The Legacy Path - Strategy to Equip Parents to Form Kids in the Faith
The Legacy Path
The Legacy Path is a discipleship strategy that equips parents to be the primary faith influencers in their family that is based on 7 milestones that every person experiences in his/her growth in Christ. It was developed by Dr. Brian Haynes, Lead Pastor of Bay Area Church in League City, Texas.
Dr. Haynes outlines his strategy in his book, Shift: What It Takes To Finally Reach Families Today. The strategy is an answer to the decline of the biblical family model in our culture, the general moral decline in our society, and the trend of families bringing their children to church so that the professionals can lead them spiritually. The strategy equips churches to partner with families to intentionally and effectively equip parents to be spiritual leaders in their home, one household at a time. This discipleship plan manifests its success over time; it takes patience, resolve, and commitment.
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Each Milestone includes:
- A designated church leader that accompanies parents of kids working toward that milestone
- A parent seminar specific to each milestone to equip parents for that stage
- Core competencies (key truths learned as he/she progresses from one milestone to next)
- Faith Talks (intentional times set aside at least once each week for conversation around Scripture with the family. This is the way in which core competencies are reinforced by parents).
- A church event to celebrate reaching the milestone or a family celebration marking the completion of a milestone
This discipleship strategy differs from traditional Catholic family faith formation. In a typical Catholic family faith formation program, parents are equipped to transmit the teachings of the Church (i.e. Creed, Sacraments, Liturgy, etc.). In Legacy Milestones, the focus is on integrating Gospel truths into daily living as it relates to the child’s current stage of life. For example, in Milestone 3, fourth and fifth graders are prepared spiritually, emotionally, and physically for adolescence. Parents are equipped with a 2-hour seminar on relevant issues such as physical changes, identity in Christ, and sex. The Milestone is concluded with a church retreat for fourth and fifth graders and a one-on-one parent/child road trip to create an environment to have these discussions.
The Milestones are as follows:
- Milestone 1 – Birth of a Baby (Birth to 1 year) - Parents, through a two-hour required seminar, learn how to become primary faith trainers for their children and accept the responsibility. Resources and learning opportunities are provided for the new parents desiring to dedicate their child to the Lord. During the ceremony, the church body commits to partner with the parents in the faith development of the child for the duration of the journey.
- Core Competency - The parent as the primary faith trainer
- Parent Seminar - Understanding Family Dedication, The Development of Your Child, The Importance of Mom and Dad and Ways to Bless Your Child and Build Biblical Foundations
- Event - Family Dedication ceremony during the worship service
- Milestone 2 - Gospel Foundations (Decision point between ages 7 and 11) – The church partner with and equips parents to lead their kids toward a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which leads toward salvation. Parents are encouraged to attend a seminar that teaches the biblical truth about salvation and baptism. Parents are equipped and given resources to lead family devotions in their homes where these principles are taught.
- Core Competency - Jesus, Faith/Belief, Biblical Truth, Personal Sin, Repentance, Salvation, Baptism
- Parent Seminar - Accepting Christ as Savior, Is My Child Ready for Salvation?, God’s Plan of Salvation, Baptism Explained and Discipleship Begins at Home
- Event - Campus Event: Baptism; Family Celebration: Spiritual Birthday Party
- Milestone 3 – Preparing for Adolescence (Between ages 10 and 11) - Parents are encouraged to attend a two hour seminar called Preparing for Adolescence: Parent Edition. This seminar teaches the basics concerning talking with kids about relevant issues such as physical changes, identity in Christ, and sex. Parents learn how to use James Dobson’s CD series called Preparing for Adolescence in the course of a road trip for the parent and their maturing child.
- Core Competency - Identity, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Disciplines
- Parent Seminar - Relating to Your Adolescent, Facing the Challenges of Junior High, A Look at Today’s Culture, Faith That Prevails, and The Biggest Obstacles to Christian Living
- Event - Campus Event: 4th and 5th grade retreat; Family Celebration: Road Trip
- Milestone 4 – Commitment to Purity (Middle School Years) – The church partners with parents by teaching students the importance of accountability, healthy friendships, and biblical standards for purity. At the same time, parents are coached to focus on these issues in faith talks and intentional conversations before, and throughout the middle school years.
- Core Competency - Biblical Purity, Healthy Relationships, Identity in Christ, Biblical Sex
- Parent Seminar - The Biblical Standard For Purity, Spiritual Training of Teens: Parent Roles and Church Roles, Identity in Christ, Accountability and Communication, Resources for faith talks
- Event - Campus Event: Purity for Life Weekend; Family Celebration: Purity Ring Celebration
- Milestone 5 – Passage to Adulthood (Completed by Age 16) – This Milestone is not about keys to the car; instead, it is about becoming a man or woman of God. In the seminar parents are equipped to disciple their freshmen and sophomore students for adulthood. Issues such as spiritual gifts, the roles of men and women, spiritual disciplines, service in the church, dealing with failure, and other Biblical issues are explored both in family devotion and on the church campus.
- Core Competency - Roles of Men and Women, Spiritual Gifts and Service, Catechism
- Parent Seminar - The Biblical Roles of Men and Women, Spiritual Training of Teens, Parent Roles and Church Roles, Rite of Passage: The How To, and Following Up After You Have Completed the Rite of Passage.
- Event - Family Celebration: Rite of Passage Ceremony
- Milestone 6 – High School Graduation (Between Ages 16 and 18) - This seminar teaches parents how to prepare their students for the world outside of the nest. This can be a very healthy time in the family journey if parents continue to keep the lines of communication open with their students. Issues such as basic apologetics, courtship and marriage, determining the will of God, life skills for living away from home, and other biblical issues will be explored both in family devotions and on the church campus. Parents are taught how to write out a spiritual blessing for their child to be presented at the Senior Summit just before graduation. These important years of discipleship are the last chance to shape the faith of children before they are on their own.
- Core Competency - Apologetics, Dating/Marriage, God’s Plan for Me, Person of Influence, Life Skills
- Parent Seminar - Preparing student to leave home:
- Apologetics, Connecting With Other Adults, Knowing the Will of God For Your Life, Dating and Marriage and Money
- Event - Campus Event: Senior Summit; Family Celebration: Written Blessing
- Milestone 7 – Life in Christ (Adults of all ages) – This Milestone helps adult believers live their life in Christ.
- Core Competency - Prayer, Scripture, Authentic Faith, Obedient Follower, Disciple Maker, Generous Living, Community
- Seminar - Life in Christ: This seminar covers the core competencies of milestone 7, touching on the importance of each
- Event - Campus Event: Bible Study, Worship