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 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
- 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
- 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:
- What are we doing now for specific age groups that we can modify to be family-friendly?
- How can we naturally connect kids with their parents and siblings?
- What are we doing now that we can give up in order to add more family-friendly ministries?
- In what ways are we unintentionally hurting families in our church?
- What is our plan to move our congregation towards family ministry?
- 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?