It is an honor to be a part of the FAMMIN blog tour and I am eager to answer the question, what is Family Ministry? Click here to read the other posts in the tour…
About a decade ago, I attended a vision conference held by Awana that discussed the plight of children’s ministry. Where we were and where we wanted to be. I sat there through the entire conference saying YES! That’s what I’ve been talking about – people seeing the importance of children’s ministry and working WITH parents to disciple their children. The conference ended by stating they had a vision, but weren’t sure how to get there. In my opinion, Awana has struggled since that time establishing something for families. They have provided several good resources, but nothing really “stuck”. It is not just Awana, I have watched several other ministries struggle to find the answer to solving the “family ministry” dilemma.
Many of those reading this serve in children’s ministry and so we naturally think of the family as the children in our ministries and their care takers (generally biological parents). Even seminaries group family ministry with children’s ministry. I always wonder why it isn’t also grouped with youth, women’s and other ministries. Don’t they all seek to reach, work with, and strengthen families? But instead it is “married” to children’s ministry. A few years ago I was at a workshop discussing family ministry and the question was posed, what is family? (to define family ministry, you need to define what family is) I was shocked to find that there were over 30 classifications, or types, of families. I have since concluded that a “family” is any group of people who care for each other. Do you think that is too broad? Think about the terms and phrases we use, those who attend our church are our “church family”, members of cmconnect are considered the cmconnect family, those in kidmin are part of the kidmin family, those who trust Jesus as our Savior are the family of God. How many have sung this song in church, or elsewhere?
So is family ministry just reaching the parents for them to disciple their children? Is it just parents teaching their children in everyday life? Many view it that way, but if we use the term family so broadly, then we must look at family ministry in the broadest sense. With that broad definition of family in mind, I believe family ministry comes down to the basics – Love God, Love others. If parents love God, the natural overflow is for them to disciple their children. If the church loves God, they will naturally disciple others. As we have a Biblical worldview, we will see God in the things around us and share it with others.
Within the confines of the church as a pastor of children and youth, my view of “family ministry” is to partner with parents, giving them tools/resources, providing opportunities to worship together and providing support as they disciple their children.
No two families are the same, so there will never be a “family ministry in a box”, though some have tried. Let’s just go back to basics, love God, love others, and as 1 John 3:18 says, truly love them, not just with words, but with our actions. After all, we are all a part of the family of God and as such, we should be in ministry one to another.