Raising children is both a wonderful and bewildering experience. God entrusts precious lives to our care for eighteen years.
This is not a journey that should be taken lightly or taken alone. One of my goals, as a Pastor of Faith Formation in the local church, is to create spaces and systems that will empower families to connect to community in order to walk with their children through the journey from birth to adulthood.
This image marks nine significant milestones that help families to track and celebrate the process of spiritual growth and faith formation in the young person’s life.
If you find this resource helpful, feel free to download it and use it within your own context: as a family, or as a congregation.
Click through the slideshow above to see how these nine milestones lay on the journey from birth to adulthood. The church seeks to accompany families along the first steps of a child’s faith journey.
“I am a child of God”
This is where the journey begins. Baptism marks our birth into the family of God. The creator gives us the gift of life, drowns the power of Sin and Death, and raises us to new life in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Water is the power of life and the symbol of the Holy Spirit who sustains and empowers us for the journey.
“I can talk to God”
The journey of interacting with the larger world begins when we set off to school. Our social boundaries expand from the safety of our family as we learn to interact with people who are different than our family. This is when we teach children the importance of prayer. We can talk to God anywhere, and God is with us when we head off to school.
3rd Grade Bibles
“I can read God’s story”
There is great power and freedom when we are able to read on our own. The stories of God’s interaction with people is recorded in scripture. These stories point us to Jesus and shape our own identity. At this milestone we encourage children and families to read God’s story together and see how our stories fit into God’s story.
“I can eat at God’s table”
We are invited to eat at God’s Table, as part of God’s family. We have always been a part of the family, but by fifth grade we can begin to understand the meaning behind the meal. We come together as the body of Christ to share in the body and blood of Christ.
5th Grade Celebration
“I am ready for Confirmation”
The shift from elementary school to middle school marks the beginning of the adolescent journey. It is time to say goodbye to childhood and celebrate the beginning of the journey to Confirmation. It can be a rocky road, but we are all in it together.
Youth Service Projects/Trips
“I can serve my neighbor”
Jesus commissioned us to reach out into the world and love our neighbors. It is an important part of the journey to participate in an extended, intentional, immersive service experience. This can be mission trips, serving at VBS, or camp.
Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation)
“I can own my faith”
Parents, sponsors, and families make promises at baptism to raise a child in the community of faith. These promises are made for the child. But now, the training is over and it is time to stand before the congregation and say, “YES! I affirm the promises made for me, and I seek to grow in faith because these are now my promises, too!” The child is now the adult member of the congregation.
“I can drive”
One of the biggest moments of growth and independence in a young life is the earning of a driver’s license. This moment needs to be recognized by the faith community as we all recognize the communal responsibility we have to drive safely and be a part of society on the roads.
High School Graduation
“I am ready to go!”
The young life journey comes to an end. It is time for families to open the door and allow the young adult to move out into the broader world of adulthood. It has been a great journey, and the best is yet to come!
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