One of the gems I have learnt through my involvement in Child, Youth and Family Ministry is the development of spiritual milestones in the development of young people. In congregational settings Lutherans in Australia have typically celebrated baptisms for young children and confirmation for young teenagers. During my ministry in the parish I made the most of introducing and enhancing a consistent First Communion practice to ten year olds. Since the mid 1980s the Lutheran Church of Australia approved congregations introducing communion before confirmation as another option to the traditional practice. This was a another significant spiritual milestone especially for those families who were regularly worshiping in the life of a congregation. When I moved into school ministry I continued this ministry to families at these sacramental times, adapting and tweaking them to spark off faith formation in school families in an invitational way, attempting to link them with the local congregation.
Another spiritual milestone I have worked with and easily introduced to church-school settings is the presentation of Bibles to school families. Many Lutheran schools and some congregations gift Bibles to Preps and other year groups in Primary and Junior Schools. Instead of doing this in the school setting at a weekday chapel, why not invite the cohort to your local congregation for Sunday worship. Celebrate the treasure of receiving God's Word intergenerationally. Use the service as an opportunity to not only gift Bibles to families but also to equip parents to read God's Word with their children. Many parents who have not grown up in a church culture often feel unable to read the Bible with their children. Equip parents with confidence that they can be part of their child's faith formation and bless them, their children, and their teachers. I have found that children are often the best evangelists. who end up teaching their parents the scriptures!
Then after the service think of what follow up you could develop whether that is in the classroom with teachers or volunteers from church. An easy idea is to recruit congregational members to read bible stories in the classroom. Retired members of the church who have a heart for children love to do this. Another good milestone time for introducing the Bible to children is around Year 4. At this age children generally have some confidence in their reading skills so it is an opportune time to present them with a full text of the Bible which is kid-friendly. One that I have used is the NIrV Adventure Bible which is available through Koorong. Once again it is important to not only gift the Bible but bless the child, equip the parent/parents, and develop follow up strategies to continue the Bible reading habits ideally that reinforces what happens at school with what happens in the home and what happens in the church.
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About this site
"Meditations & Musings" is my humble attempt to share what I have found useful in ministry in an Australian Lutheran School setting. It contains chapels, devotions and other resources I have written, used and adapted in my K-12 school context. If you would like to also share your ideas, resources or start a conversation about mission and ministry in your church- school location, feel free to contact me.
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