Family Ministry Considerations

We organize our next-generation ministries under one umbrella because we do not want to silo individual efforts away from others. While some of our approaches vary due to the ages, the overall strategy is the same and unified.

Models for Family Ministry

When it comes to a family ministry in a church, four options exist:

  1. Family-Isolated – This programmatic approach keeps all ages separate and distinct. The church expects specialized pastors to evangelize and disciple those within their age bracket.
  2. Family-Based – Maintaining a programmatic approach, a family-based model includes extra events to bring the family together.
  3. Family-Equipping – Retaining specific programs for ages, the family-equipping model restructures ministries to emphasize the priority of the family.
  4. Family-Integrated – Rejecting any type of age-based segregation, the family-integrated model focuses on the centrality of the home and the unity of all things church-related.

For our purposes, we lean toward a Family-Equipping model. We do have age-specific ministries, but we align in approach, unify in content, and invest in effort.

Shifts for Family Ministry

Practically speaking, we have made these intentional shifts:

  1. Brand all smaller gathering age environments as Gospel Groups so we can encourage all ages to grow in the gospel and go with the gospel.
  2. Unify all curricula so that every age person is learning the same content and facilitates natural discipleship conversations.
  3. Remove children’s worship program to encourage families to worship together. This move allows all ages to be in a group and worship on a Sunday morning together. The only difference is in preschool ministry, where we stretch the program out over two hours so that children can engage in worship when it is the right time.
  4. Coordinate staff leadership in all ministries on the family team so that they lead in the same direction and create joint events and resources for families.

Reasons for Family Ministry

  1. Statistics show that our current approach needs addressing. A shocking number of students are leaving the church by the end of their freshman year in college. We are losing significant ground a generation at a time for all our investments.
  2. Discipleship brings a family together. Family discipleship is not only the best approach for long-term maturity, but it also unites a family enormously. In a culture that seems bent on separating the family, the church must bring them back together.
  3. The Bible commands it. The narrative of Scripture emphasizes the need for families to pass on a spiritual legacy to future generations (some key passages – Gen. 18:19; Deut. 6:4-9; Josh 24:14-15; Ps. 78:1-8; Ps. 127:1-5; Mal. 4:6; Eph. 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 1:2-7).

Objectives for Family Ministry

  • Equip Parents – Reorient our approach that seeks programs to supplement parents instead of parents supporting programs.
  • Enhance Programs – Intentionally align our ministries to harmonize with one another and equip the family.
  • Engage Needs – Acknowledge the families that are at a disadvantage and provide intentional relationships and opportunities to fill what is lacking.