Why Family Ministry? And why Milestones?
At First Baptist Millersville, we want to come alongside families to help them meet Jesus, grow in Jesus, and serve Jesus. For that reason, we have structured our family ministry around key Milestones in the lives our church members. These Milestones give direction to all of our ministries from birth through adulthood. Our aim as a church is not to replace the spiritual authority and responsibility given to parents by God, rather, we aim to equip and support parents and young people at each stage of life. Each Milestone has particular goals and is to be celebrated by the whole church.
Family Ministry in the home takes place primarily through faith talks or family devotions. We encourage parents to have intentional times of reading the Bible, talking about the Bible, and praying with their children each week. In addition, we want to help parents and caregivers talk about God and his Word throughout their lives during informal conversations that happen as they are around the home, as they travel, as they go to sleep, and as they wake up (Deut. 6:7).
What are the Milestones?
Milestone #1 Family Commitment / Parent Dedication
Target Ages: 0-2
This Milestone is all about helping parents and families understand their God-given role and responsibility to raise up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). A church-wide commitment ceremony takes place each August in which parents and the church body each commit to fulfilling their biblical responsiblities.
Milestone #2 Salvation and Baptism
Target Ages: 3-9
By far the most important Milestone, we desire that every man, woman, and child would have a time in their life in which they enter into a personal relationship with Jesus through repentance and faith (see Meeting Jesus). Once a young person has become a Christian, we believe the Bible teaches that baptism by immersion should follow as an outward sign and public testimony of an individual's conversion.
Milestone #3 Stepping into Adolescence
Target Ages: 9-11
Milestone 3 is directed toward helping our pre-teens understand and embrace their identity in Christ. We want to help our young people navigate the difficult waters of these transitional years through developing a deeper understanding of the gospel and God's Word. We encourage fathers and mothers to take their sons and daughters for a roadtrip or special time away from home to discuss these issues and prepare them for their teenage years.
Milestone #4 Commitment to Purity
Target Ages: 12-14
This Milestone aims to help young people affirm the biblical teachings on purity and holiness for all of life. Through the gospel, purity is possible and forgiveness is available. Teaching for this Milestone is offered to help equip parents and young people to develop biblical convictions and walk in purity. In additional to a public celebration ceremony during a worship service, a family celebration is also recommended for this Milestone in which parents affirm and encourage their son or daughter in their commitment to life-long purity.
Milestone #5 Rite of Passage
Target Ages: 15-16
As young people learn to drive and develop more independence, this Milestone seeks to encourage them to grow as godly young men and godly young women. This season of life presents an opportunity to develop biblical convictions and embrace their faith as their own. We suggest a family celebration to mark the young person's rite of passage as an emerging adult.
Milestone #6 Entering Adulthood
Target Ages: 17-18
This Milestone seeks to help equip young people develop a Christian worldview as they prepare to enter adulthood. Issues include training in how to defend and share one's faith in the public square, think biblically about vocation, and understand how Christianity relates to the arts. A church-wide ceremony and meal help to celebrate this Milestone.
Milestone #7 Life in Christ
Target Ages: 18+
Milestone 7 is aimed toward life-long habits of abiding in Christ through engaging in personal spiritual disciplines (Bible reading and prayer), living on mission to take the gospel to the world, and serving the local church body with a person's spiritual gifts.