and parents regularly, walk alongside them in faith humbly, and consider how you might build them up in Christ-like maturity?” [“Amen.”]
- Prayer of Celebration & Commissioning
A pastor will close with a prayer celebrating the gift of children to our church and ask for God’s help in raising them in the gospel of Jesus Christ.