Many churches are jumping on the Holy Spirit powered reformation of family ministry. Unfortunately, some are exploring family ministry for the wrong reasons. Here are five reasons NOT to build a family ministry in your church.
- The majority of children and teens growing up in our churches today are leaving the faith when they become adults. If we do a better job equipping parents, we will see more children keep the faith.
- Marriages both within the church and within the community are in crisis. If we build a marriage ministry, we can lower the divorce rate.
- Families are over-committed and have precious little time together. If we plan family events we can provide opportunities for them to grow together.
- When new people come to the church one of their first concerns is what programs we have to help their family. If we create a dynamic family ministry more people will choose our church.
- Every year we are banging our head against the wall trying to get enough volunteers in our youth and children’s ministry. If we do a better job including parents they can help make the church programs successful.
While all five of these things may be true, none of them are sufficient reasons for a local church to engage in family ministry.
There is only one reason for the church of Jesus Christ to radically commit herself to family ministry. In the Bible, God tells us that He created the institution family to advance the Gospel and build His Kingdom. The family is a “Great Commission” institution. He calls parents to be the primary spiritual trainers of their children and at home. (Genesis 1:28, 18:18-19, Deuteronomy 6:5-7, Psalm 78, Acts 2:38-39). God created marriage for the purpose of spiritual discipleship (Ephesians 5) and the raising of the next generation for the glory of God (Malachi 2:13-16).
God then called the early church to equip the family for spiritual success. The church brought families together for worship. The church trained parents, particularly fathers, to disciple their children at home (Ephesians 6:4). The church called married men and women to prioritize their ministry and commitment to their spouse above all others (Ephesians 5). Men were not qualified to serve as pastors/elders if they were not already serving as the loving spiritual leader of their homes (Titus 1:5). The early church advanced the Gospel in and through families and we must do the same.
Don’t begin family ministry because of bad statistics, failing marriages, hurting families, or struggling programs. Instead, build your family ministry on the truth that God has created the family to reach the lost, disciple the next generation, and build His Kingdom. Commit yourself to inspire and equip every family in your church for this divine mission!