Tara Ulrich

Tara Ulrich, Diaconal Minister, First Lutheran Church, Minot, ND

“Faith milestones are a vital part of ministry in our church. They are a great way to reach out to those homes and families beyond the church walls. At the last congregation I served, many of our new families came in through our Milestones Ministry program because someone within the congregation invited them. There are currently 17 faith milestones shared at that congregation; one for almost every age. Several years ago, there was not a milestone for the four-year olds and those kids knew it, too. They would let me know that they were sad that they didn’t get a milestone that year. Thus, we added the ‘sanctuary crawl’ milestone from Vibrant Faith Ministries for those children.

I am reminded of a story I heard about one of our family’s who was visiting other family members for a funeral. At the funeral, when it came time to say the Lord’s Prayer, the children from our congregation began reciting it along with their other family members. Their cousins were surprised by this and asked how they knew the words to the Lord’s Prayer. The oldest child explained that they had these events at their church, called “milestones,” and that is how they had learned the Lord’s Prayer. (And a little child shall lead them…)

I also think of our many families who have gathered for third grade Bibles. I asked godparents, grandparents, parents and other caring adults within the family to write letters to their third graders to stick in the inside cover of their new Bible. This is an opportunity for families to share their favorite Bible verses and stories with their child. I loved watching our families as they came to our milestone classes talking about those favorite verses and stories. Milestones Ministry is just another way for us to equip homes to pass on faith and values.”