Milestones Ministries’ Commitment to Milestones
Both David Anderson and Debbie Streicher from the Milestones Ministry team have worked with congregations and larger church structures to help households and faith communities receive, experience and go forth into the world with the love of God in Christ by listening to those in the role of leadership and providing a basic framework and support for each setting.
The Milestones Ministry Framework of Five Principles, Four Keys, and Three Characteristics (see blue box at right for description) is a defining piece contributing to Christian lifelong formation and outreach. It offers a lens through which one understands what it means to be the body of Christ and to live as a disciple of Christ. The framework is not a program. It does not present 10 easy steps to follow Jesus. The Christian faith is not like that. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ cannot be reproduced by a neat formula or reconstructed through a 10-week program. It is a way of life that is shaped by the Holy Spirit through a daily dying to the old self and a rising to the newness of life in Christ (see Romans 6). It is about living in relationship to God in Christ via our relationships to others, and there is no program that can be substituted for daily, complex, conflicted, renewing relationships.
That way of life and of being the church in the world is embodied in Milestones Ministry. Milestones Ministry implicitly demonstrates each of the Five Principles. Faith is formed through relationships (Principle 1) and Milestones Ministry brings a cross+generational community together to nurture the Christian faith. Milestones Ministry builds on a primary partnership between the ministry of the home and the ministry of the congregation for faith formation and outreach (Principle 2). Each Milestones Ministry module helps people practice faith with the support of a congregation and in and through one’s home. Because Milestones Ministry lifts up daily life relationships, especially parents and other adult mentors, it honors the home as church, too (Principle 3). Milestones Ministry models the faith through cross+generational experiences and faith practices. This reflects Principle 4: Faith is caught more than it is taught. And, because of the cross+generational setting of Milestones Ministry, there is a commitment to Principle 5: If we want Christian children and youth, we need Christian adults around them.
At the heart of Milestones Ministry is the Four Keys, the foundational and irreducible faith practices of the church: Caring Conversations, Devotions, Service, and Rituals and Traditions. All the church does can find its roots in these embedded practices of the body of Christ. Each Milestones Ministry event utilizes the Four Keys to nurture the faith and reach out to others in Christ Jesus. Milestones Ministry promotes the practice of the Four Keys to demonstrate what the three characteristics for Christians. They are: someone who is authentic (not perfect, just forgiven), available (not absent from the challenges of life, but present to the needs of others), and affirming of God’s triumph over evil and the Christian’s freedom to live in hope. This represents the 3 characteristics for Christians, the final piece in the Milestones Ministry Framework.
Milestones Ministry offers congregations and households a specific strategy to “strive to live a vibrant faith in a dynamic world.” It gives examples, tools and resources to assist disciples of Christ and those who, by the grace of God, may yet become disciples of Christ. It is a modern-day tool to teach and nurture people in the Christian faith, and it provides a means to reach out to others with the gospel of Jesus Christ.