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Developing a Family Ministry in Church

Tim Smith

Have an overnight retreat that focuses on the parent-child relationship. Design age-appropriate activities that children and parents will enjoy. Emphasize cooperation more than competition. Include a craft that parents and children can work on together to keep as treasured mementos.

We have a parents orientation meeting to help parents understand our children's dedication celebration. This might be the first intergenerational event for parents and infants. We offer it during our worship service so child care isn't a problem. Many parents bring their babies to the orientation. We serve refreshments and encourage parents to develop relationships with each other.

At another spiritual milestone in our church, we have a Baptism Pizza Party for families. Parents, siblings, and baptized children meet for a quick party after church. After dinner, each child is called to the stage and affirmed for his or her spiritual growth. Children receive public recognition, a baptism certificate, and a Bible signed by their teacher and the children's pastor.

Whatever you do to integrate parents with children, keep it simple and fun.

4. Inclusion

As you strategize and develop your family ministry, don't do it alone. Some children's ministers fail at establishing family ministry because they try it by themselves.

Genuine Christian community is intergenerational so include all ages. Older children's input could increase your impact. For example, you could ask fourth- and fifth-graders for fun game ideas or suggestions for a parent-child campout. Some children's workers and teachers may not have the time, but others will see how they can maximize their ministries by establishing a partnership with parents and children. Invite parents to give their input, but assure them that they won't be manipulated into working.

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