So, you are ready to start Family Ministry at your church. You’ve read the books, been to the conferences, watched the videos and studied the Scriptures and you are convinced; family ministry is the way to go.
So… now what?
In the past few years, I have sat with many of ministry friend who can probably relate with the sentiment expressed above. They are totally sold out to the idea of family ministry. They can see the merits of championing the home and they want to engage and equip parents for discipleship and formation. But… when it comes down to actually moving forward with family ministry in their church, they suddenly feel stuck. How in the world do you even start?
- Some begin with programming. If it’s parental engagement we need, then parental engagement we shall have. Parents begin getting invited to events. More newsletters and emails are created. Special training events are planned. And yet, nothing substantial seems to change. Attendance is still lackluster, communication still sketchy, and parents still disengaged.
- Some begin with the curriculum. If we can find a curriculum that creates a partnership between the home and the church and begin teaching our Sunday school lessons from that, then surely family ministry will blossom at our church. And yet, the same volunteers still teach in the same format and the new parent letters still end up on the floor in the hallway and the kids still don’t remember the main idea from the week before.
- Others begin with Children’s Ministry department. After all, these are the staff members most familiar with the kids and most in touch with parents, especially because many of them are parents themselves. The Children’s Ministry adopts the values and focus of family ministry but soon finds itself in competition with the youth group, adult Sunday School, the worship band, the outreach team, and the Tuesday night quilting bee.
And over and over and over again, I have heard the same sentiment expressed:
Family Ministry just doesn’t work at my church.
What if it does? What if the strategy is a little different, a little longer, and little more unique to your situation? What if it means taking baby steps for a while and what if it means change is slow in coming? What if family ministry is exactly what your church needs but maybe not the way you envisioned it or the way the church down the street does it?
All those “what ifs” is what this blog and this ministry are all about. Because we have read the books, been to the conferences, watched the videos and studied the Scriptures and we are convinced; family ministry is the way to go. But we are also convinced that one size does not fit all, that not everyone in your church has heard the Scriptures, and that His time is needed to make all things beautiful.
The next few blogs will explore the world of family ministry. What is it? Why do we need it? What does it look like? And finally, how can we transition our church into it? We hope that you find the resources, ideas and articles here an encouragement to you as you serve within your local church. We want to partner with you to engage the family and the home in faith formation and help you refocus your church towards family ministry.