I once met with a struggling pastor who, for years, had been trying to encourage parents in his church to be more intentional with disciple-making in their homes.
He had modeled disciple-making in his own home, preached on discipleship in the home and made various resources available to parents. Instead of seeing families become intentional with discipling their kids, parents seemed to rely more on church programs and paid staff to disciple their children.
Out of frustration, he contacted me to see what was missing. I affirmed his efforts but challenged him to examine the overall disciple-making culture in his church. This led to the realization that there was no intentional focus on family ministry.
Does this describe your congregation? Perhaps you too are frustrated and need to look more closely at the disciple-making culture of your church. Following is a summary of “5 Steps to a Healthy Family Ministry in Your Church” by author and ministry consultant Ron Hunter of D6 Family Ministries. Hunter says:
- Stop denying the problem.
Most experts will agree that step one of the process is to admit you are facing a potential crisis if something does not change.
- Find an objective way to assess your church.
Every church is responsible for helping their congregants become more like Christ in their daily life. Hunter says we need to assess, “How well are the families of your church doing this when they are not at church?” There are numerous free survey tools to use to determine the answer to this question. Here’s a survey we offer through the N.C. Baptist Faith at Home ministry.
- Create a plan that increases health.
According to Hunter, “As the ministry leader, if you are the only one recognizing the challenge, the only one doing the assessment, the only one drawing up the strategy for correcting the course – don’t expect others to buy in. Slow down the process and walk your key influencers through the process together. When the group buys in or becomes invested, you will have created a passionate pursuit of health, and, in the long run, your job just got a lot easier.”
- Give parents easy wins.
To help parents disciple their families throughout their day-to-day lives, give them simple handouts, apps or texts that serve as conversation starters for home, in the car or at dinner. A number of resources to assist in these efforts are available through the N.C. Baptist Faith at Home resources.
- Recognize that family ministry cannot occur in isolation.
Remember, Hunter says, to be persistent because when two or three parents figure it out, they will become your best champions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was adapted from “5 Steps to a Healthy Family Ministry in Your Church” by D6 Family Ministries.