When asked to provide a step-by-step process for implementing family ministry, Mark DeVries jokingly provided this progression: “Try something. Fail. Try something else. Fail again. Try something else. Stumble on one thing that works. Repeat what works. Try something else … you get the idea.” I appreciate Mark’s honesty and good humor, and there’s certainly an extent to which this progression rightly describes the way ministry happens! At the same time, most of us in family ministry could use a few more specific definitions and processes as we formulate plans for family ministry in our churches.
What Is “Family Ministry”?
“Unlike other areas of ministry focus,” Chap Clark has observed, “family ministry emerged without any sort of across-the-board consensus of just what it is. … Because of this lack of a common perception of family ministry, people responsible for family ministry in churches are often confused and frustrated.”
So what should the implementation of family ministry look like in your church?
Here’s a brief video I made for my students that may help you as you as you try to answer that question. I don’t pretend to provide all the answers in this video. What I have tried to provide is a quick survey of three pathways to family ministry that may spark some helpful ideas for the congregation where God has placed you. If this video is helpful, feel free to use it as you train ministry staff and volunteers in your church.
Three Models of Family Ministry
Which of these three models is the closest to your church’s present practices? What is your hope for the future of family ministry in your church? What are the most significant obstacles that seem to be standing in the way of healthy family ministry in your context?