Designing a complete strategy for family ministry in a church (birth through college) should include more than focused initiatives at each grade level. We need to help families move between those age-specific environments and celebrate big moments in their child's life. Here is what I love about family ministry transitions and milestone events.

Benefits of Family Ministry Transitions & Milestone Events

  • Parents are prepared – Parents don't know what to expect if they've never experienced something before. Transition and milestone events give them a chance to know what to expect.
  • Parents are open – Because parents want to know what to expect, they're more likely to attend the event and they're ready to listen.
  • Communicate your strategy – These events are a great time to explain your church's strategy for partnering with parents and what that looks like at each age level.
  • Communicate why – You also get the time to talk about the WHY behind WHAT you do in the environment and/or event.
  • Listen to parents – Other than one-on-one conversations with parents, these could be your best time to hear from them. Learn about their needs, wants, ideas, and anything that's confusing to them.
  • Build relationships – Celebrating a milestone with a family or personally walking them through a transition helps to build your relationship with them.
  • Stories – Stories communicate vision more than anything else. These events give you a chance to hear about stories and create new ones.

Family Ministry Milestone Events We Do

Baby Dedication – An event for parents to dedicate their babies during our services. We hold an orientation prior to the event to get to know parents, communicate our strategy, and prepare them as best as possible.

Dive In – A baptism class for children where they hear the gospel, we answer any questions, and we provide parents with resources to talk about it at home. {Thanks NPCC!}

Baptism Celebrations – We hold baptism celebrations in our main services from time to time, but we also hold them at our student ministry gatherings as well. Students are far more open to being baptized in front of a crowd of their peers.

Champion Tribes – We don't do this as a church, but it's great for dads and sons. Check out this site for more information on this great milestone experience.

Family Ministry Transitions We Do

Kindergarten Confidential – An orientation into elementary ministry for incoming kindergartners and their parents. We talk about everything elementary ministry has to offer and allow parents to experience it with their kids before the kids move up permanently. Those rising kindergartners are also celebrated in their preschool environment before making the jump. {Thanks NPCC!} – You can download our kit for this event here.

Parent & Small Group Leader Lunch – An event for elementary parents to meet their child's small group leaders. {Thanks SYCU!}

Student Ministry Launch Event for Students AND PARENTS – Think of this as the first of our weekly environment for students, but we invite parents out to meet their student's group leaders and that relationship is established. Students are all together, then spend time with their groups as well.

5th Grade Celebration – This is a simple thing we do with kids who will be moving on to middle school. Their last week in elementary is a time for us to put them on the elementary stage, celebrate them, encourage them, and give them a gift as they have their last day in C3 Kids.

8th Grade Retreat – Students who are in the 8th grade and will move into high school that fall go on a retreat in the spring. It's been one of their favorite experiences throughout our student ministry.

Senior plan – Thanks to the influence of Ben Kerns, we put together an entire plan for high school seniors that includes a senior retreat, separate small group experiences, and even mini “classes” of sorts to help prepare them for what's ahead.

What do you do? What would you add or change?