Faith Nurture, Family Ministry
Family Faith Formation Resources | Milestones
May 28, 2021
Updated October 4, 2021
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This article is part of the Family Faith Formation Toolkit - a collection of resources for equipping ministry leaders, parents, and caregivers with family faith practices and resources, brought to you by Faith Formation Ministries.
In the following links you’ll find creative resources and practices for marking milestones to use both in community and at home. These ideas can be seamlessly woven into existing church programs and into family life.
Milestones: In Community
“As God’s family we need to pause at important moments to acknowledge God’s presence and faithfulness and celebrate as a community how God is at work. One of the ways to do that is by marking the faith milestones in our lives.”
—Celebrating the Milestones of Faith by Robert Keeley and Laura Keeley
In addition to marking milestones in various ways during worship or at other times when God’s big family is gathered, the acknowledgment of milestones in the lives of all ages within your congregation provides your church with an opportunity to equip families with tools they can continue to use at home. For resources related to specific milestones such as Bible presentations, Baptisms, Communion, Death and more, see the Family Faith Formation Resources by Topic tab of the Family Faith Formation toolkit.
We recommend the following excellent resources:
For examples of how different churches celebrate milestones and a list of books for further reading, head over to the Intergenerational Faith Formation: Rituals and Milestones page on the Faith Formation Learning Exchange site.
Celebrating the Milestones of Faith: A Guide for Churches includes information on how to define a milestone, suggestions for building and organizing an effective milestone ministry in your church, and practical resources for milestone celebrations.
The article Passing on Faith—Milestone to Milestone lays out four basic elements of a milestones ministry (naming and marking, equipping, blessing, gifting), suggests next steps for congregations, and identifies both the challenges and benefits of a milestones ministry.
Two Fuller Institute posts, Leveraging Milestones: Making Spiritual Conversations Normal at Home and Milestones of Faith, outline the steps to take when considering how to be more intentional about marking milestones as a faith community.
Milestones Ministry is an organization dedicated to providing churches with coaching and practical resources (including Blessing Bowls and Gifting Stones) to help nurture faith through the marking of milestones at church and at home.
You’ll find many excellent ideas to share with families for marking milestones in Traci Smith’s book Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home.
Milestones: At Home
“Celebrating faith milestones with your family is a wonderful way to remind kids that God is faithful and present in all the details of their lives” —Karen Deboer, Home Grown Handbook for Christian Parenting)
It’s not unusual for North American families to acknowledge special occasions—birthdays, starting school, losing a tooth, riding a bike, obtaining a driver’s license, leaving home, etc.—in the lives of their children. One important way to equip families to nurture faith at home is to help them see those dates as opportunities to remember and to acknowledge God’s faithfulness.
For example, help families think more deeply about birthday and graduation celebrations by sharing with them the following ideas:
Psalm 139:13-16 is a beautiful reading for a birthday celebration; so is the picture book When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner.
These downloadable notes from Parent Cue provide a wonderful way to bless a graduate with the gift of affirmation from caring people in their life. (Imagine doing this as a church family and presenting graduates with notes from ministry leaders and others in God’s family who have been active in their lives. Or making them available for children’s ministry leaders to fill out and give to the kids in their group at the end of an education year.)
Give a graduate the gift of a Bible that has been personalized by family members and other people of significance in their life by highlighting favorite verses and adding notes to the margins. Learn how one family did this in The Cookbook Bible.
And here are two general resources that families can use at home for their own acknowledgment of milestones:
Milestones Ministry creates beautiful Blessing Bowls and Gifting Stones that families can use to mark a wide variety of events, including new beginnings, loss, going to school, first communion, learning the Lord’s Prayer, and more.
Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home by Traci Smith includes a section on “Ceremonies for Marking Life’s Transitions” with practical ideas to commemorate events including welcoming a new pet to the family, getting a driver’s license, beginning school, and graduation.
If you’re part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and you have questions about how to equip ministry leaders, parents, and caregivers with family faith practices and resources, one of Faith Formation Ministries’ Regional Catalyzers would love to talk with you about ideas and strategies.
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