In Philippians, Paul writes about his faith journey using the illustration of a race, pressing on toward the goal to know Christ, to be like Christ, and to be all Christ has in mind for him. We are all on a faith journey pressing on toward the goal. Third Church wants to join you and your children on their journey, as we encourage, empower, and help you equip them for the race: the race toward the goal of maturing in Christ.
We have developed a road map for how Third can assist our church family in this path from birth through adulthood–a map marked by Faith Milestones geared toward children from birth through their senior year in high school. We celebrate with children as a church family at such times as Baptism, Second Grade Bible Presentation, and Launching Out with Night to Remember as they graduate, with the whole list given below. Through the intentional implementation of these milestones, the church and families have a framework within which to work together as we nurture the spiritual growth of our children and pass the faith to the next generation.
We invite you to use the Faith Milestones section of our site as a dynamic resource, an inspirational guide, and a practical tool to equip you to share the legacy of faith with your children. As raising up a new generation of Christ followers is an ongoing and collaborative journey, we'll be updating the site as new material becomes available and as we receive suggestions from parents and others walking alongside our children.
Take a look at the individual milestones below and click to download information that relates to your child's spiritual journey and development.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
For a complete listing of all Faith Milestones resources, organized by milestone, please click here.
Birth and Adoption
Celebration of a new family member
The birth of a baby or arrival of a child is a wonderful time for the church as we celebrate with the family and personally remind them that God and the church will love and support them throughout their journey.
For a more detailed explanation of Birth and Adoption, please click here.
The church commits to partner with parents in the faith development of their child. At Third, parents are invited to attend a class which will lead to celebrating with the church family the Sacrament of Baptism, or parents are invited to explore child dedication.
For a more detailed explanation of Baptism, please click here.
The years from preschool through kindergarten are a good time to introduce spiritual practices that will instill in a child's mind that we seek to spend time with God every day, not just on Sunday. Prayer and Devotions offer two related ways for parents to model faithfulness, and establish patterns that last. Click for help making prayer with your children a regular part of your life and modeling ways to speak and listen to God .
Devotions are opportunities to demonstrate that following Jesus is something woven into every day and every week. Regularly pointing out and discussing moments when you see God at work in the world, is a great start; your children will catch on quickly and they will begin to see God in nature, in people, and in situations where mercy and compassion are shown in the name of Jesus.
For a more detailed explanation of Family Devotions, please click here.
celebrating the Lord's Supper
Third welcomes children to celebrate the Lord's Supper when they have been instructed about the meaning of communion and have put their trust in Christ. Children reach this point at different ages. Those still seeking to understand the sacrament may come forward for a special blessing. Parents are encouraged to contact a Pastor or Associate Director of Family Ministry if they would like to explore this step with their own child.
Third desires to encourage and equip parents to train up their children to worship in church as a family. Various elements have been incorporated into worship services with the hope of enriching family participation while creating a comfortable setting for children.
For a more detailed explanation of Family Worship, please click here.
Families in the Word
Second Grade Bible Presentation
At a family dinner celebration, children in second grade are presented with a personalized Bible as a gift from Third. What a wonderful time for these emerging readers to receive their very own Bibles. We encourage families to read the Bible, to memorize Scripture, and to truly put God's Word at the center of their lives.
For a more detailed explanation of Families in the Word, please click here.
family service projects
Family service projects equip and encourage families to go beyond simply hearing and talking about ways to love and obey God. Let's challenge the "what's in it for me" culture and nurture a focus on caring for and serving others as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ in the church, community, and the world. Throughout the year, we strive to offer a variety of opportunities to serve alongside one another at Third and beyond.
For a more detailed explanation of Serving, please click here.
club 56 for 5th and 6th Grade Students
This milestone marks a special developmental stage for children as they mature and grow in their faith journeys within a community of like-minded peers. We provide an evening for families of 5th and 6th graders to gather for dinner followed by a parental introduction to the ministry while children experience a glimpse of Club 56 through an active fellowship activity. This provides parents an opportunity to learn about and discuss the vision for transitioning from elementary age into the youth program at Third.
For a more detailed explanation of Club 56, please click here.
Integrity and Purity
Parents and teens, let's start talking. The culture is speaking loud and clear and it is time for the voices of parents and the church to be heard even louder. A message on purity and integrity will be incorporated within the curriculum for youth (students in grades 7-12) each year. Third will often provide opportunities to hear from other parents and experts about integrity and purity.
For a more detailed explanation of Integrity and Purity, please click here.
7th and 8th Grade Students
As our students move from Club 56 to 7th grade, we celebrate their graduating into Student Ministry, where we seek to train students to explore and take more of a role in their own faith. Middle school fellowship introduces students to age and gender-based small groups that will be maintained through high school.
For a more detailed explanation of Owning Faith, please click here.
9th Grade Students
In Third's Confirmation Class, students are encouraged to accept the Christian faith as their own and to express that commitment through a personal testimony shared in front of family, peers, elders, and staff.
For a more detailed explanation of Declaring Faith: Confirmation, please click here.
High School Seniors
At Night to Remember, we honor high school seniors and pray for them as they prepare for the next stage of life. We encourage and remind students to remain active in their faith and to maintain a relationship with Jesus Christ after high school.
For a more detailed explanation of Launching Out, please click here.