This week marked the beginning of a year long ritual for our second daughter Amy, called a Christian Rite of Passage. This is one of our most significant family traditions. Let me share with you some details about this awesome experience.
What is a Christian Rite of Passage?
It comes from Jewish roots – the Bat Mitzvah – meaning “daughter of the Commandment”. (the Bar Mitzvah means “son of the Commandment”) In the Jewish community, the Bat Mitzvah is a period of instructing the child in her faith and traditions, culminating in a ceremony that recognizes entrance into adulthood.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put away childish things.” The Jewish Bat Mitzvah is a strong connecting point for the young woman between faith, traditions, family & the community.
There are four main goals of the Christian Rite of Passage for a young woman:
- To provide instruction on what it means to be a godly woman.
- To create a point in time for the child to accept responsibility for her own spiritual growth. The child will enter into spiritual adulthood and we, as parents, move from being teachers to coaches.
- To establish mentoring relationships with adult women. These mentors will teach, encourage and guide the young lady in her walk with Christ. They are the her accountability team.
- To extend a formal parental blessing upon the child
It is the culmination of teaching many Biblical life principles to Amy and having her choose to follow them for herself. It is a time of commitment for all of us – to renew our commitment to Christ. To choose to be consistent in Bible study, prayer, church attendance, listening to God & being led by His Spirit. To let the world know we are serious about following Jesus – no turning back!
We officially began Amy’s Rite of Passage year with a Tea Luncheon this past Sunday. It was a wonderful afternoon of warm fellowship & sharing. Amy picked out her favorite teas (peach and cinnamon apple), tea sandwhiches (almond chicken, shrimp crescents, cucumber cream cheese & egg salad) and the dessert (banana cream pie). We began a new tradition of purchasing a special tea pot to commerate this occassion. (don’t worry Michelle we will let you retroactively get a tea pot too!) Amy picked out a perfect “Amy” teapot….with a yellow butterfly on the lid.
We shared with her mentors the importance of this Rite of Passage and told them the specific areas they would be mentoring & teaching Amy in over the next year. The topics included the following:
The Word of God
Purity & Holiness
Lessons from Women of the Word
Evangelism & Missions
Friendship – Developing & nurturing Godly relationships
Defending your Faith/Biblical world view
Christian Family Life & Children
Christian Leadership & Influence
We closed our time together gathering around & praying for Amy.
It is really an incredible & meaningful event for the child going thru this experience as well as the mentors & the entire family. It truly is being purposeful about your job of raising up your children in the faith. Perhaps my eldest daughter, Michelle who completed her Rite of Passage four years ago, as well as possibly her mentors or even those who attended the ceremony will comment here as to their thoughts on this ritual and its significance & impact on them. I hope it inspires you to consider doing something like this for your children.
If you want information on this ritual as well as celebrating other spiritual milestones with your family….let me recommend Spiritual Milestones: A Guide to Celebrating Your Child’s Spiritual Passages by our friends from Colorado, Jim & Janet Weidmann. It has been a fabulous resource for our family.
I will occassionally keep you updated on Amy’s progress and of course next fall you’ll get the full story of her Rite of Passage ceremoy & celebration!