So, how is your ministry to families going?

This week in my seminary class, we started discussing family ministry. It got me really thinking about whats going on right now in our ministries. Here are some of the things I love about family ministry and a few of the things….well, that I don’t:

I LOVE:

  1. That we get to be a part of what God is doing.  There are very few institutions that God Himself instituted in Scripture.  The two most important are family and the Church. To me, family ministry is a PARTNERSHIP of the two- truly the ORANGE that we think of.
  2. In a culture that undermines families, we get to be a support and encouragement for families!
  3. When we see families “get it”. I love it when families are discipled to the point that they are winning other families to Jesus and serving together. How that makes me celebrate!
  4. When parents truly get involved with ministering to and discipling their child. You see that parent grow spiritually by leaps and bounds!

 

What I don’t love so much:

  1. When churches lose their “balance”. Humans in general are not good at BALANCE. We tend to swing along like a pendulum. In the 80s and 90’s we allowed parents to dump kids off for us to fix and train like a Christian fast food McDonald’s. Now, at times, the church is dumping the kids back on parents who are not yet discipled and ready to train their kids. Family ministry means a partnership of the church and home. This may mean offering activities for the family as a whole, as well as age appropriate experiences. This is a both/and situation.
  2. When churches use “family ministry” as an excuse for something else. In my city, 2 years back, three of the largest churches fired their children’s directors saying that having a children’s pastor was not necessary or Biblical when you have family ministry. These churches saw family ministry as an answer to their prayers- it “helped” the church budget by not paying those salaries anymore, and they said that they wouldn’t have to recruit much anymore because “the children’s pastors are the parents in their own home.” Family ministry is not an excuse to withhold resources, time and effort. In fact, ministering to the family will most likely mean MORE work, more money, time and effort- and volunteers- but it is worth it! Do family ministry because you believe in it. Not to save money, or because you are tired of recruiting.
  3. When I ask churches the all important question:” How are you discipling families? How are you training parents?” They almost always say something like, “Well, we preach on it twice a year and send home take home sheets.” Really? That just doesn’t cut it. Our family ministry strategies are going to need a LOT more time and thought than a handout. How do we really disciple families? How do we get parents to come to trainings? I’m asking this honestly, because we need to work for answers.
  4. When our narrow view of family ministry does not reach the majority of those in our pews/city. What I mean by this is, how does our family ministry impact children in single parent homes, children of divorce, blended families, families with parents cohabitating, children with a parent in prison, children whose parents are not Christians, foster children? Neither the church nor the parents are “off the hook”. We are called to minister to the least of these. And in a broken world, families are also often broken. We are called to minister to them in love.

How about YOU? What strategies have you found to minister to and support families in your own ministry? What is the biggest problem you are facing in family ministry right now?

 

love Trishablogpic4

 

 

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