Ministry to Families

This afternoon I will be meeting informally with a member of my church who ministers to young families in our church. My questions to him will be:

  1. How can we work together to minister to young families?
  2. What can I do to help you?
  3. What are the biggest challenges facing your family? The families with whom you minister?
  4. What tangible activities can the children’s ministry do which help equip parents to nurture and train their kids?
  5. If money were not an issue, what are the top three things we can do together to benefit families in the church and in our neighborhood?

Are there questions you would add to this list?

Blessings,

Glen Woods

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6 responses to “Ministry to Families

  1. Sounds like a good conversation. Here is a question we keep asking:

    #How can we be more effective reaching unchurched fathers?

  2. Good question Tony. From my experience, it involves a complex array of issues based on the varied possible situations in which families find themselves.

    For me, I typically try to make contact with unchurched fathers on the basis of being a real person to whom they can relate, rather than a religious authority who treats them condescendingly, however unintentionally. I think too many churches botch first contacts with unchurched fathers because they try to connect with them on the basis of regionalized church culture, rather than based on the needs and interests of fathers. The reasons they do not attend church are legion. Find out what it is that will level the playing field for them as they meet with you. In my culture, starbucks, a fishing trip, a sports event, a service event to benefit a hurting family, a neighborhood family event are all possibilities. A personal invitation face to face helps. Letters, emails and postcards are too impersonal. Face time will do wonders to break down walls as long as they feel they are being heard and understood, rather than evaluated and judged. Anyway, there is more that could be said. I hope that little bit helps. :)

    Blessings,

    Glen Woods

  3. Glen,
    That sounds like great advice. We are taking some real steps to go after these guys in missional ways like you mentioned. I had three ministry lunches last week and two this week for this very purpose.

  4. hi tony and glen,

    this is something we are trying to work out too. our emphasis is right now on bringing the children and not much effort yet placed in reaching the parents.

    we even have workers who are bringing kids to church whom they haven’t never (not even once) meet/seen their parents.

    working with family ministries within the same church is an important thing we don’t consider and do well enough. I agree.

    rags

  5. rags,

    I appreciate your candor. For me, it starts by developing genuine caring relationships with parents and those who lead them within the church. As for those outside the church, I find that the most effective ways to reach them is through friends. I don’t place a huge emphasis on “outreach events.” I do emphasize a lifestyle of incarnational living so that people are drawn to Christ by virtue of our character and actions.

    The reality is that parents may allow their kids to come to church for a season, but unless we can somehow connect with parents meaningfully on a personal level and encourage them to enter into the life of the congregation, eventually they may lose motivation to sustain their support in bringing their kids.

    rags and Tony,

    I had my meeting with the other gentleman today. We agreed that we needed to do this again. We also agreed to collaborate on working with parents in finding practical ways to inspire family spiritual formation which flows within the normal everyday rhythms of family life. One key area of need we identified is that of families mentoring each other. That is to say families being in community with other families to such an extent that they influence each other positively in terms of how they relate to spouses and children. Particularly in the Western USA, there is a tendency for families and individuals to live in isolation from each other. The fast paced commuter/consumer lifestyle does not help matters. So it might become a task of the church to help families to learn to live in community so that meaningful healthy relationships of trust can be nurtured. More to come soon. :)

    Blessings,

    Glen Woods

  6. Thanks for the part about the reality of parents allowing their kids to come can only be sustained if they are somehow meaningfully connected as well.

    It’s a great ‘pre-cursor’ note to us.

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