At MorningStar, we have established spiritual markers to be our stones of remembrance—celebrations of spiritual life and growth. When our children ask in time to come, ‘What do those spiritual markers mean to you?’ we will tell them of the goodness of our great God.
We are committed to establishing a lifelong faith in children by supporting parents in connecting children to God and the greater family of faith and modeling a life lived for Jesus Christ.
One of the ways we do this at MorningStar is by establishing three spiritual markers for you and your children as they grown to love, trust, and serve the Lord.
Parent-Child Dedication: Nurturing children in the love of God.
We believe dedication of children is an opportunity for parents to express their commitment to raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord with the spiritual family as a witness and support. Therefore, we provide guidance and resources for parents to prepare for a dedication service where they may present their children and publicly make their commitment.
Lil' Sibs Sunday: Including children in the family of God.
As children transition from Kingdom Kids (Ages 3 - 6), MorningStar desires to support children and their parents by providing a short ceremony we call New Kids on the Pew. Quarterly and on the first Sunday of the month, we invite new Seven-Year-Olds to come forward and be presented with a MorningStar Tote with colored pencils, a notebook, and their introduction to the Children's Bulletin. We have a brief talk on what is expected in worship following by a blessing of the children and parents.
Presentation of Bibles: Training children in the truth of God.
As a co-laborer in Christ, we provide a service in the Fall of each year for children going into the Third Grade. Parents prepare for this service by meeting with the Family Pastor where they write a note to their child in a Bible and wrap them to present to the children during a Sunday morning worship service. At this service, the children are presented with their new Bibles where they are encouraged to begin reading for themselves and receive the blessing of the church family.
In our ministry to teens, we are committed to intentional collaboration of the natural and spiritual families seeking to develop people of character by living out the content of God's inspired Word.
One of the ways we do this at MorningStar is by establishing two spiritual markers for you and your teen as they grow to love, trust, and serve the Lord.
Commitment to Purity: Empowering teens to follow God.
Purity is a counter-cultural principle, and we are will aware of the challenges our pre-teens face as they experience changes in their hearts and bodies. With this in mind, MorningStar provides an annual Purity Weekend for parents and their child who is in the 6th - 8th Grade. It is an opportunity to build connections between parents and their children, venture into needed discussions of physical changes to come (or happening now), preempt much of the peer pressure by establishing principles on sex and dating early, and encountering the encouragement of the larger spiritual family as the pre-teen makes a commitment to purity.
Commissioning: Launching teens into the mission of God.
Our desire is to support faith development in childhood so our teenagers will be ready to join the mission of God in the world before they move out of the home. As a result, we have established a Commissioning. Those who have completed the Eighth Graced may apply to participate in a 9-month experience during which they become fluent in the Christian faith, MorningStar life, Trinitarian theology, and a life of spiritual discipline. During this experience, participants will dream, plan, and execute a missions experience with the guidance of the Family Pastor. The culmination of this experience is a Commissioning Service in the Sunday Morning worship service in late Spring/Early Summer followed by the summer mission experience they have personally planned.
We believe that spiritual growth continues throughout our entire lifetime. We also believe that the most effective way to continue growing is to continue placing stones of remembrance through out lives that we may look back at how God has worked and look forward to what we are striving for. The following spiritual markers are designed to help each individual to continue growing throughout the time we have on this earth.
We recognize those who are graduating from high school with the intent of seeing them enter this life transition with blessing and prayer for continued faithfulness to the Lord. Our desire is to equip these students and their parents for the transition to college or the workforce. This spiritual marker includes a celebration and recognition of graduating students by the spiritual family during a Sunday morning worship service.
Man of God/Woman of God: Celebrating biblical manhood and womanhood. The Man and Woman of God celebration is the culmination of a dedicated time of study and mentoring in biblical manhood and biblical womanhood.
Man of God To celebrate the Man of God marker, we ask that a man join with 1 or more other men (of any age) who are able to lead him through A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Dan Dumas and Randy Stinson. During this time, he will reflect on Scripture and be mentored in God’s design and purpose for manhood and grow to be a godly leader, provider and protector. Our hope is that this will be a culmination of all previous training in manhood through our earlier spiritual markers and give him the tools to pass it on to another. With that in mind, we ask that the man then take the same guide and walk through it with 1 or more other men (of any age) and mentor them in the same manner with which he was mentored. Upon completion of being mentored and mentoring another, then we invite that man to stand before the church to share his testimony and commitment to following God’s design and purpose for biblical manhood with which we will enthusiastically celebrate.
Woman of God To celebrate the Woman of God marker, we ask that a woman join with 1 or more other woman (of any age) who are able to lead her through ATrue Woman 101: Divine Design: An Eight-Week Study on Biblical Womanhood by Mary A. Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. During this time, she will reflect on Scripture and be mentored in God’s design and purpose for womanhood and grow to be a godly helper, nurturer, and server. Our hope is that this will be a culmination of all previous training in womanhood through our earlier spiritual markers and give her the tools to pass it on to another. With that in mind, we ask that the woman then take the same guide and walk through it with 1 or more other women (of any age) and mentor them in the same manner with which she was mentored. Upon completion of being mentored and mentoring another, we invite that woman to stand before the church to share her testimony and commitment to following God’s design and purpose for biblical womanhood with which we will enthusiastically celebrate.
Life in Christ
Life in Christ is the celebration of a life dedicated to spiritual fruitfulness by the Word and God in the community of believers. This is an opportunity for adult believers to refocus their attention on God’s priorities by growing personally and intentionally investing in the spiritual family. Each adult will meet with a pastor or deacon in the church for the purpose of evaluation and encouragement. He/She will begin the maker with evaluation by using the Spiritual Assessment tool. This will reveal areas of strength and needed growth for continuing their ministry in the Lord. It is also a time to step into or evaluate their investment in their natural family and spiritual family. Men will consider how they are leading, providing and protecting those under their care. Women will consider how they are helping, nurturing, and serving those under their care. As the individual Encourager determine, they will step forward to celebrate and challenge others to move toward completing this marker.
While many “retire” and sit back, we celebrate those who take this time to “recommission” and renew their desire to grow in the Lord and invest in the next generation. The person seeking to set this marker will determine to discover a new purpose and direction for the years ahead. He or she will begin by meeting with a member of the pastoral staff to consider ways they might dig in and invest more deeply in a ministry to their natural and spiritual family. Together, they will determine a course of action appropriate for the individual in order to pinpoint and affirm God’s leading. Once determined, the individual will be encouraged to provide an extended word of testimony of their life in Christ and renewed commitment to continue growing in Him and investing in others.
Unrelated to Age
We believe there are four spiritual markers that are unrelated to age, they can happen at any age. Two happen only once (conversion, believer's baptism), one happens with varying frequency (The Lord's Supper), and one can happen more than once but may only take place once for some (membership).
Conversion: from death to life
All of humanity is born in sin which means we are separated from God. Only through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross can we find grace to be delivered from our sin through His forgiveness and placed in the family of God through His righteousness. This conversion from death to life is by grace through faith and it is not something we bring about ourselves it is the gift of God so that none of us can boast in ourselves and our accomplishments. Of all the spiritual markers this is the most significant because without it all the others lack any eternal significance or impact. The remainder of the spiritual markers unrelated to age are all preceded by conversion.
Baptism: from hidden to revealed
Once a person has experienced a conversion from death to life through faith in Jesus Christ we follow this life transformation with a water baptism. Water baptism is an act of obedience to God's command that openly reveals that we have been buried with Jesus and raised with Him to newness of life. It is a public confession that says we are all in when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ. What may have been hidden allegiance for a short season is now being revealed for all to see. Those who are ready to take this step of faith will participate in a three week class that will go over the meaning and importance of baptism and help each person to write their faith story and share it with others.
Local Church Membership: from isolated to connected
At conversion, we are forgiven of sin - saved from the penalty of death, and we are also adopted into the family of God, the body of Christ. God tells us that we are to grow up together. Joining a local church is an expression of what Christ has made us, a member of the body of Christ. Committing to a local body is the natural outcome of this adoption and confirms what Christ has done in us and for us. Those who desire to identify with the local body of believers called MorningStar will participate in an eight-week class called "Starting Point." The class is designed to help those who participate understand what is meant by local church membership at MorningStar.
The Lord's Supper: remembrance, anticipation, and proclamation
This essential spiritual marker is unique because the first two only take place once in our lives, the third will hopefully take place just a few times in your spiritual journey, though you will celebrate these in the lives of others frequently. The Lord’s Supper is something you will personally participate in on a regular basis and it carries a lot of significance as a spiritual marker. At MorningStar we want to keep it fresh and stay focused on the intent Jesus placed upon it each time we come to the table together. So, what is that intent? o Remember the Past – the Lord’s Supper is something we participate in as believer’s. We are remembering that Christ’s death on the cross is for me. His blood was spilled for me. His body was broken for me. His took my sin upon Himself that I might become His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). o Revel in the Present – The Lord’s Supper reminds me that I am at table with Jesus Christ my Savior. He is not absent from this or any other aspect of my life as a believer because I am in Christ and Christ is in me (Colossians 1:27-28). We don’t embark on this journey alone. We are in the presence of Christ and His power is at work in and through us. And is a special sense when we pause for the Lord’s Supper we are sitting with Christ to dine in a special way – He is the honored guest – which is why Paul says to examine ourselves and not come and dine in an unworthy manner. In this way we proclaim Him to those who have not yet come to the table. o Rejoice in the Future – Until He comes. When He comes we will enjoy a meal like we cannot imagine, because we will eat it with Jesus Christ – face to face, literally! This spiritual marker is pregnant with significance and it is a tragedy when it become empty ritual instead of the full celebration that it really is meant to be!
Family Summit: Equipping for Growth.
The Family Summit is a bi-annual equipping event for the MorningStar family. We will provide guidance and tools to help people move forward in their personal and family pursuit of following Christ using the spiritual markers as guideposts along the way. Biblical foundations are reinforced, and practical suggestions are given to make immediate application. It is currently designed as a 3-hour Saturday seminar with breakout sessions and a family luncheon following.
For a list of helpful resources related to each spiritual marker click on the link below Resource List for Spiritual Markers