Our church leadership is talking about faith milestones. What are they, and why should we be interested?
Faith milestones are celebrations of events in the lives of members of your congregation where the focus is on God’s faithfulness. Such celebrations are not new, although using the term faith milestones is more recent.
Two faith milestones are already part of the life of Christian Reformed congregations: baptism and profession of faith. Baptism is a sacrament, but profession of faith and other milestones are not. In our congregation, we celebrate all faith milestones gathered around the baptismal font to recall God’s promises to us.
Our congregation regularly celebrates two other milestones. Each February we give Bibles to all children in second grade, and all high school seniors receive blankets each May. For new readers in second grade, the gift of a Bible recognizes the importance of God’s Word in their lives. Blankets remind high school seniors that wherever they go they continue to be wrapped up in God’s love and in our love. The presentations include a short talk about God’s faithfulness.
Your church might want to consider recognizing many other faith milestones: retirement, entering middle school, wedding anniversaries, or even getting a driver’s license. The point is to reflect on important moments in our lives with the congregation so we can all hear about God’s faithfulness to us and rejoice together.
It is tempting to use events such as graduations to talk about the accomplishments of the seniors or what great people they are. After all, these young people have grown up in the church and have been part of congregational life. But by focusing on God’s faithfulness, celebrating a milestone in the life of one or many people can help grow the faith of all those in the congregation.
About the Authors
Robert J. Keeley is Professor of Education Emeritus at Calvin University and a music leader at 14th St CRC in Holland, MI.
Laura Keeley is a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries in the CRCNA and director of childrens ministries at 14th St. CRC in Holland, Mich.