We have all been there before—kneeling at an altar on the last night of camp, a Wednesday night after youth group, or a Sunday morning around the donut table when a student comes to us and says, “I just gave my life to Jesus,” or “I would like to be baptized.” It’s a moment of celebration, praise, and rejoicing! It’s also a moment of relief, a slight sense of validation that what we are doing is making a difference for the kingdom of God. But just when we are tempted to think our job is done, the truth is it’s just beginning.
These moments are sacred. They are monumental milestones in a student’s faith. And faith milestones deserve to be celebrated. At some point, our churches traded in our hankies for a golf clap soundtrack to handle the celebration of life change. The church should be a place where joy and celebration happen regularly. I often say to youth workers, “you are in the memory business.” If we can somehow attach a great memory with the grace and love of Jesus, it will stick forever. For the sake of this short post, let’s focus on a few practical ideas to celebrate the faith milestones of salvation and baptism. When a student gives his or her life to Christ or desires to be baptized, here are a few practical ideas to help celebrate these sacred moments in the days, weeks, and years after.
Gift a Bible
Give a new Bible with the student’s name engraved on it. Write a note, a prayer, and the date of the sacred moment being celebrated. I know what you are thinking: “I wish I had the budget to do that” (insert hand in face emoji). Think of three friendly, generous people in your church and call them about your need for a few Bibles to gift to students who give their lives to Jesus. You will have more Bibles than in a Mardel store by the end of the day.
Create a calendar to remember the six-month and one-year anniversaries of the sacred moment. Simply text or write a note to the student on these anniversaries.
Baptism Invite Cards
Baptism is a big day. Create an invite card or graphic for students and families to send or text to families, friends, teachers, and other important people in their lives. Families want their kids to be celebrated, so they will invite others to come, but you have to create the opportunity.
Let the church or youth group know that a decision has been made. Read a written testimonial from the student, and if they are comfortable, lead a time of prayer for him or her. It’s essential to get the church comfortable celebrating decisions for Christ and life-changing moments. A simple question to ask in your service planning is this, “Is there anything we should celebrate this week?”
Celebrating these crucial milestones is not a complex or a revolutionary concept, but it does take greater intentionality. So how do you celebrate faith milestones? If you are interested in finding out more ideas about celebrating baby dedications, age level promotions, or special kids and youth Sundays, email me at Cholcomb@bethanynaz.org.