Family-friendly, family-centered, family-sensitive, and family-empowered. Four different family ministry models. Four different ways of doing it. Or you can actually blend them, which means there’s an infinite number of ways of doing it. But the reality is there’s no perfect way to do family ministry.
There’s just discovering what God is up to in the lives of your families and how you can come alongside of Him. I’ve learned that, of course, from Michelle Anthony. But I just stole it, so let’s pretend that it’s mine.
As I’ve gone around and seen these 4 family ministry models in play in a lot of different local churches, I’ve learned a thing or two or three. Yeah. I have 3 things to share with you.
Try Something New
Number 1: try something new. Why? Because if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always had. If you want to see something new in the life of your church, you have to try something new.
You might have to invite little 4-year-olds into your main worship service in a few months. Give yourself some time to plan. But invite them in. Allow the mommies and daddies to model what authentic worship looks like to these young people in this church.
I’ve learned a lot from high schoolers. I’ve ministered to a lot of high schoolers over the years, and a lot of them were leaving the church after high school because, when they go to a big church consistently for the first time, it’s the first time that they’ve actually been to a service that’s not completely catered to their age group. And so they’re gone. We have to give them unique experiences to be a part of the church.
But again, that’s just one family ministry model. We also need to equip families, not just tell them that they’re primary. We need to actually empower them to be the primary nurturers in their child’s faith. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m not going to talk about that so I’m just getting off track.
Stop Comparing and Start Sharing
So number 2, the next thing that you can actually learn is this: do not compare, share. Go visit another church who is doing a completely different model of family ministry than you are. Because you have much to learn. But the thing that might limit you from going and learning is comparison.
And it’s true. Comparison is the thief of all joy. You might miss out on what God is doing in the life of your church because you’re busy comparing yourself to other family ministry models. Would you stop it and simply just learn from it?
I feel like culture is constantly screaming at us. It’s saying, “you either win or you lose,” and “you’re either the best or you’re the worst.” Can’t we be people who have a different mentality? Like, maybe you’re winning or maybe you’re just learning, not losing.
If you look at your events simply as either winning or losing, you might miss out on all the learnings that you could have had along the way. Same thing when you go to visit another church and look at their ministry model that’s different than yours. Rather than comparing, simply learn.
Get Your Families on Board
And, lastly, number 3: get your families on board. If you say something to your families, they might understand. If they say something, they’re going to remember it. If they discover it though, they’re going to own it. And people act on what they own.
So if you want your families to act, if you want them to live out their faith in the context of their family, you’ve got to give them an opportunity to discover it for themselves. So rather than all the weight being on your shoulders to come up with which family ministry model or blend is going to be the best for my church, would you invite your families and empower them in that process along the way?
You don’t have to do this alone. In fact, you shouldn’t do this alone. Number 1, you’re equipped with His spirit. Number 2, you have families to come alongside to make this decision with you so you can act on the things that you discover together. Yeah!