Davidson United Methodist Church Age Level Program Ministry Milestones

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1 Davidson United Methodist Church Age Level Program Ministry Milestones So often, Christian educators are asked about the different stages of faith development for children and youth. Parents want to know when their child should know the Lord s Prayer or go through Confirmation. The purpose of this guide is to paint a broad picture of what milestones children and/or youth will experience while participating in the life and ministries of Davidson United Methodist Church. This is not a checklist, but simply a road map for each child s spiritual journey. There will be some milestones that will not apply to every child, or do not apply to a child yet due to age or development. Children learn very differently. The suggestions offered at each milestone are based upon age-appropriate faith development. Consider these ministry milestones tools to help guide families in their child s spiritual growth. When a child is baptized, parents and the congregation promise as an act of worship to nurture that child s faith development. The church then promises to help parents on this journey. Children and youth learn about faith first at home, second at church. The church s intent is to put these milestones in the hands of families to use as they see fit within their family. Throughout the year, Davidson United Methodist Church will offer a series of Milestone workshops and other Milestone events for children, youth and their parents. These will include, but not be limited to, a Welcome to the Church Family visit for new additions to a family, prayer, worship, the sacraments (Baptism, Holy Communion), learning to use the Bible, human sexuality, Confirmation, and seasonal learning (Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter).

2 All children and youth Are invited to receive Holy Communion, regardless of their age. Are invited to attend Sunday School and Worship. Are invited to participate in all programming relating to their current school grade/preschool class. Are protected by the DUMC Safe Sanctuaries Policy (see to read the complete policy). Parents can help their children grow in their faith by Being caring and responsive to their child s needs. Talking with their child about God, community, and love. Supporting the development of their child s abilities and understanding of their own identity as a unique child of God. Showing their child that God is important in your daily life and talking about how God works in our lives. Showing children what it means to be a disciple of Christ in the world, while being mindful of the need for safe boundaries. Teaching their children to give their best to God through stewardship by caring for their church, all people, and the earth. Being open to the ways that children experience God in ways they are not sure how to articulate. Accepting that their child is going to have many questions you may or may not be able to answer, being willing to hear their questions and have open conversations about them. Consistent attendance and participation in Children s Christian educational opportunities offered.

3 Birth Walkers Parents are invited to present me for infant baptism (Contact Jonna Eichorn, I am beginning to see God s love through my caregivers ( Infant Baptism Milestone Event) I am being introduced to music and stories of the Christian faith at home and church to connect me to the family of Christ I am loved by my family and my church family I feel safe in my home and church Toddler I & II I am learning that church is a friendly, loving, caring, and exciting place to be I am learning that I am a child of God and He loves me I am being introduced to stories of the Christian faith through interactive play and Bible storybooks at home and church I am learning simple prayers as I observe parents and caregivers Two s I am learning about and experiencing God and Jesus love I am learning that the Bible is a special book I am learning about stories and people in the Bible at home and in Sunday school I can sing and pray I am learning that God helps plants, animals, and people grow I have a sense of wonder about the world and am learning that God created all of it

4 Three s Four s I am learning how to serve others through organized mission events I am beginning to recognize Bible stories and some symbols of our faith My teachers and parents guide me in play that helps me learn about and appreciate others I am learning more about prayer (Milestone Workshop) I am invited to begin participating in worship and the life of the congregation by participating in: Children s Choirs Vacation Bible School (VBS) Kindergarten and First Grades I can offer prayers for others I am beginning to learn about Worship (Milestone Workshop) I am invited to participate in Jesus the Rock LIVE! and Music Camp I am being introduced to the Lord s Prayer at home and church My family and class serve those in need and enable me to serve in appropriate ways: Great Day of Service Room In The Inn Family Mission Trip Sunday School Church wide and Vacation Bible School offerings Second and Third Grades I receive a Bible from the church as a third grader I am learning to use my Bible and apply it to my life (Milestone Workshop) I have an opportunity to begin serving as a worship leader I have the opportunity to begin participating in hand bell choir I am beginning to understand the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion (Milestone Workshop)

5 Fourth and Fifth Grades I am developing a deeper understanding of the many ways to pray and many types of prayers I am becoming more familiar with and beginning to understand the acts of worship through participation in Jesus the Rock LIVE! and participation in Children s Choirs My family is invited to participate in the Created by God seminar on human sexuality (Milestone Workshop) I am learning how to live out Jesus Greatest Commandment in my home and community You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37 (NRSV) You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39 (NRSV) Menita Mercuri, Director of Children and Family Ministries Susan Cavasinni, Associate Director of Children and Family Ministries Tabitha Lindsay, Associate Director of Children and Family Ministries Patty Gruce, Director of Children s Music Susan Weathers, Children s Music Associate Heather Smith, Director of Special Ministries What Every Child Should Experience by Melanie Gordon, General Board of Discipleship of the UMC.

6 As a Youth at DUMC I will begin exploring the unique gifts God has given me and have opportunities to develop, express, and use those gifts I will be reminded of God s unconditional love and how to share that unconditional love with others (Romans 8:28 & Psalms 139:14) I am invited to serve in worship as an acolyte, Bible bearer or crucifer I am invited to serve as a teacher s assistant, childcare assistant, drama participant, puppeteer and/or Buddy (Special Blessings) I have the opportunity to assist with special summer children s programs, such as: VBS, Music Camp, and summer Sunday School I will have the opportunity to learn about stewardship and how to be a good steward of my resources, time, and talents I will have opportunities to serve in local, national, and international missions I am able to participate in retreats and faith formation events with youth my own age throughout each year Sixth Grade I am considered a youth at DUMC beginning in the fall of sixth grade I am invited to participate in the Sunday night Connect program, Middle School Choir, Middle School Bell Choir, and Middle School JAM I am continuing to model my life after Jesus I am continuing to develop understanding of how my faith connects to real life issues and situations Seventh Grade I will revisit some of the well-known Old Testament stories and the life of Christ in the New Testament and continue translating these scriptures to my everyday life I am invited to participate in the Sunday night Connect program, Middle School Choir, Middle School Bell Choir, and Middle School JAM I am revisiting popular Bible characters and connecting their issues and situation with my own life

7 Eighth Grade I may commit to fully participate in our in-depth Confirmation Program (Milestone Event) I am learning more about the history of Methodism I am invited to participate in Middle School Choir, Middle School Bell Choir, and Middle School JAM As a High School Student at Davidson UMC (Ninth Twelfth Grades) I take an active role in determining the direction of faith formation topics and study offered I have the opportunity to participate in a weekly small group settings where faith and life issues are discussed on a deeper level I have the opportunity to participate in High School Youth Group (known as Connect) and Wednesday Night Open House, High School Choir, and High School Bell Choir I am invited to lead worship by participating in the youth worship band, High School Choir, and High School Handbell Choir. I am invited to be a part of the Jesus the Rock LIVE! drama ministry I am studying the Bible on my own and continuing to connect lessons in it to my own life I understand the importance of missions and actively participate in them during the year Drew Peters, Director of Youth Ministries Curtiss Gibbs, Associate Director of Youth Ministries Jay Mathey, Youth Music and Worship Leader Rev. Kevin Turner, Minister of Music and Worship Dr. Katie Ann McCarty, Organist/Music Associate

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