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God has given parents a wonderful responsibility: to ignite a passion in the next generation to follow Jesus (Ps. 78:5-7). College Park is here to partner with you in this joyful yet weighty task. The milestones you'll find below are one way we want to come alongside you to support, equip, and celebrate as you disciple the next generation.

What is a milestone?

Each milestone below represents the beginning of a new season in your child’s life. At each milestone, you will find:

  • Parent Emphasis: Discipleship areas for you to focus and layer on in this season.
  • Milestone Celebration: College Park’s way of celebrating your child’s milestone with you.
  • Resources: Classes, books, and articles helpful for this season.
What are some general family discipleship tools?

In addition to the resources listed under each milestone, here are some general family discipleship tools that we encourage you to check out:

  • Zealous by David Michael: Read this book to better understand College Park's vision for the next generation.
  • Use our weekly Family Devotional to prepare your child for each week's sermon and to drive your family discipleship.
  • Family Discipleship by Matt Chandler & Adam Griffin: Read this book to help establish a rhythm of family discipleship.

FAMILY DISCIPLESHIP MILESTONES

Milestone 1: Birth/Adoption

 Parent Emphasis

  • Pray
  • Give a blessing

Birth: Even when your child is an infant, you can begin to disciple. Praying for your child and giving them scriptural blessings expresses your reliance on God. It may not seem like you can do much right now, but God can!

 Celebration

New Child Announcement

After your baby arrives, let us know! We will announce your child’s birth in the Children’s Ministries Newsletter. Also, look for a baby bag gift in the Nursery, our way of celebrating with your growing family.

 Resources

  • A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children by David Michael
  • Tying Their Shoes by Rob and Stephanie Green
  • Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley

Milestone 2: Child Dedication

 Parent Emphasis

  • Establish parents as the primary disciplers

Ages 0-1: God has given this child to you. Churches, schools, and extended family have a part to play in discipling your child. But they can only supplement your primary role. Use this season to orient your mind, heart, priorities, and schedule towards this purpose.

 Celebration

Child Dedication Ceremony

See: Child Dedication Questions & Answers - Child Dedication Application

 Class

Foundations of Parenting

 Resources

  • Dedicated to the Lord by David Michael
  • Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis
  • Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle

Milestone 3: Begin Training in Righteousness

 Parent Emphasis

  • Create patterns of loving, biblical discipline
  • Form family worship habits

Ages 1-3: So much growth happens during these early years! Use this opportunity to build habits that aim toward where you want your child to go:

 Celebration

Gift: Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney

 Class

Stages of Parenting: Preschool (This class is available through CPCi Equip Classes every fall.)

 Resources

  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman
  • Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
  • God Made Boys and Girls by Marty Machowski

Milestone 4: Graduation to Preschool

 Parent Emphasis

  • Start Scripture memory/catechism
  • Employ gospel-based discipline conversations
  • Teach the story of the Bible

Ages 3-5: During the preschool years, your child is growing and learning constantly. Use this time wisely to build their foundation on biblical truth. Scripture memory and biblical instruction will be key. Look for opportunities to connect life to the gospel, both during formal family worship times and as you go (Deut. 6:6-7).

 Celebration

Gift: New City Catechism

Catechism may not be a term familiar to you. But catechism is simply a tried-and-true method of theological education built around questions and answers. Each question has shorter and longer answers to encompass every member of the family. You will be amazed what even your preschooler can learn about God!

 Class

Stages of Parenting: Preschool (This class is available through CPCi Equip Classes every fall.)

 Resources

  • Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp
  • “Proactive Parenting” by Greg Palys
  • God’s Design for Sex–The Story of Me (Book 1, Ages 3-5) by Stan and Brenna Jones
  • Fighter Verses

Milestone 5: Beginning School

 Parent Emphasis

  • Teach the Bible
  • Form their character
  • Teach your child how to engage in corporate worship

K-4th Grade: This is when things really ramp up. So much forming and shaping happens during the elementary years, and you still hold enormous influence. 

During this season, invest heavily in building them into the people and worshipers you hope they become. More than anything, make sure they know God’s Word: not just what it says, but what it means, and what it means for them.

 Celebration

Gift: Kids Notes Clipboard

We believe in the value of our Children’s Ministries on Sunday morning. But we also believe in the benefit of children in the worship service. Every K-4th grade child will receive their own clipboard. Pick up Kids Notes on the way into the worship service each week and teach your child how to begin engaging with the service!

 Class

Stages of Parenting: Elementary (This class is available through CPCi Equip Classes every fall.)

 Resources

Milestone 6: Putting Aside Childhood

 Parent Emphasis

  • Teach wise technology use
  • Talk more openly with your child about sex

5th & 6th Grade: Fifth and sixth grade are “transition” years. Your child is aging out of childhood but is not quite a young adult. These are great years to begin preparing them for the greater responsibilities ahead.

Fifth and sixth graders are being asked to think with greater maturity regarding the world we live in. Grounding their view of sex, gender, technology, and other pressing topics in God’s Word will prepare them to think biblically moving forward.

 Celebration

Gift: Raising Kids in a Screen-Saturated World by Eliza Huie or Gender: A Conversation Guide For Parents and Pastors by Brian Seagraves and Hunter Leavine

These short books help parents give their children a biblical vision for technology use and gender. 

 Class

Stages of Parenting: Junior High (This class is available through CPCi Equip Classes every fall.)

 Resources

  • Strange New World by Carl Trueman
  • God’s Design for Sex – What’s the Big Deal? (Book 3, Ages 8-11) by Stan and Brenna Jones
  • The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
  • 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke

Milestone 7: Graduation to 7th Grade

 Parent Emphasis

  • Make worship service and serving the focus on Sunday mornings
  • Address more mature struggles
  • Teach biblical manhood and womanhood

7th Grade: Junior high marks a major transition: your child graduates to Student Ministry! On Sunday mornings, this means beginning to integrate more into the life of the church through attending worship service and using their gifts to serve.

But this also marks a time when many students begin wrestling with issues like gender identity, depression, and anxiety. Make sure you are knowledgeable about these topics. Then lean in, not away, to your relationship with your child as they start to become more independent.

 Celebration

  • 7th Grade Fun Day
  • Attend a Father/Son Quest
  • Attend a women’s event together (mother/daughter)

In the early fall, incoming 7th graders will visit Student Ministry to get a taste of what’s coming. They will get to meet leaders, engage with older students, and witness a Student Ministry gathering in action.

God has given older men and women the responsibility of raising up younger men and women (Titus 2:1-10). The Father/Son Quest is an opportunity for fathers and father figures to help their male teens embrace biblical manhood. 

Mothers and daughters should plan to take a trip or to attend a women’s event and plan time to discuss biblical womanhood.

 Class

Stages of Parenting: Junior High (This class is available through CPCi Equip Classes every fall.)

 Resources

  • Counseling Booklets for Parents
  • Why is my Teenager Feeling Like This? by David Murray
  • Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
  • Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
  • Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side by Natasha Crain

Milestone 8: Entering High School

 Parent Emphasis

  • Encourage godly relationships
  • Teach spiritual disciplines

9th & 10th Grade: Many believe that the teen years are mainly about having fun, getting good grades, and delaying responsibility a little longer. But we believe that teenagers should really be adults-in-training!

Your teen is capable of more than we tend to think. But they need you to call them higher. This is why we encourage parents to start helping their teens take ownership for their relationships, their spiritual walk, and their responsibilities as they aim toward becoming godly men and women.

 Celebration

  • Fall Retreat

 Class

Stages of Parenting: High School (This class is available through CPCi Equip Classes every fall.)

 Resources

  • Disciplines of a Godly Young Man by R. Kent Hughes and W. Carey Hughes
  • Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes
  • The Right Kind of Strong by Mary Kassian
  • Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World by Eliza Huie
  • Men and Women in the Church by Kevin DeYoung

Milestone 9: Preparing for Adulthood

 Parent Emphasis

  • Teach worldview & apologetics
  • Give them a vision for God’s work globally and locally

11th-12th Grade: Your child is now almost an adult. He or she is beginning to consider what they will invest their life in. But they still need you as their coach and guide, even if they don’t always act like it.

Point them toward what matters: loving God and loving others. Their love for God can and should increase all their life as they grow in their knowledge of him and his Word. And their love for others can find expression in service to the church, to the community, and to those who don’t know him throughout the world.

 Celebration

Go on a Vision Trip

Vision Trips give a glimpse of what God is doing throughout the world. A Vision Trip is a great way to expose your student to missions in the hope that it will ignite their passion to pray for, financially support, or perhaps even participate in missions in the future.

 Class

Attend a College Park Church Institute class or event with your student

 Resources (for the student)

  • From Pride to Humility by Stuart Scott
  • Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne Grudem
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp

Milestone 10: High School Commissioning

 Parent Emphasis

  • Support through prayer and encouragement

Adult: Your child is an adult, but your role as a parent is not over. Now, you get to be a friend, supporting, praying, encouraging, and providing timely advice. And hopefully, you will get to see the fruit of God’s work and your labor the rest of your life.

 Celebration

High School Commissioning

We want to celebrate this great achievement with you. In early May, College Park graduating seniors will gather on stage on a Sunday morning to share future plans and receive prayer and blessings.

 Resources (for Graduating Seniors)

  • Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
  • Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
  • The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman
  • What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile

When Your Child Becomes a Christian: Baptism, Communion, & Membership

 Parent Emphasis

  • Discern genuine faith
  • Welcome them as part of the church body

Becoming a Christian: Your main parenting duty is to point your child toward Christ. This certainly involves longing for the day they trust in Jesus, but your job does not end there. Discipleship also involves cultivating and discerning true faith every day. And then, by God’s grace and when the time is right, helping them become fully-functioning members of the body of Christ.

If you believe your child is a genuine Christian, you can begin walking them through the baptism process after they turn 11. During this process, you should also help them understand the importance of Communion and local church membership.

 Celebration

Baptism

Baptism Sundays are wonderful. We get to watch person after person testify to God’s goodness and paint a picture of their new life in Christ by going into and out of the water.

To prepare for this momentous celebration, we ask that parents, guardians, or mentors walk their student through Student Baptism 101.

 Class

Student Baptism 101 then DISCOVER-CONNECT-JOIN

 Resources

  • Helping Children to Understand the Gospel by Truth78
  • Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gunderson
  • Established in the Faith by David Michael
  • Membership by Jonathan Leeman