New to the Faith
This Milestone is for those that feel they are at the very beginning of a faith journey. At this Milestone we will gather over a lunch with casual conversation, stories, and questions to explore what it means to become a follower of Jesus. The agenda for this Milestone is often determined by the stories and questions of the participants, but for those wishing to further explore the first steps to living faithfully as a Christ follower, there is an option to join a four week “New to the Faith” small group.
Origins of Faith Milestone
Learning WHERE our Faith Comes From
In this classroom based Milestone for people wishing to explore a fuller understanding of Christianity, we engage the origins, reliability, and most important doctrines of our ancient creeds and texts. We explore the overarching story of the library we know as the Bible. We examine the cultural contexts of the various authors and the genres they used to communicate the relationship between God and mankind. We explore the nature of God as passed down to us through the Apostles creed. Origins of Faith is part of a three part faith series that can be done in any order over any number of years. Origins, Pathways, and Presence milestone classes tend to occur one per year over three years.
Pathways of Faith Milestone
Learning What we Do as Christians
In this classroom based Milestone for people wishing to explore a fuller understanding of Christianity, we engage the life and teachings of Jesus and their application to our lives as people that follow Him. We will explore what it means to live a new way in a new Kingdom of God, to reflect Jesus in our relationships, to pray We will examine what it means to walk the path of Jesus in our relationships, as a gifted part of a community, in prayer, declaring the hope we have found in a new Kingdom come. Pathways of Faith is part of a three part faith series that can be done in any order over any number of years. Origins, Pathways, and Presence milestone classes tend to occur one per year over three years.
Presence of Faith
Learning WHO we Are as Christians?
In this classroom based Milestone for people wishing to explore a fuller understanding of Christianity, we will dive into the uniquely intimate relationship between God and humankind described in the Bible. We will explore what it means to be in the presence of God, how it affects us, how it shapes our identity. We will explore what it means to live a life of worship, prayer, and gratitude. We will discuss the rhythms, habits, and disciplines that build faith and set us free to live out our identities as a set apart people in the arms of a loving King. Presence of Faith is part of a three part faith series that can be done in any order over any number of years. Origins, Pathways, and Presence milestone classes tend to occur with one happening per year over three years.
A Lakeland Conference to Equip for Ministry
The Call is a rally point Milestone for those who are ready to lead and serve as the hands and feet of Jesus using their passions, strengths, or experiences. The Call tends to follow a conference format where people are equipped with vision, self discovery, and the chance to join in the mission of the church. The Call Milestone occurs every other year. Content for the call may change, but always centers around the idea of equipping people for the work of ministry through strengths, gifts, and passions.
An Outside Conference to Equip for Ministry
The Expedition is a chance for Lakelanders to go together to christian conferences or experiences. This leg of the journey gets us out of our routines and gives us opportunities to develop new perspectives. Those who go tend to find that they are filled with new energy or vision for ministry when they return home. Upon return, members of the expedition agree to meet three times to discuss their experiences and consider how they might apply what was learned to further the mission of Lakeland. The Expedition occurs every other year and can take on a variety of forms.
The Inward Journey comes upon both new and mature Christians usually around midlife. It marked by questioning and self-examination. Without trained guidance a Christian can become stuck or trapped at the Inward Journey, constantly questioning, brooding, discontent, and burned out on the Christian faith and church. There is a time-tested spiritual solution: a safe retreat experience, which embraces spiritual disciplines of self-examination such as solitude, silence, restful contemplative prayer, spiritual direction, meditation, and contemplation. If you feel stuck at a wall in your faith you may be on the Inward Journey.
As a Christian matures in their faith, they come accept all of life as a gift from God – even the difficult and painful times. Mature Christians no longer need to argue about who is right, and who has the correct doctrine. This outward stage of faith is marked by simplicity of trust in God. Serving and giving are accomplished out of genuine love, regardless of whether or not they are praised or rewarded. Success is measured by love. The mature Christian no longer is a “human doing” but rather a “human being” whose identity is secure only in Jesus and not what others think of them. The outward journey embraces John the Baptist’s mission statement, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
It is difficult at this stage to teach this spiritual disposition of acceptance. Instead, one arrives at the outward journey because all other efforts of power and success now seem less important. Milestones proposes a “rule of life” at this point in one’s journey. Spiritual direction, habit, and ritual compose the mile marker at the outward journey. Those who believe they are at this point in their spiritual life should meet individually with Sr. Pastor Dr. Dan Wilburn for spiritual direction. They may wish to join The Galileans at Lakeland, a spiritual order, which meets on Sunday mornings, practices lectio divina, and makes retreat together.
CHILD AND FAMILY MILESTONES
Infant Baptism (Birth)
Living a Faith Passed Down.
A celebration and recognition of our belonging to God. Friends and families gather as a church to celebrate the immeasurable worth we have in Christ and commit to raising our children in this marvelous reality. Families meet one on one with members of Lakeland’s milestone team for resources on how to live out faith in the home during these early years and prepare for baptism/dedication.
Welcome to the Campfire (Kindergarten)
Growing Together in Faith
While life will bring many adventures, now is the time to circle around the fire to tell stories. We gather at “Campfire” on Sundays to tell God’s stories. In the home we live out these stories and look for or construct “Campfire Moments” to usher our children into the stories of God. This begins with an evening for parents and kindergarten children to come and hear about the transition to K-4 and learn strategies for fostering faith in the home at this new developmental stage of life.
1st Communion (2nd Grade)
Lessons from the Table of God
At the center of the Christian faith is the table of Jesus. Lakeland 2nd Graders and parents come together for four evenings over the course of a month to stoke the fires of spirituality in the home while learning the deep meanings of the Lord’s table before celebrating each 2nd grader’s 1st communion on a Sunday morning as a church.
The Bridges Retreat (5th/6th Grade)
Staying Connected in Difficult Transitions
As our kids approach their middle years (Grades 5-6) and the first signs of independence begin to emerge, we come together to learn how fun and genuine connection will be the new tools for fostering faith and development in our homes. Rather than getting fearful and shrinking back or getting fearful and becoming overbearing, we will learn to build strong bridges for new ways of enjoying one another. This milestone retreat is lead by professional family counselors.
Confirmation (7th/8th Grade)
Confirming or Exploring Baptism into the family of God
As our students become old enough to understand the breadth of life in Christ, parents and students will gather for 4 sunday mornings to explore the central teachings of Christianity and confirm/newly approach their baptisms. This milestone will prepare students and allow them to participate in Lakeland’s annual confirmation/baptism service.
The Clearing Compass (9th Grade)
Fostering Faith while Spreading our Wings
As our kids have continued to grow and develop the time comes for them to venture out on their own in short spurts or smaller less paved trails. This creates a developmental transition where parents continue to teach and guide, but also step aside and nudge their children forward. This ongoing Milestone begins with a lunch where parents and students entering high school can learn more about Lakeland’s Wednesday night “The Clearing” service for grades 9-12. While students venture into their own weekly gatherings, parents can attend quarterly dinners for support and guidance on how to continue to be compass for their student through this formative life stage.
The Journey (11th/12th Grade)
A Season of Mentorship and Challenge
After having equipped our students with the tools to pursue life and faith on our own, it is time to set them on an expedition to explore the world for themselves. Wise parents begin to recruit new voices into their kid’s lives and encourage their children to explore new skills and ideas of their own choosing. Lakeland offers a 4 month highly committed journey of mentoring and gathering for 11th and 12th graders where they can explore their deepest questions before branching out in the world. Parents during this time are encouraged to begin to transition from “Parent as Teacher” to “Parent as Friend and Encourager.” Parents are encouraged to continue to attend regular “The Clearing Compass” dinners.