A milestone is any event in the lives of children, youth, or adults that we can use to celebrate and nurture faith development. Faith formation is a lifelong journey that begins in baptism. By celebrating milestones along the way, we recognize the ways that God is present in our lives. We celebrate what God is doing with, through, and among us as we grow in faith together.
Most milestones includes a workshop (usually held on a Saturday) for families, followed by a special time of blessing during a worship service.
Baptism welcomes us into God’s family. This milestone is celebrated on an individual basis and begins with a consultation with the pastors. All those baptized at St. Paul are gifted with a quilt as a reminder of the way God’s love surrounds us.
Stepping Into Sunday School (age 3)
Celebrated in September, this milestone recognizes the exciting step our children make as they enter Sunday School. The workshop time includes time for parents to explore ways to fulfill the promises made in baptism through faith practices in the home. It also allows the children a time to get acquainted with their Sunday School teachers, classroom, and some of the regular activities that take place in Sunday School. This milestone is celebrated annually in September
Stepping Into God’s Word (grade 3 and up)
As students become independent readers, it is a natural time to fulfill the baptismal promise to place the scriptures into the hands of our children. In a workshop conducted in the fall (usually in October) Families learn some basics about the Bible as well as ways to use the scriptures for daily reading and family devotions. Children are each presented with a Bible of their own in worship. This workshop is held in January each year
Welcome to the Lord’s Table (grade 2 and up)
As Lutherans, we recognize that one way God’s grace comes to us is in the celebration of Holy Communion. This milestone is usually celebrated in the weeks preceding Holy Week/Easter and allows families to discover Jesus’ promises to us in the last supper that we celebrate in Holy Communion. At the end of this workshop students celebrate their first communion during Holy Week services. This milestone is normally held the weekend of Palm Sunday each year
Middle School Milestones (grade 6-8)
Three different milestones are celebrated as a part of our confirmation program. These are usually held on a Monday evening in October. The three topics include
1) Stewardship: Youth feel financial pressures every day—from advertisers, peer pressure, and various marketing techniques. This milestone is designed to open family conversations about money and spending. Using material developed by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, families will discuss ways to use our financial resources that connect with our Christian values. Concepts of sharing, saving, spending, and investing are all addressed as a part of developing a personal spending plan with your teens.
2) Bullying (A Middle School Milestone.): Young people are in a world where bullying and social pressures are increasingly difficult to navigate. Most students will have involved in a bullying incident in their life in some way by the time they reach middle school, and usually have had several experiences. This milestone lays the groundwork for discussions in the family about bullies and abuse and seeks to empower students to make healthy choices in their daily interactions with peers.
3) Imago Dei (Image of God):Self-image is an important part of the teenage years. Understanding that we are each uniquely created by a loving God is helpful for students still forming their self-identity as they grow through Middle School. This milestone encourages youth and parents to look for the image of God in themselves, to affirm what they see in each other, and to celebrate every member of the family as a wonderful part of God’s creation.
Confirmation (grade 8)
At the end of our three-year Confirmation program, students are given the opportunity to make public affirmation of their baptism. Usually celebrated the third Sunday in May, students make profession of faith in worship and continue their faith journey as full members of the congregation. In the final preparations for this milestone, families make plans to serve in ministries of the congregation and commit to continuing on the journey of faith that began in baptism. This celebration is held the Sunday after Mother’s Day each year.
Stepping Into the World (high school graduation)
As our students graduate, we celebrate with families and we recognize the ways our youth move toward independence. Celebrated in early June, graduates each receive a quilt to take with them into the next stage in their lives as a reminder of the love and care of their families and the congregation. There is also a very special time of blessing for our students as well as for the parents of the graduates. This milestone is celebrated in June each year.
Renewal of Vows
Celebrate your marriage by renewing your vows! A special blessing will be offered in worship for all who wish to participate, with a celebration in the fireside room between the services. Couples are invited to bring photos from your wedding day to display. This workshop is held once every 2-3 years during February.
Honoring our Veterans
A milestone designed to be held every 2-4 years as we lift up our veterans and service men and women in prayer. This milestone is celebrated around Veterans day,
We will recognize those in our congregation who have left the work force and entered a new phase in their lives. The adult forum topic for the day will be centered around preparing and maintaining financial security in the retirement years. During worship we will celebrate the contributions of our retirees, and renew their Christian vocation among us. This workshop is held every 2-3 years, usually during the month of October.
Celebrating Our Elders (age 85 and older)
A life-long faith is something to be celebrated! During a worship service in the spring we recognize the ways our older members have passed the faith along to the following generations. This milestone is celebrated in the spring.
For more information and resources about Milestone Ministry, visit the Vibrant Faith Ministries website.