Home-Focused Family Ministry
By Willie Batson, MA
Ministry to children is a family affair – one that is based in the home and is replenished and refueled by the church. And effective ministry to families requires a three-pronged approach:
- Equip couples with the skills and tools to build healthy marriages that last.
- Train parents how to raise Christian children in a healthy home environment.
- Develop and train family ministers with tools that build stronger marriages and families.
A biblical family ministry recognizes that God created families to be the center for the spiritual and moral discipleship of children, so that “they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (Psalm 78:7). The sad fact is that a vast number of Christian parents don’t intentionally disciple their children in the faith.
Most parents agree that they are responsible for the spiritual and moral development of their kids. That’s the good news. However, the reality is that too many have outsourced this God-given commission to the local church. Why? In many cases, they lacked good models as they were growing up, and they don’t think they are can do it. But the reality is that ministry to children requires a family foundation – parents to lead and shape the child’s faith formation.
There are several things we can do to help parents turn their homes into spiritual discipleship centers:
- Encourage parents to write down their family values – the transcendent principles and truths that guide their life together.
- Guide parents in determining their family mission statement – what God is calling them to do and be as a family.
- Equip parents with tools and skills that will assist them in fulfilling their God-given mission. Show them “how” through training events and other resources.
- Provide mentors to meet with parents to assess their family strengths and growth areas as they develop a working strategy to make their home a spiritual formation center.
- Offer creative resources for parents to help them have a regular family-night-at-home where they teach spiritual truths to their children.
- Merge — rather than segregate — parents and children at church. Plan intergenerational learning opportunities that are innovative, inspiring, and interesting.
Instead of usurping the parental responsibility for the spiritual development of children from Christian families, our ministries can and should act as an enhancement to the parents’ efforts, but not as a replacement.