Three Angles on Family Ministry

Last week at our Sticky Faith Learning Cohort Summit with twelve church teams, our colleague Chap Clark shared some of his thoughts and research during one of our sessions. Part of the discussion that ensued centered around family ministrythat enigmatic piece of many of our churches that most of us are never quite sure how to pursue.

I was reminded of the way Chap frames three modes of family ministry, something Meredith Miller detailed well in this article a few years back. Chap maintains that family ministries tend to fall primarily into one of these emphases:

  1. The Counseling/Care ModeThe church provides Guardrails and E.R.s
  2. The Nuclear Family ModeParents as the primary spiritual nurturers
  3. The Church as Family ModeChurch family is primary over nuclear family

While each of these modes has strengths and weaknessesand perhaps the best family ministry approaches incorporate all threeour churches tend to fall mostly into one philosophical approach. As Chap has pushed us all to think harder about this, and as Kara wrote recently, we think God is calling us to a bigger vision of embracing kids and adults together in the church.

What about your church? Where do you tend to lean in your approach to family ministry, and where do you sense God might be leading you deeper?

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