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Child Dedication Class


Here is a detailed recap of what the Child Dedication class looked like:

What did I teach?

I taught the Essence of Family talk that Reggie Joiner has taught many times before.   You can get the entirety of the talk in the book, “Think Orange.” You can also read my thoughts on the Five Essential Parenting Skills by reading the blog posts I wrote on all five of these skills. (You do read this blog, right?   Follow the links on the class description to ready along.)

The Essence of Family: At the heart of every family is a primary calling to lead a generation to the heart of a perfect, loving God.   No other passage in the Bible defines the family role as clearly as Deuteronomy 6, and in this study we will challenge parents to Imagine the End in order to stay focused on the big picture, Fight for the Heart of their families by loving God with all their hearts, Make it Personal and let kids see what God is doing in their parents, Create a Rhythm so time together as a family will nurture everyday faith, and Widen the Circle and make sure kids have additional influences to guide them.

I really love this teaching because it sits somewhere between the theoretical and the practical.   It’s not a bunch of to-do’s to make your kids obey, and neither is it a bunch of parenting philosophy.   I also added tons of my own story to this teaching, and really worked to make it my own.   I give the ReThink group and Reggie Joiner tons of credit, but I had to make it my own and fit my style.

How did I make it my own?

Before I taught a single principle, I showed off pictures of my kids.   I shared my own struggles of feeling like an inadequate parent, and my own fears for the future of my children.   I was intentional about making sure the parents in attendance knew that I was in this with them.   I was teaching, but I wanted them to know that I was simply out in front leading.   Not sharing my infinite wisdom with lesser people (not that they thought that, but I wanted us to be clear.)   I think to many times we’re scared to just be honest with parents about who we really are.   This is a strength for me, so I just put it out there for them all to see.   Sincerity is a great asset.

What was the format?

The class started at 6:40 pm (advertised for 6:30) and ended at 8:20 pm.   But I didn’t talk that entire time.   I built in 4 table talk times of 5 minutes each throughout the talk.   This was key for breaking up the classroom style, and letting families get to know each other well.   The table talk questions were general in nature, nothing very personal or revealing.   I wanted to be respectful of those that may not feel comfortable sharing. So I would teach a point, then turn it over for table talk time.   They would answer questions related to the topic I had just taught.   This went about 3-5 minutes each time.   I had Children’s Ministry leaders spread out at each table, to make sure discussion happened.   These leaders were prepped with the questions in advance, and given some direction for how to get people to open up and share.   Each person had the fill-in-the-blank notes to keep along with the class materials.   It was two pages, front and back.   I personally hate teaching where people fill in the blanks along the way, but I wanted to make sure everyone went home with material.

What was room setup?

We had 20 families in attendance, with two people from each family in attendance.   There were 7 round tables setup with the families split evenly throughout.   We had coffee, water, fruit, cookies, and other snacks setup on a few banquet tables off to the side.   I also had my entire Children’s Ministry staff and some key volunteers spread out at each table.   They were instrumental in making this work, and I can’t give them enough credit for being awesome.   I am truly blessed with a great team!

How did it end?

I assigned homework.   Not the kind of homework that is turned in, but the kind of homework that the Holy Spirit convicts them to complete.   I ended the class explaining that the reason I wanted two people from each family in attendance was so that they could hold each other accountable for the things they learned.   Part of that accountability was to go home and think through the 5 homework questions.   The questions were:

  1. Write down your vision for your child s future. What values, character and traits do you want active in their lives? What are your dreams and hopes for them?
  2. How important is it to be trusted?   Who are the people that you trust, and what about them do you want to emulate?
  3. Identify the weaknesses in yourself that you want your children to avoid.   What are they?
  4. What things can you do to help create spiritual rhythms right now? Put these on your calendar today!
  5. Who will you commit to make a part of your child s life?   Think of names and reasons why for each person.

Download: Teaching NOTES and HANDOUT.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Starr · October 14, 2009

    I was a leader at one of the tables, and the people I was sitting with seemed to love the format. The time left for discussion was enough for each person to share briefly, but not so long that there seemed to be “dead time” that needed filled. The discussion stayed lively right up until it was time to begin the teaching portion again. It was really a great class!!!

  2. Tamera Kraft · October 14, 2009

    Great article. I loved the way you brought the family into this.
    .-= Tamera Kraft ´s last blog ..Starting a Drama/Performance Team =-.

  3. Charles Hill · October 14, 2009

    great stuff bro. thank you!

  4. Katie · October 14, 2009

    I have been following your blogs during this entire experience. I work at a denomination church that has pretty much done the same thing since the dawn of time. I know it needs a change. My fear is that I do not have children. How can I teach parents?

  5. bert · March 3, 2010

    hi, i’m a young pastor in a small church in the UK. And we’ve started having a baby boom in the recent years. i’ve found your notes and concepts remarkably helpful as I work towards a better way of handling child and baby dedications.

    I was wondering, in your notes, you’ve got a quite a bit of statistics there. What’s the reference for them? Is it from the book Revolutionary Parenting?