When you see that phrase, what comes to mind? Could you define what a family ministry should look like? Take a minute and say out loud what you think “family ministry” means.
If you’re struggling to come up with something or you find yourself coming up with multiple ideas, you are in very good company. According to Chap Clark, that “company” includes pastors and authors of books written on family ministry.
“Unlike other areas of ministry focus, family ministry has emerged without any sort of across-the-board consensus of just what it is.”*
So, what do we mean when we say “family ministry” at Kahului Baptist Church?
If you were hoping I’d give you a definition of “family ministry,” I’m sorry to disappoint you, I don’t have one. Instead, I feel it would be more helpful to list some of our goals and what we will do to accomplish them. Many of these goals have been shaped by Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s (9Marks) Church-Shaped Children’s Ministry** as well as Timothy Paul Jones’ Family Ministry Field Guide***.
To provide children with a faithful testimony of life with God in the lives of their parents and church members
To acknowledge, train, and hold accountable parents and primary caregivers as the primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives
To equip church members in caring well for families and children
To share the gospel with children that the lost might be saved
To make disciples of all children who trust in Christ
To prepare children to gather together well with the members of the local church
I would like to point out before going any further, goals #4 thru #6 are not unique to “family ministry”. We could take out the word “children” and replace them with any subset of people. That is intentional because what children need is the same thing that every human being needs: to be saved by Jesus, obey and follow Jesus, and then gather with Jesus’ people.
Goals #1 thru #3 are more specific to “family ministry” and follow an important progression that, Lord willing, will make more clear what we mean when we say “family ministry” at KBC.
First (#1) and foremost, we need to be sure that our lives as parents and church members are marked by obedience and worship of Jesus. Our children at KBC will learn by observing how we obey Jesus, how we repent when we sin, how we lament, how we sing, how we pray, how we revere the Word, and how we treasure Jesus above all things. We want to provide our children with a faithful, not perfect, testimony of life with God. Family ministry at KBC will seek to help parents and all our members bear a faithful testimony of life with God to our children.
Secondly (#2), family ministry at KBC does not desire to usurp the God ordained role of parents in the lives of their children. Instead, we desire to support and compliment that role. The first blog post in this series “Do the Work of Family Ministry” pointed to a lot of scripture that describes the role of parents and caregivers in the lives of their children. What KBC’s family ministry desires to do is not to replace parents, but to resource parents as they raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. I’ll describe a little later what those resources might be.
Finally (#3), family ministry at KBC is not something that a single person or group of people does. If you are a member at Kahului Baptist Church, you are called to serve in the family ministry, just like how you are called to serve in the nursery ministry, the college ministry, the singles ministry, the married couples ministry, you get my point. I said it in our first post and will continue to reiterate it: we are all called to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). You don’t have to pray about whether or not God has called you to serve a certain group of people. If you are a member of KBC, you have covenanted (promised) to serve one another, families, and families with children included. However, the family ministry is here to equip you with resources to help you serve our families well. I know each and every one of our members would love to serve each other well. Sometimes we just don’t know how to do that. That’s what the family ministry is here for.
So, what will we do to accomplish these goals? For now, we have 5 practices that will, Lord willing, help us work toward these goals. I will spend the next 5 posts in this series to explain the intent behind each practice and how they work toward our goals:
Kid’s service bulletin and liturgy guide
Family worship devotionals
Small groups, Sunday School, Prayer meetings
Fellowship and fun
* Chap Clark, The Youth Worker’s Handbook to Family Ministry: Strategies and Practical Ideas for Reaching Your Students’ Families (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1997), 13.
** Constance Dever, Church-Shaped Children’s Ministry (Praise Factory Media, 2019)
*** Timothy Paul Jones, Family Ministry Field Guide: How the Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples (Indianapolis, Indiana: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2011)