Family Ministry

I attended Bethel Seminary’s Children and Family Ministry graduate program a while back. We talked about Five Models of Family Ministry in one of my classes. I thought I’d pass them on without commentary:

Educational Ministry

  • Educational programming across the family’s life stages
  • Serves individuals in their primary life relationships
  • Homogeneous groups of people in same family life stage
  • Examples: pre-marital, marriage enrichment, parenting education, singlehood, elderhood

Caring Ministry

  • Addresses emotional and relational needs of congregation
  • Serves families and individuals who are hurting and in crisis
  • Family minister is brokerage for resources available to help people in crisis (therapists, support groups, etc.)
  • Examples: intervention for conflict resolution, divorce, addiction, abuse, job loss, death

Nuclear Family Ministry

  • Functions to equip and strengthen families as primary faith nurturers
  • Moves from church-based, home-supported to home-based, church-supported ministry
  • Transfers bulk of discipleship programming from church to home
  • Examples: parent training, at-home sex education, parent-child programs and retreats

Church as Family

  • Intentional mixing of generations to pass on faith to next generation
  • Emphasis on the community of faith as family of God
  • Includes all ages and stages of family life cycle (in particular, singles and elderly)
  • Examples: Church-wide celebrations, service projects, spiritual milestones

Family Service/Mission

  • Emphasis on shared experiences between parent and child
  • Strong support offered to families for faith development at home
  • Recognizes realities of family life styles
  • Examples: family worship service, take home material

Questions to Ponder regarding Family Ministry:

  1. What are we doing now for specific age groups that we can modify to be family-friendly?
  2. How can we naturally connect kids with their parents and siblings?
  3. What are we doing now that we can give up in order to add more family-friendly ministries?
  4. In what ways are we unintentionally hurting families in our church?
  5. What is our plan to move our congregation towards family ministry?
  6. What would this family ministry look like?
  • What do the people of our church and surrounding community need?
  • What is our church’s distinctiveness that would influence our choice of family ministry model?
  • What resources – people, money, facilities, history – are available?