Milestones Ministry: A Different Approach to Outreach and Lifelong Faith Formation
Whether just getting started or looking for best practices, David W. Anderson’s book, Vibrant Faith in the Congregation, addresses the important task for the church to be missional, that is, to help people live out the gospel in word and deed in homes, congregation, community, and the larger world. The Vibrant Faith Frame is explained from the perspective of various congregational ministries, including evangelism, Christian education, worship and preaching, youth and family, and stewardship.
The book helps connect all of a congregation’s programs into one ministry, rather than having several disconnected activities under one roof. As a result, congregations stay focused on two foundational tasks in everything they do – Christian faith formation and community outreach.
Download the Discussion Guide here: VFIC Discussion Guide
Milestones Ministry fosters a vital partnership between home, congregation and the community. Milestones Ministry offers congregations the “common ground” they need to reach out into the community and forge a connection with others because everyone, whether a church member or not, experiences the life events that milestones celebrate.
Here is an example of how one congregation uses milestones to reach/connect with families in their community:
“Our congregation introduced the Blessing of the Backpacks milestone for the first time last fall. It was a first time for our congregation and first time for our local elementary school. And… the first time we did this in cooperation with another congregation in our community. We set up a stand with balloons and colorful ribbons across the street from the elementary school on open-house night. As the parents and children walked by, we offered key chains with prayers and Scripture. More than 250 ‘blessings’ were given away and all with such positive responses! ‘What a good thing this is!’ ‘May I take one for my sister/friend?’ ‘Free? Well, thank you very much!’ ‘Will you bless my van as well?’ Of course, the response we treasured most was, ‘What time is your church service and Sunday school?’ Blessing of the Backpacks will definitely become a Milestones Ministry tradition!”
– Denise Broveak, Pastor, St. Paul’s Church, Humboldt, SD
Historically, Sunday school was established as a way to reach unchurched children in urban areas. Although Sunday school can still play an important role in congregations, families’ busy schedules and sporadic church attendance sometimes hinder its effectiveness. That’s where Milestones Ministry steps in. Used in partnership with Sunday school or other similar congregational programs, Milestones Ministry can help strengthen the church’s role in the community through simple, yet memorable, celebrations of important life events.
- Milestones Ministry reaches out to people in ways that provides a fresh relationship between church and society.
- Milestones Ministry reignites relationships between church and the larger society by connecting with people at moments that touch their lives deeply, times of births and deaths, times of beginnings and endings, times of personal and community development at school, work, and a host of other personal and family experiences.
- Milestones Ministry events connect with people’s life experiences and stories, including their transitional moments in life that deserve attention and have imbedded in them the desire to find meaning.
- Milestones Ministry effectively identifies and addresses developmental and transitional moments like a child’s first day in school, learning a skill like driving a car, graduations, moving, developing a career path, loss of a job, retirement, and a host of other milestone moments.
- Milestones Ministry provides a very natural setting to explore a deeper relationship with God and the church.
- Milestones Ministry reaches out to the surrounding communities in ways that do not force people to make long-term commitments, but do make a difference in people’s lives—a difference that will lead people to want more from the church.
- Milestones Ministry can become a pre-confirmation program to help prepare youth and families for a more in-depth exploration of the Christian faith during adolescence and in the life of the home.
- For older youth and adults, Milestones Ministry continues to equip people as lifelong disciples.