The dictionary defines “milestone” as an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development. With this in mind, what would be the spiritual milestones in a child’s life that can be celebrated by the family? Consider the following key events in a child’s life and make mental notes as to how these might be celebrated.
- Birth – A great idea for expectant parents is to offer them training on their child-to-be’s spiritual growth. Such training should include trust development, conversion, baptism and the Lord’s supper.
- Introduction to “Big Church” – Some churches prepare “Big Enough” bags for preschoolers who are transitioning into Big Church. The bag can contain “quiet” items for the child to use during worship…listening pages that can be drawn on, crayons, markers, chenille stems, etc. Part of this experience should also include a time of training for parents to help them know that children learn the most about worship by watching their parents.
- First Grade Bible Presentation – With a child’s entrance into Kindergarten or First Grade, many churches have a meaningful Bible presentation. If the church does not choose to give each child a Bible, parents need help in knowing what kind of Bible to choose for their child’s use.
- New Christian Class – Effective New Christian classes give each child an opportunity to validate their decision to become a follower of Jesus. The class takes on the most meaning when the child creates a “journal” of his spiritual experiences. Check out “I’m a Christian Now” at www.lifeway.com.
- Baptism – Just having extended family members attend a child’s baptism helps to communicate the importance of this step of obedience. A family meal and a special time of prayer can be very encouraging for children.
- First Lord’s Supper – Perhaps the best way to celebrate a child’s first Lord’s Supper is just to have a family conversation. This time can let all members of the family review how this step is a public expression of a child’s conversion.
- Discipleship Training – Helping children develop the Christian disciplines is of great importance. One way to celebrate this experience is for the church to give children both volumes of “I’m a Christian, Now What?” Both of these are 90 journals/activity books designed to teach kids about prayer, the importance of Bible reading, the life of Jesus and more. These can be reviewed at www.lifeway.com.
The most important thing that parents can do at these very important times in a child’s life is to spend “time” with their child. Children spell love T-I-M-E. Verbal affirmation and giving time for questions and needed dialogue speak volumes to kids. Celebration with parties, gifts, etc. is nice…but such rewards can often cause children to make premature spiritual decisions. Just saying…