These nine mileposts will help guide you on your parenting journey. Bringing up kids in faith is not always easy, but we have a plan and that plan is motivated by love of kids and faithfulness to God.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Praying for and Blessing Your Baby
Children are such an incredible blessing from the Lord. It’s amazing to think God knows your child, before he or she is born, and He chose you to parent His new creation. While you may be going through the physical changes of growth during pregnancy and infancy, or eagerly awaiting the adoption of your child, you can also be cultivating your child’s spiritual growth and development.
We are eager to walk with you on this journey as you seek to raise your child to know Christ. You can begin by praying for and blessing your child, even before they are born. Once your child arrives, continue to pray for and offer blessings upon your children. Develop these practices and habits now to lay a foundation that will have an eternal effect on your child’s life.
- Baptism vs. Dedication
- How to pray scripture over your children
- How to pray blessings over your children
A new life is a time of celebration for you and your church family. As a marker for this Milepost we encourage you to dedicate or baptize your infant.
We are happy to meet with your family privately to answer any questions and plan for dedication or baptism. We schedule these services throughout the year to mark this event in your family life and affirm that we as a church body are going to encourage and walk alongside of you as you raise your child.
- No upcoming events are scheduled
After your child has been dedicated or baptized, we encourage you to mark this time together as a family. Extended family and friends are certainly welcome to attend the worship service and we encourage you to continue the celebration with them. Document this special day with photos and perhaps write a letter to your child to be opened at a later date. The letter could contain your prayers and desires for your child as they grow and could be given to them as they reach a future Milepost in their faith development.
- Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt, 2008
- A Mother’s Guide to Blessing Her Children by Quin Sherrer, 2011
Knowing and Loving God Through Everyday Conversations
What an exciting time of growth for your child! Curiosity, questioning, and pushing boundaries often mark these years. Kids are growing physically, cognitively, and emotionally. It’s also important to help your child to grow spiritually. The Holy Spirit is already at work in the life of your preschooler and you can come alongside the good work He has already begun.
Your faith should also be on display at this time as you nurture your child. While you are continuing to pray for and bless your child, you can also begin to help them know key truths about God. The resources for this Milepost are intended to serve as a springboard for natural conversations about who God is and can be woven into your family routine. They include truth statements about God, simple verses to remember, songs, and prayers.
- Deuteronomy 6 is our call to action
- Spiritual Parenting Workshop
Each spring we hold a preschool affirmation celebration during a worship service. This is a time for the congregation to reaffirm their promise to encourage you on your journey of raising your child. Your child will also have an opportunity to share his or her growing faith.
Age appropriate verses, songs, and simple verses are available online that you can begin to teach your children.
These days of raising young children can be so busy and pass so quickly. We encourage you to take time around the preschool celebration to gather with friends and family, pause and reflect on how faithful God is and celebrate His goodness at work in the life of your preschooler and your family.
For your child:
- Toddler Bible The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, 2007
- The Big God Story by Michelle Anthony, 2010
- Homefront Weekly
- Homefront Monthly
- Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony, 2010
Using and Caring for God’s Word
As your child grows and becomes a fluent reader, now is an excellent time to begin the spiritual discipline of reading our Bibles. More than just having a Bible, we need to use them. We help you discover creative ways for you, as a family, to dig into God’s word together and turn your children’s Bibles into a scrapbook of their lives with God.
During these elementary school years, your child learns how to care for and use a Bible. Habits aren’t formed overnight so provide your child with more structure at the beginning. Be patient, give grace, and model these habits in your own life. Your child will be focusing on developing a regular reading plan, learning the books of the Bible, and how to use the table of contents and concordance.
- Spiritual Parenting Workshop
- Spiritual Parenting Goals for this age
- Developing a Family Mission Statement
- Practical ideas on using the Bible as a scrapbook
- Practical ideas on how to help your child learn the Bible (i.e. Books of the Bible, verses to memorize)
Every fall, we present our first graders with a Bible as a gift from their church family at PLCC. Older children who may not have previously received one will also be presented a Bible. As a church, we reaffirm our commitment to walking alongside you and your child as they grow in God’s word.
Celebrate the day your child receives their Bible from PLCC. Perhaps guide them to a passage to read as your family celebrates over a meal. Record your child’s name inside their new Bible. The family celebration need not be limited to just this particular day, continue to use and celebrate the gift God has given us in the Bible.
Write your family mission statement. Describe the desires you have for your children as they grow, who you want them to be, and who Gods wants them to be. Include your children in the discussion and display the finalized family mission statement in your home.
Growing in the Body of Christ Through Baptism & Communion
If your child has not yet participated in the sacrament of communion, now is a good time to review with your child why we take communion.
Also, if your child was not baptized as an infant, now is an appropriate age to begin discussions around baptism.
As children learn about communion and baptism, they’re learning about their own story in Christ. The next step in their spiritual journey revolves around their testimony of who Jesus Christ is in their life and sharing Him with others. As they recognize their own place in God’s story, children will also learn about the historic creeds in Christianity defining why we celebrate them in church today.
- Spiritual Parenting Environments
- Teaching your children about communion and baptism
- Practical ideas to help your child learn the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and Psalm 23
- First Communion When your child is ready to celebrate their first communion, please let us know. We would like the opportunity to pray with your family as well as acknowledge it at the communion table. Contact Pastor Nancy
- Baptism These services are scheduled throughout the year. Please check with staff for the next scheduled baptism. We generally encourage celebrating baptisms in a public location as a way to share our faith with our community.
- No upcoming events are scheduled
When your child is preparing to take communion for the first time, be sure to spend time praying with them the week prior to communion. In addition to understanding the theological aspects of communion, walk them through the logistical pieces – how we line up, ways to receive the elements, and the actual partaking of the bread and juice.
As you make preparations for baptism, mark the date on the calendar. Invite family and friends to witness the baptism and join in the celebration. The date marked on the calendar is a milepost anniversary of your child’s decision to commit their life to Christ. This date is also a yearly reminder to look back over the year at the spiritual growth and maturity in your child.
Preparing for Adolescence
We’re deeply committed to bringing the presence of God into the lives of children everywhere they go. The teen years are a critical time in the lives of our children as they struggle to grow and to find their own identity.
As they move into a new school and find new freedoms, it’s important for parents and students to talk with one another and for the congregation to support their faith development.
PLCC presents each middle school student with a magnetic mirror to use in school lockers, to remind them they are ‘created in God’s image.’
- Resources and tools are given to help your children navigate through middle school
- Spiritual conversations to have with your children at home
- Information on the upcoming formation opportunities during the teenage years
- Thunder Retreat
- Campbell Farm Mission Trip
Ignite Kickoff Meeting – Families and students are invited for a celebratory meal; parents present their child with a Middle School NIV Bible in which they’ve written a personal blessing and highlighted a special verse for them.
Continue celebrating when you return home from the Ignite Kickoff Meeting—continue the conversations.
- Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager by Anthony E. Wolf, 2002, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Surviving Middle School: Essential Tools to Prepare You for the Road Ahead by Rick Bundschuh, 2013, Authentic Publishers
- NIV Student Bible edited by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford, 2011, Zondervon
Getting Service into Student’s DNA
This Milepost is not as age specific as the others. As students enter into their teen years, we believe it is important for them to be invited into situations where they learn the value of serving others. Our experience has been that this is when God does some of his best life-changing work in the lives of teens. Students can, through a positive serving experience, move from being self-focused to being other-focused.
During their teen years, there are many opportunities provided for students to participate in mission trips both locally and globally. We also believe that students can serve meaningfully within the church. Depending on age and interest, they can serve with younger kids as ushers and greeters, help serve lattes in the café, and join the worship team on a Sunday morning.
Church Celebration and Vision
Each year, in late August we have a gathering that celebrates our students who have served in the church and on mission trips that year. Students talk about what they have learned through serving others and are given a tangible symbol of a tree shoot. It represents the seeds that have been planted by their service that year. Student’s and parents are encouraged to plant it in a place where they can watch it grow, and become a reminder of God’s growth in the lives of those we serve as well as in our own lives.
Parents of students who serve or go on a mission trip are given a spiritual conversation page that helps you connect with your teen’s experience. It also includes a number of ways you can celebrate your son or daughter’s service.
Service and Mission Opportunities
Pursuing Purity in All of Life
In today’s culture, it’s not easy to stay pure, making it important to celebrate and affirm your teenager’s commitments to purity. It has become imperative for parents of Middle School aged students to address the topic of purity from a Biblical perspective. Parents often find themselves overwhelmed and ill equipped to interact with their children regarding these issues.
It is more than just sexual purity, but whole life purity. We partner with parents and students for conversations around speech, choices, thoughts and actions. While this milepost is not a guarantee for pure living, our hope is that it can provide a foundation for when decisions will be made in the future.
There are three meetings beginning in January to help prepare you as parents to engage your teenager’s in conversation about purity. Resources are provided to help you realistically encourage your student in today’s world.
During a worship service in February, students making commitments to purity are recognized by name and prayed for by the congregation.
In a private celebration for teens and their parents, students are presented a candle as a tangible symbol of their purity. Parents bless their child for their decision.
Follow up at home with additional conversations and affirmations.
- Why True Love Waits: The Definitive Book on How to Help Your Kids Resist Sexual Pressure by Josh D. McDowell, 2002
- Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers by Chap Clark, 2011
- Every Young Man’s Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, Mike Yourkey, 2009
- Mom, Sex is No Big Deal! Becoming Your Daughter’s Ally in Developing a Healthy Sexual Identity by Sharon Hersh, (Paperback) April 18, 2006
- Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama about Sex by Craig Cross, Craig Gross and Mike Foster (Zondervan)
Preparing for Confirmation or Baptism
Life is full of meaningful moments. Celebrating mileposts is one way to help bring an awareness of God’s presence into the home and into the rituals of daily life.
Confirmation is part of a student’s baptismal journey. It is not a graduation but rather it marks the beginning of a new chapter as a part of the faith community. A vitally important milepost, Confirmation includes the congregation, families, and mentors who have been involved in nurturing faith in these students.
Students interested in exploring Confirmation or Baptism will be invited to participate in a year-long mentorship program as they learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
The Journey is a year-long discipleship and Confirmation class for students to explore God’s Word, the history of our faith, and the importance of living a Christian life.
Within this curriculum, created by the Evangelical Covenant Church, there are opportunities not only for education in Biblical truth, but also for students to come face to face with the call of Jesus to enter into a personal relationship with him and grow in their faith. This experience often leads to the next step of Baptism. If a student has been baptized it is a moment where they affirm that baptism, if they have not been baptized it is an opportunity to become baptized.
The Journey helps students encounter Christ personally, grow deeper in faith and understanding, discuss spiritual and faith ideas with parents. They develop a pattern of personal devotions, deepen relationships with their mentors, the church, the pastor and other Christians, and prepare for spiritual leadership.
Celebrate the Confirmation year during the worship service on the first Sunday in June. The church and congregation honor and celebrate the confirmands and the work God has done in their lives.
Parents are encouraged to bless their child throughout the year.
- Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids by Kara E. Powell and Chap Clark, 2011
- NIV Life Application Study Bible published by Zondervan, 2011
- The Journey Student Journals —Old and New Testaments
Continuing the Faith Journey After Graduation
Graduation is celebrated as a completion of high school followed by important new choices for future life paths. This is a time for the graduate, family and congregation to be very intentional about continued faith connections. It’s a time to help graduates take responsibility for deliberate plans in a continuing faith journey.
The Life in Christ milepost is a special time for graduates and their parents to focus on their relationship without the distraction of other siblings, as the church will be providing childcare.
“All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder.” Being intentional about the ladder and the work necessary to get there is the only way to reach the goal.
Arrival at a goal does not just happen. To reach the goal requires intentionality to stay connected to the journeying ladder of faith.
What is the ladder? What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
- Worship – In mid-June, all high school graduates will be honored and blessed during the worship service.
- Graduation Dessert – A special evening for graduates and their parents to celebrate and bless their child as they graduate from high school focusing on caring conversations, shared stories and memories, a time of reflection together.
Mark this important milepost in your child’s faith story. Focus on sharing stories about memories. Provide a reflective time together and bless your senior as they continue along the path of their faith journey.
- Suggestions to spark caring conversations
- Resources and ideas for blessing your child as they make plans for his or her continuing faith journey.
- Jesus Calling Devotional by Sarah Young, 2004