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Faith Markers Ministry

Marking each child's faith journey

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What is it?

Congregations often mark significant events that take place in the lives of their members, such as the birth of children, baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Some congregations recognize other special times that may be less prominent in the lives of their children and youth, yet can be very significant. When children begin Sunday school, reach a certain age, or graduate from high school, these congregations will mark such transitions with a blessing or ritual.

All such faith celebrations with children and youth can be intentionally developed and planned through a ministry called Faith Markers Ministry. The plan engages the whole congregation in celebrations of faith growth. While the Faith Markers focus on children or youth, they also help to shape and nurture the faith of all persons throughout life.

Why a Faith Markers Ministry?

Through Faith Markers Ministry, we honor a child's steps along the pathway toward believers baptism and church membership. We acknowledge that children are already in relationship with God and capable of growing in faith.

Faith Markers are significant for the children and youth, their families, and the church community. A ritual of blessing reminds children that they are an integral part of the faith community. Faith recognition reminds parents of their role in shaping faith in their children at home. And the church community affirms its promise to be partners in forming faith in all ages.

What happens in a Faith Marker celebration?

Rituals are important in faith formation. They remind us to pay attention to the changes and transitions in life. Children will remember "the way we always do things" for birthdays, Christmas, family gatherings, and even Sunday school.

Rituals have a way of transforming the ordinary into the holy so that the recipients are aware of God's presence. Faith rituals affirm children and youth as valued people within the congregation, even though they are not baptized members.

Each occasion can be a simple, short part of a worship service or expanded into a longer event.

How to begin a Faith Markers Ministry

Create a Faith Markers team to oversee this ministry. This group can determine which Faith Markers you will celebrate, when these events will take place, who will be involved, and what resources you will need.

Educate the congregation and the parents about the importance of marking and celebrating faith transitions.

Keep good records of the faith markers that you choose to celebrate; the children, youth, and families who participated; and the resources that you presented.

What is needed for this ministry?

[VBS Box]
  • An overview chart suggests opportunities for marking faith milestones in the church's children from birth up to age 18.
  • Simple worship resources serve as a guideline for pastors and leaders who will plan these occasions. These include Scripture texts, blessing litanies or readings, words to accompany the presentation, and closing words. Adapt these resources to fit your congregation's needs.
  • For each event we suggest one or more faith marker gifts from the congregation as a faith symbol or reminder of this important occasion. These gifts have been chosen for their age-appropriateness and symbolic significance, and the congregation is free to determine which resources to choose. Check out our website at www.mennomedia.org for more resources, and feel free to substitute.
  • Parent/caregiver resources are listed to help the church equip parents in their primary role in forming faith in their children at home. Congregational leaders are encouraged to spend time before each occasion with the parents of the celebrants. This is a good opportunity to teach parents how to talk about faith and plan faith-expanding experiences at home. Spend an evening together or plan for a brief meeting prior to the worship service. Give parents the resources listed in the chart to help them grow their own faith.
  • A list of resources that can be used to teach parents and the congregation and to guide you in selecting faith symbols for the children and youth.

Books and resources

Books for children and youth

101 Devotionals with Children, by June Galle Krehbiel

Children's Illustrated Bible, adapted by Eve B. MacMaster

Dive: Devotions for Deeper Living, by Cynthia Massanari Breeze

God with Us Today, by June Galle Krehbiel

God's Story, Our Story, by Michele Hershberger

Hymnal: A Worship Book

Living More with Less, by Doris Janzen Longacre

Peace DVD

Plant a Seed of Peace, by Rebecca Seiling

Quills, by Aaron Ratzlaff

Rejoice! daily devotional readings

Rhythms of Peace DVD

Sensing Peace, by Suzanna Yoder

Simply in Season cookbook, Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert, eds.

Simply in Season Children's Cookbook, Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman, eds.

Sing the Journey

Sing the Story

Sleep in Peace, by Ingrid Hess

Tent of Meeting, by Julie Ellison White

Walk in Peace, by Ingrid Hess

Walking with Jesus, by Mary Clemens Meyer

Books for parents and caregivers

Growing Together: Understanding and Nurturing Your Child's Faith Journey, by Anne Neufeld Rupp

Let the Children Come, by Jeanette Harder

Parent Trek: Nurturing Creativity and Care in Our Children, Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi, ed.

Seven Things Children Need, by John Drescher

Thank You for Asking: Conversing with Young Adults about the Future Church, by Sara Wenger Shenk

Whatever Happened to Dinner?, by Melodie Davis

Youth Ministry at a Crossroads, Andy Brubacher Kaethler and Bob Yoder, eds.

Bibles (NRSV)

Noah's Ark hardback Bible

Footprints hardback Bible

Leatherette soft cover Bible

Bible reading charts

My Bible Reading Chart (100 selected verses for children ages 6–9)

Dig into the Bible (350 selected texts for children ages 10–13)

Read the Book (entire Bible for youth)

Encounter the Word (entire Bible for adults)

Certificates

Parent/Child Dedication

Baptism and Church Membership

Church Membership

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