One of the fun responsibilities I have with my job is doing baby dedications. I get to meet and interact with parents and kids, and then dedicate a child with a prayer and a little something I wrote as well. The first time I did it was late August. This was my second time, and also the first time Jana and I were teaching the Baby Dedication class that happens the week before the service.
I thought since this was my second time doing it I wouldn’t be as anxious as before, but as the day drew closer I found myself becoming more and more anxious about it. I found this funny, surprising and poignant.
It was surprising because I’d already done dedications once before. In fact, the first time I had twelve dedications to do over two services. This time around I was only doing seven of them in one service.
It was funny because most people would think there are many other things to get anxious over working in a ministry, but baby dedications isn’t one of them. In fact, here are a list of things that apparently make me less anxious than doing baby dedications, but would make most everyone else more anxious.
- leading a trip to China
- public speaking (preaching, presenting, teaching)
- acting (my long ago theater days)
- sharing my faith
- confronting someone
- parenting (for the most part)
- talking to complete strangers
watching Husker football
I’m sure I could add to that list, but that is what comes to me initially.
The week leading up to dedications I was thinking about it every day, and then I was thinking about why I was thinking about it so much.
To most everyone in the room, the dedication is going to be forgotten within a few minutes. However, for the parent or parents, it is a special moment. As a parent, I can appreciate and respect that, which is why I’m thorough in working on the dedication for each child. I do research on the names, I reference the meaning of the name with verses and individuals from the Bible, and I prayerfully consider the finished product.
Each child is unique, special…a gift from God. They should be treated as such. So I’m wanting to make sure the dedication reflects that. I don’t want it to be some run of the mill prayer, or for the dedication to be a copy of something I’ve done before. I want each dedication I come up with to be pertaining to that child. Yes, there may be some similarities between dedications, but each one is specific for the individual.
The days leading up to the service I’m going over each of the dedications and picking them apart. Once again, there is one dedication that I’m having a hard time with putting together. This happened last time as well. I keep working at it, researching verses, saying it out loud until I’m satisfied. Jana makes a great suggestion to me as I am practicing, reminding me once again how blessed I am to have her as a wife.
Saturday night, I’m in bed and I’m focused in on the dedications. I find this ridiculous, but I can’t think about anything else. I want it to be a good moment for the families. Jana asks me for my opinion about something and I tell her I’ll go with her opinion. I just want to sleep and not be distracted with something else.
I don’t sleep well. I start getting ready and I’m going through each of the dedications again. I want to make sure I know them well so I don’t stumble over my words when speaking.
We head to church and I go into the Access venue. I do a quick sound check with a lapel mic, which I’m not excited about using. Lapel mics don’t pick up the audio when you are turned away from it. Thankfully, they find an extra over-the-ear mic which makes things easier. I have Liam come up on stage during the sound check so I can practice holding someone while talking. Mic check done.
The families start coming in before the service starts. I meet with them individually, going over the game plan for it. Dedications start off the service. One of the moms is there by herself with her two kids. I ask if she’d like a friend to go up with her and help with the kids. She says yes, which is some relief to her since her boys are five and two. It’s hard on most people being on stage, with the lights on, standing in front of a 800-900 people.
9:00 AM comes and I gather the families to go on-stage with me. I start the service and dive right into the dedications. Everything goes well. The parents are blessed. The kids do well. I’m relieved. It’s a great start to the day.
After the service, I talk with some of the families. They express gratitude for the dedications and ask for copies of what I said and prayed. It’s rewarding to hear that.
The following days, at work, I touch base with Kathy McKelvey about the dedications. Kathy is on staff at CCC within the Children’s Ministry. She does a lot of prep work behind the scenes with dedications and is instrumental in making sure Children’s Ministry is effective. (Not to mention, she is a phenomenal worker in the nursery on Sunday mornings.) You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger champion of babies and families at CCC. We go over the past service and already make tentative plans for the next Baby Dedication service. (And then we talk about the Green Bay Packers.)
So, that’s some insight into my Baby Dedication Anxiety. It’s a good anxiety to have.