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Developing a Family Ministry in Church

Tim Smith

From no family ministry to pro family ministry

The primary responsibility for Christian growth and formation lies with the parents. This realization is the first step in developing your family ministry.


"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates"-Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

Notice the absence of Sunday school teachers in this passage. I'm not saying Sunday school is unbiblical; I'm saying it's supplemental to what happens in the Christian home. Too often, Christian parents defer their responsibility to the volunteers at church to "bring them up in the training and the instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

God, however, is calling the church to give that responsibility back to parents-where it belongs. Scripture is full of examples of family ministry. Before you begin your family ministry, study the biblical model. You'll discover that the primary responsibility for Christian growth and formation lies with the parents. This realization is the first step in developing your family ministry.

The second step is developing ways to help parents. What do parents need? They need the four I's.

1. Information

Parents want useful and current information about parenting. Invite a group of parents for dessert and ask them, "What would be the best forum for providing you with information?" and "What are some issues you'd like to know more about?"

In an informal survey, Tim Kurth, a Christian education director in Illinois, discovered that parents in his church needed help balancing family, work, and church; healing for troubled marriages; and resources to study God's Word outside of church services.

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