The topic of family ministry, inter-generational ministry, and family worship services is permeating the children’s ministry landscape. Yesterday, I saw this image on Facebook…
In general, I agree with the caption, but you cannot make a “blanket statement” without knowing the full picture. What is the culture of the church? Do they have something for the children and this is a second service they are attending as a family? Is this typical for every Sunday service? You cannot answer those questions with this one image, but the comment indicates that this is the norm.
Images like this are very polarizing in children’s ministry. The comments on the picture on Facebook ranged from people posting in full agreement, those fully offended because they need their children to be quiet so they can focus on the service and you’d be surprised what the children remember, that “parent shaming” needs to end, and everywhere in between. I’m guessing that when you saw the image, and statement, some strong feelings came out in you as well. It is when we try to hold a discussion from those feelings that communication ends, walls go up, and people try to simply prove their philosophy and believe that all should be doing what they are doing.
We all come from a bias and I am no different. I hear people talk about family ministry all of the time and it disturbs me on many levels. I know that I am in the minority in children’s ministry on this but if you heard my story you may understand my view better. If I heard your story, then I would understand your view as well. So can we truly talk about it, the pros, the cons, the flawed stats, and more.
The image and caption to me encapsulates the whole family ministry debate that we are afraid to talk about honestly without forcing our perspective on the other. We need to communicate honestly about our stories realizing that “our way” may not be the best way for everyone, even if it works in your ministry setting.
The questions that abound from the picture, and family ministry are:
- Should children be in the “adult” service?
- Does separating children and youth from the adults cause them to leave the church when they turn 18 (or are they already gone before that)?
- Are parents prepared and able to properly disciple their children?
- Does the picture truly depict a family worship service?
- and the list goes on….
Can we have an honest discussion?
Beginning next week, I will share my story and my concerns with “Family Ministry”. I am not saying that my perspective is the correct perspective, but it is my story and I hope you will understand my perspective and that it can open up conversations, without barriers, about reaching children. I hope that you will join me in this discussion.