In a grove of trees south of the city of Corinth stood the Asklepion, an ancient temple dedicated to the god of healing (pictured above). Every year, thousands of women and men made pilgrimages to this temple to seek relief for their bodies. Worshipers who believed that they received healing in this place left behind an odd sort of testimony to their experience. Continue reading.
This post on intergenerational diversity in the church is the second part of a two-part series. Click here for the first post in the series.
A Model for Movement toward the Discipline of Generational Diversity
If you look at your church and glimpse a lack of intergenerational ministry, it may seem at first as if the right response is to add a stack of new activities to your church’s calendar. Consider, however, that—according to recent research into the perceptions of pastoral ministers—nearly half of all ministers already feel as if they do not have sufficient time to accomplish all that their ministries demand. Furthermore, when ministry calendars become too crowded, church members can become so busy doing church that no time remains for them to be the church in their homes and communities.
With that in mind, I wish to propose an alternative possibility for the pursuit of intergenerational ministry—one that metamorphoses existing activities instead of adding additional programs. I have colloquially dubbed this alternative “the TIE Model.” Continue reading.
The Function of the Family in the Storyline of God
At the center of God’s story stands this singular act: In Jesus Christ, God personally intersected human history and redeemed humanity at a particular time in a particular place. Yet this central act of redemption does not stand alone. It is bordered by God’s good creation and humanity’s fall into sin on the one hand and by the consummation of God’s kingdom on the other. This story of (1) creation, (2) fall and law, (3) redemption, and (4) consummation is the story that Christians have repeated to one another and to the world ever since Jesus ascended and sent his Spirit to dwell in his first followers’ lives. This age-old plot-line should frame every aspect of our lives—including our ministries to families. Seen from the perspective of this fourfold storyline, here’s what becomes clear about family, family ministries, and diversity: From the beginning, the family has been a God-ordained means for the fulfillment of God’s purposes, but God’s plan for the family has always been to reach beyond the family to form a diverse community.Continue reading.
I delivered this paper on an expanded definition for family ministry in May 2017 at the HOUSE Conference in Australia, a conference sponsored by YouthWorks and themed around the intersection between family ministry and ecclesiology. This post is the third part of a three-part series.
A RENEWAL OF INTEREST IN INTERGENERATIONAL MINISTRY? YES AND NO
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, church leaders from a broad range of ecclesial backgrounds began to question the assumption that discipleship occurs most effectively when it is segmented generationally. In 1988, Roman Catholic educator James William White published an influential text calling for intergenerational religious education. Lutheran educator Ben Freudenburg called for youth ministries to provide three types of programming: home-centered, peer-centered, and intergenerational. Presbyterian youth minister Mark DeVries presented a “smorgasbord of ideas to equip parents and to create intentional intergenerational connections between youth and adults” in his book Family-Based Youth Ministry. The Search Institute even developed a survey to assess the intergenerational health of congregations. And yet, as the family ministry movement has grown, the parent-equipping component has tended to eclipse the forging of intergenerational connections, particularly in evangelical contexts. The intergenerational aspect of church-as-family has been overshadowed in practice by the dynamic of family-as-church.
Why is it that parent-equipping tends to eclipse intergenerational ministry in churches? Continue reading.
I delivered this paper proposing a revised definition for family ministry in May 2017 at the HOUSE Conference in Australia, a gathering sponsored by YouthWorks College and themed around the intersection between family ministry and ecclesiology. This post on a revised definition for family ministry is the first part of a three-part series.
1. A DEFINITION FOR FAMILY MINISTRY
In 2009, I developed a definition of “family ministry.” A few years later, I recognized that my definition for family ministry was incomplete. This paper serves as my retractatio of that original definition—not in the sense of a “retraction” or “rejection” but in the sense that Augustine of Hippo once used the term, a “re-treatment” in light of later reflection.