About a year ago I was talking with a kidmin ministry leader and mentioned something about “family ministry.” His response to me was, “Well, there are a lot of different opinions of what family ministry is, so I just don’t pay much attention to it.” He spoke this as if that was all there was to say about that . . . end of topic. As I was thinking about his response, I began to realize that there has been so much talk about how to do family ministry (i.e. whether kids should be a part of corporate worship, whether there should be children’s church or Sunday school or not, whether family ministry means family events, or just having programs for every individual in the family) that most outsiders have confused how family ministry is implemented with what family ministry really is. This is not so surprising when most pastors think of ministry in general as a program–and, most kidmin pastors present a particular program as family ministry.
We are all guilty of confusing our models with our mission and our programs with ministry.
So, here is what I believe is true north as a family ministry leader:
Family ministry means that I spend equal amounts of time on two things:
- Creating a system that ensures that every child, teenager, college student and parent is connected with someone who feels responsible for knowing their next spiritual step and encouraging them to take it.
- Helping parents become active participants in their child or teenager’s spiritual formation.
That’s it. I run everything we do through that grid. How are we helping parents become active participants in their child’s spiritual formation? How are we ensuring that everyone who walks through the door of the church is getting connected in a close personal relationship with someone who feels responsible for knowing their next spiritual step and encouraging them to take it?