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 and dedication are similar, but not the same. Baptism is a sacrament that looks forward to God’s searching, seeking and finding us. Dedication is a practice developed in relation to believer baptism and points to the parent’s commitment to raise their child in a way that teaches of God’s love.
When parents bring their child for baptism, they acknowledge in the sacrament, God’s promise and the unmerited gift of God’s redeeming grace. Its emphasis is not on our response, but on what God has already graciously done for us through Jesus Christ.
Parents who dedicate their child look forward to the day when the child hears, 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.