Types of Family Ministry

Family Ministry.  This term gets tossed about a lot today but what exactly is it?  Unfortunately, there is no clear concise answer to that question because it plays out differently depending on your church and community but here’s three common characteristics you’ll find in any family ministry:familyatcross

  1. The home is seen as the primary place of discipleship and faith formation
  2. Parents/caregivers are seen as the primary influence in a child’s spiritual growth and development
  3. The church provides a place of support, equipping and mentorship for parents/caregivers

How that looks in your church will depend a lot on what your church looks like.  In the book, Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views, three pastors share about three types of family ministry and how it works best in their church.

Family Integration, Paul Renfro

  • In family-integrated churches there is no age-segregation in terms of ministries or space.  The whole family joins with each other in congregational worship, service, and community.
  •  The only division comes in the division of labor, roles and gender not in age, space, or fellowship so all age groups are able to interact with each other and grow spiritually through mentorship, discipleship, and service.
  • Parents receive a continual source of support and equipping and a strong sense of community is fostered.
  • Tends to be best for traditional nuclear families and attractive to homeschooling families, and in the types of roles and functions specific genders can fulfill in the church

Family-Based Ministry, Brandon Shields

  • Most closely resembles the age-segregated ministries common in the 20th century.
  • Rather than completely revamping the existing ministries and starting over, this approach builds on it, using the ministry platform to equip parents and encourage intergenerational discipleship within its framework.
  • Family-based ministry finds its strength in its intentionality to take formerly age-segregated events and make them intergenerational or family oriented and the style is more easily achieved with the existing models and culture
  • Because it does look similar to what it currently in place, sometimes it can be challenging to change the underlying culture of the church towards family and transition to a family-focused church.

Family-Equipping Ministry, Jay Strother

  • Still maintains some age-segregation, but changes the entire church culture from the leadership down to be one united in equipping and serving parents as the primary spiritual directors in the church and home.
  • This approach finds its strength in its intentional desire to utilize the entire church body in the goal of support parents and growing families meeting the needs of all age groups and church members in an integrated way.
  • Requires ownership by the whole church to one culture with one vision toward parents and families.
  • Can by limited by the fact that it works best with nuclear families and parents, leaving non-traditional families and functional caregivers in a type of limbo, so intentionality must be shown in order to reach everyone.

Another approach not covered in that book would be family ministry that is primarily therapeutic in nature, focused upon the emotional and psychological health of the family through offering counseling and support groups.  Usually there is not a strong emphasis on equipping parents as disciplers in the home.

Family ministry is by no means a “cookie-cutter” ministry.  It is important in choosing your approach to consider your church’s culture and community and find a path that works best for them.  In the end, the partnership of home and church can only bring about good things for every member of both institutions.

Perspectives on Family Minstry: 3 Views is available on Amazon at the link below

Jones, T. P. (Ed. ). (2009). Perspectives on family ministry: 3 views. Nashville, TN: B&H


212 thoughts on “Types of Family Ministry

  1. Pingback: A Simple Advent Journey for the Family | r e F o c u s

  2. Pingback: The Great Thanksgiving | r e F o c u s

  3. Pingback: Family Ministry – What Books Should I Read First? | r e F o c u s

  4. Pingback: And One To Grow On: Christmas gift ideas to help your kids grow their faith | r e F o c u s

  5. Pingback: They are ALWAYS learning & We are ALWAYS Teaching | r e F o c u s

  6. Pingback: When the Christmas Story becomes Bigger: Telling the Whole Story at Christmas | r e F o c u s

  7. Pingback: A Birthday Party For Jesus | r e F o c u s

  8. Pingback: A Little Disruption | r e F o c u s

  9. Pingback: Looking for Christmas at Christmastime | r e F o c u s

  10. Pingback: To Talk or Not to Talk…in Church | r e F o c u s

  11. Pingback: Christmas Amplified, Christ Magnified | r e F o c u s

  12. Pingback: 2016 In Review: Top Five Read and Shared Posts | r e F o c u s

  13. Pingback: Let’s Make 2017 Mean Something | r e F o c u s

  14. Pingback: God is Amazing, Being a Christian is Awesome, and Other Things We Forget to Say | r e F o c u s

  15. Pingback: The Star Didn’t Lead Them to Jesus | r e F o c u s

  16. Pingback: Our Kids Need Us to CELEBRATE: Five Ways Do That More | r e F o c u s

  17. Pingback: Family Ministry When No One Goes to Church | r e F o c u s

  18. Pingback: Family Movie Night as Discipleship: Four Easy Wins for Parents | r e F o c u s

  19. Pingback: What’s Worse that FoMO and What Can We Do About It? | r e F o c u s

  20. Pingback: What’s Worse than FoMO and What Can We Do About It? | r e F o c u s

  21. Pingback: They Disagree. But They Still Love Each Other. | r e F o c u s

  22. Pingback: No Time for Discipleship at Home | r e F o c u s

  23. Pingback: If We Are Supposed to Disciple our Kids at Home, Do We Even Need to Go to Church? | r e F o c u s

  24. Pingback: Sometimes, Church is Confusing | r e F o c u s

  25. Pingback: When the Disciples Disciple: Letting Kids Live Out Their Faith | r e F o c u s

  26. Pingback: “No One Is Listening” and other Millennial Concerns | r e F o c u s

  27. Pingback: Lone Ranger Kidmin? | r e F o c u s

  28. Pingback: One Word We Get Wrong In Family Ministry | r e F o c u s

  29. Pingback: Reframing Repentance for Our Kids | r e F o c u s

  30. Pingback: Engaging Children in Worship | r e F o c u s

  31. Pingback: Why I’m Not Mad At Disney | r e F o c u s

  32. Pingback: Easter Photo Scavenger Hunt for Families | r e F o c u s

  33. Pingback: What We Remember About Easter | r e F o c u s

  34. Pingback: Doing Church Together: Five Ways to Keep the Family Together at Church | r e F o c u s

  35. Pingback: What Does It Mean to “Welcome” a Child? | r e F o c u s

  36. Pingback: Do You Even Know Me? | r e F o c u s

  37. Pingback: Let Them Feel: Experiencing Good Friday with Children | r e F o c u s

  38. Pingback: The Aftermath of Easter | r e F o c u s

  39. Pingback: A Hard Week in Kidmin | r e F o c u s

  40. Pingback: The Power of a Moment: Where Discipleship Happens | r e F o c u s

  41. Pingback: Did We Create the Nones? | r e F o c u s

  42. Pingback: Three Ways to Disciple through Endings | r e F o c u s

  43. Pingback: Discipleship When the World Revolves Around You | r e F o c u s

  44. Pingback: The GREATEST Blog Post of ALL TIME! Click here to Find out WHY! | r e F o c u s

  45. Pingback: When a Kidmin Goes to Disney | r e F o c u s

  46. Pingback: Ducks!! Or, Why BIGGER isn’t always Better | r e F o c u s

  47. Pingback: “You can say anything, but kids will copy what you do” | r e F o c u s

  48. Pingback: Marking the “Christian” box and Making Disciples are Not the Same Thing | r e F o c u s

  49. Pingback: Fidget Spinner Theology: It’s not that simple | r e F o c u s

  50. Pingback: Let Them Hear The Stories: Drugs, Alcohol, and Grace | r e F o c u s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s