In our last post we looked at What Families Want From Church. Today I want to share about some things that I believe families NEED from church. This includes everything mentioned in the last post and more…but they may not realize it.
Here’s my short list of some of the things families need (in no particular order of importance):
- Leadership. You’ve seen me write on here before what I learned from John Maxwell & seen proven over 20 years of ministry since then: Everything rises & falls on leadership. It’s no different in our churches and with our families. Yet so many churches we work with lack this essential characteristic in their children’s and family ministry. What is leadership? Leadership isthe capacity to influence others toward the pursuit of a worthy vision. Can you do that? If not, learn to. And make it your #1 priority. Develop others to do the same. You’ll be amazed at how your ministry will change. (BTW, paired with leadership is ensuring that ministry management happens, as well. Management is the ability to coordinate the efforts of those pursuing [what should be] a worthy vision.)
- Communication. We mentioned this in the last post, but I’m listing it again because it is so important. We need to develop an ability to communicate many things – from the vision of our ministry to the smallest details – through a variety of ways. The burden is on us, not on them, to ensure it’s heard.
- A Plan. Specifically, a spiritual formation plan which partners with parents on behalf of their children. If a child proceeds through our ministry from birth through 5th or 6th grade, how will their spiritual formation progress? What’s the plan? How do you evaluate their progress? How do you equip parents to participate in this plan? How do you adjust to fit into the parents discipleship processes with their children? What’s the plan??? Remember, most parents recognize the fact that they are the primary spiritual influencers in their child’s life, but most simply don’t know how to do it. Offering a plan goes a long way in helping them fulfill their obligations.
- Opportunity. What opportunity do families need? They need opportunity to serve together. When children and families serve, the likelihood of faith ownership increases dramatically. Find ways to allow families to serve – anything and everything from cutting out crafts to participating in family missions trips. There is little you can do that will shape faith more practically than presenting opportunities to serve.
- Relationship. The other “bookend” to my ministry philosophy (the first being the statement on leadership mentioned above), is this: Ministry happens best in the context of relationships. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, you’re going to do it better and it’s going to impact deeper if there’s a relationship involved. Build relationships with kids and with parents (and train your team to do the same). Teaching will be better. Attendance will be better. Recruiting will be better. You get the idea.
- Scriptural Teaching. I wasn’t going to add this because I’ve written to this point with the assumption that our goal is to disciple others through our ministries. However, I’ll add it just to be clear. Families need us to remain focused on Biblical teaching. With so much noise in the world today, someone (us!) needs to remain true to scripture (even when it’s hard) and present it in a relevant & timely manner to our families.