Milestones Ministry

Understanding the Ages and Stages of young people for meaningful ministry

Jewish tradition demonstrates rites of passage for young people when they reach milestones.  In the Old Testament, altars were built to remember God’s faithfulness and celebrate victories.  Our current culture promotes parties for accomplishments like graduation.  What if we honored these values, but instead, put stakes of faith in the ground during moments when the church can recognize a milestone in the life of a young person and set a way for it to be intertwined with their faith, family and church?

Milestones Ministry will promote intentional celebration of life developments such as baptism, starting kindergarten, receiving Bibles, confirmation, starting middle school, starting high school, graduation and acquiring a first job. The celebration will not just be a certificate and some applause. It will include recognition of a new milestone that involves specific, intentional faith practices. Churches will be provided with the resources needed to turn the celebration of a next step into a milestone for further development with worship ideas, applicable Scripture, faith development resources, mentoring tools, and leadership development concepts.

Churches desire for young persons to be on a path of discipleship and want to make a way for young leaders to emerge.  Milestones Ministry helps churches take intentional steps in the development of young people by providing avenues for growth within the life stage they are experiencing that creates a connection between their development, faith, family and church.

In 1 Samuel 7:12 we see Samuel set up a reminder, set a stake, lay down a stone with the hope to remember the moment in time and how God showed up and helped.

There is something really valuable about looking back and noticing those moments in our lives when God showed up.  It reminds us that God is faithful.

We have the opportunity to help kids and young people put stakes of faith in their lives.

I hope we can develop this idea further and use this site as a resource to help us be intentional about laying those stones through celebration, but also much more, creating opportunities for next steps of faith development.

The hope is for this to be a living resource, full of contributions.  I wonder what you might contribute.  I wonder what new ideas we can share, use, and learn from together.

You can search for ideas when you need them or use all of the suggestions throughout the different areas of your ministry.  You don’t have to adopt a particular mindset or ministry philosophy to gain insights from the material here.  It would be great if this resource helped you develop a comprehensive approach to ministering to the kids and young people in your church, recognizing milestones and implementing faith development practices that span the life of the church, families and community.  Your congregation is different from others in your area and certainly different from the one of a different region or size, therefore, it may be best for you to browse ideas and allow them to get your mind going so you can adapt something offered here into something usable in your context.

We are also hopeful that you will contribute.  We would love for you to submit the ideas that you have done that are in line with milestones ministry.  We want to keep a living resource that grows and expands over time.  We would love for you to share your experiences with the material, to tell us what you are using and how you are adapting it so we can share your insights.  The best way to grow the resource is for everyone to contribute something to it.  At this time, the best way to do that is to share it via e-mail with Emily Krach at emily.krach@inumc.org.

Milestones are often determined by ages and stages.  We don’t get to decide if the moment we create will be a marker in a young person’s faith walk, but when we understand ages and stages of their lives, we have a chance of creating an opportunity for growth.  We hope that within your ministry you will consider how young people’s mental, emotional and physical stages impact how you approach milestones.  Please use these resources to learn more or to create a path for your ministries, and don’t forget to share with us your own ideas or resources.

If you would like to contribute to the further development of Milestones Ministry or are interested in learning more about implementation of Milestones Ministry in your church contact Emily Krach at emily.krach@inumc.org.