It’s time to celebrate! The Church is definitely familiar with celebrations; the Church Year, in fact, is a calendar full of days in which we thank God for all He’s done.
Since we’re so accustomed to celebrate and praise God for His gifts, we can continue this celebration and commemoration into the lives of God’s people to remind members of God’s love and care for them. Take time to thank our Lord for His love in the lives of His people! As a congregation finds milestones to celebrate in the Christian life, members build stronger relationships with one another.
Three tips for getting started with faith milestones
- Establish your boundaries. As you begin, decide how many milestones to celebrate. That list may eventually grow, but just pick a few for the first year or two—and do them well.
- Share the joy (and work!). While a main coordinator for milestone celebration is helpful for keeping everything together, think about ways to involve individuals or groups for different events. Look below for the “Helping Hands” ideas for those who can help. If your church doesn’t have many groups for delegating, pick out a few individuals per event. Ask around, and give people choices based on their interest.
- Set a budget. Overextending can quickly drain the momentum right out of this effort. Start small; these events are to be thoughtful, not impressive. Small gestures can go a long way.
Possible Faith Milestones for Your Church
Obviously, this is a big milestone in any life. The church can take this occasion to wrap the family in love and care. Provide a family devotional or a prayer blanket. Send a hot meal or gift card their way. Extend a personal invitation to the family to worship, and introduce the little one to the congregation.
Helping Hands: women’s ministry, Sunday School, 20s/30s group
The importance of this event cannot be overstated as God’s grace abounds and He claims His child as His own. The joy of welcoming a new member to God’s family is incredible! Provide a card from your Nursery Roll packet, and have all attending worshipers sign it. While the family takes photos, ask to snap one too. Post the photo in a prominent place, adding to a Baptism collage. For little ones, celebrate this event by giving a small memento for the family and child. Give a parenting devotional or a soft toy. For older individuals, offer a small gift card or a picture frame for the day. Every year, have a luncheon to celebrate the Baptisms of the past twelve months.
Helping Hands: Toddlin’ to Jesus, Bible class, altar guild, quilters
School StartingEvery fall, invite students of every age to bring their backpacks to church. Gather all the students for a special prayer during the service. Provide a small keepsake for their bags (a keychain, a pin, a zipper) to remind them of God’s presence with them always.
Helping Hands: Sunday School, grade school, men’s club
Families often celebrate this special day after the service, so find other times to make this milestone memorable. Provide a lunch for all the families a week or two before, and invite special guests to say a few words of congratulations (school principal, youth group leaders, DCEs, head elder). Give each confirmand a gift from the congregation. Prayer books, devotionals, banners, and bookmarks are popular ideas.
Helping Hands: women’s ministry, Sunday School, elders
For a high school student, graduation can be a defining milestone. Recognize those who are moving on to new endeavors and vocations: work, military, family, college, and the like. Include them in a prayer during church. Hold a cookie party right after the service so individuals can congratulate them personally. Make sure they know they still have a church home, even if they’re moving away. Wrap up “survival kits” or “care packages” with Kleenex, snacks, ear buds, a personal Bible study, and other fun additions. Have a handful of members add notes to each box, complete with prayers and words of encouragement.
Helping Hands: youth group, 20s/30s group, church council
Weddings are full of public celebration. Keep the excitement going! Every year, recognize couples who are celebrating a “5” anniversary (fifteen, thirty, sixty-five). This could be a time for these individuals to reaffirm their promises to each other. The congregation has an opportunity to encourage these couples, and the couples give a witness to the blessing of marriage. Gifts can be provided for each couple.
Helping Hands: couples group, family life ministry, senior members
This can be both an exciting and challenging time for individuals. The church can send a card to those who have recently retired, offering congratulations as well as words of encouragement. A small gift bag can include sunglasses, working gloves, and a gas card to uplift the new vocations the retired member may enjoy.
Helping Hands: Sunday School, Bible class, senior members
The list could go on for . . . a lifetime! Let this list be a starting point for your church to identify specific milestones for your congregation members. Thank our Lord, who is with us through every milestone, for blessing our lives with His love, presence, and forgiveness.
Looking for even more ideas? Browse our milestones series on cph.org.