At our last YPA gathering, we discussed what were some memory makers or traditions that our groups had that really helped bring youth to God. I will add more about what we talked about soon, but one of the things I thought was interesting that we discussed we the idea of implementing "rights of passage" or "a milestone ministry." The idea is simple, when a youth or group of youth attain a certain goal, achievement, or big life milestone; we celebrate it and honor it.
As my wife, Joanna, is a children's minister; I have heard her talk about this a lot as a place that it looks like children's ministry may try to really go to. I think in many ways it could be a good thing where we help celebrate our children as the continue on their faith journey into adolescence.
So the question came up "What faith/life stages happen that would we would be able to celebrate within a youth ministry?"
Some of what we came up with:
Getting your drivers license
I think what I really got thinking about was "Bibles." How does the church encourage its young people throughout children's ministry to adulthood to read, breath, and live the scriptures? Does it?
At our church right now, we present the first Bibles to children in 3rd grade because they can now read well enough to be able to read it on their own.
The second time we present Bibles is for confirmation which happens around the 6th or 7th grade year.
The final time we present Bibles is for high school graduation.
I think that this can be a good flow to help them always have a relevant Bible for their age level.
At our YPA gathering, the idea was brought up: Is it better for the church or the parents to give the Bible?
I think that this is a great question because we want the home to be a place that encourages faith, but we also want the church to be a place for that as well. Could somehow both give it?
My wife, in her great wisdom, this past year had the church buy Bibles for the 3rd graders, but she had everyone on staff go through each Bible and highlight and sign by their favorite verse(s), she also had the parents write a note in the front of the Bible for their child and highlight their own favorite scripture verse(s). I think it is something that would be great to do at every milestone.
What if we could pick a few mile markers to celebrate with young people in our church? And what if we figured out how to have the church and home work together in that celebration? How would it help the youth, the home, and the church?