A Family-Equipping church begins with the mind-set that we will be intentional about making it a priority to champion the concept of parents as the primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives. Here are what could be considered the Primary Principles that will Build a Strong Family Equipping Ministry:
A Strategic Question: How will this element of our ministry equip families to function as the Primary Spiritual Leaders of their Children?
Ask this question about each element of ministry. Any paradigm shift begins with an assessment of the existing model and requires an intentional change based on the desired outcome. Asking this question, every step along the way, ensures the desired objectives will remain a priority.
Parent with an Eternal Goal in Mind
Today’s culture places great pressure on parenting “successful” children. This “success” is typically measured by money – getting a good job, getting in the best schools, focusing on education. Sometimes “success” is determined by popularity – success in sports, or beauty, or the arts. A Family Equipping Ministry will focus on equipping parents to see eternal goals as the priority in parenting. This includes accepting Christ as Savior; following Christ; Loving God; glorifying God in everything; and living out Christ’s Great Commission.
Parenting with an Intentional Plan. (Deut. 6:7)
Someone once said, “If you fail to plan you’re planning to fail.” This is certainly true with parenting. Without a plan parents will soon find their kids grown and leaving home wondering – what happened? We must equip parents with a biblical plan for raising their children – how to evangelize and disciple, how to lead a family worship, how to live a life that honors God.
Intergenerational Interaction and Appreciation. (Psalm 48:13, 71:18; Titus 2)
One consequence of age segregated ministry has been the loss of intergenerational interaction. Creating intentional opportunities for all the generations to be together, to experience life together, and to interact together will significantly strengthen the faith community.
Biblical Faith is Best Taught in the Home. (Deut. 6:7, Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6)
The church is ordained by God and plays a significant role in the spiritual development of all its members. However, the first directive is to the parents for the training up of their children in the way of the Lord. We must uphold parents as the first and best disciple-makers of their own kids. We must create venues and resources to train and encourage our homes to be the place where biblical faith is taught first and best.
High Expectations for Husbands and Fathers. (Eph. 5)
We must encourage high expectations for all our parents – however in today’s culture the biblical role given to men has largely been lost. Husbands and fathers have a unique biblical role to lead their families. The Bible clearly calls men to be the spiritual leaders in their home (Gen 3; 1 Cor 11). Men are charged with the spiritual care of their wives (Eph 5; 1 Peter 3) and the primary responsibility for training and instructing their children in the Lord (Deut 6; Eph 6). We must train men in a biblical understanding of servant leadership and equip them to be true spiritual leaders in their homes.
Passion for the Orphan and the Widow. (James 1:27)
As hard as we work to strengthen the family we must be equally diligent to build a faith community that “adopts” those in our congregation without families, physical or spiritual. We must be intentional about providing unique opportunities for single parents and also for children who are spiritual orphans.
The scriptures are clear that the family is intended to be the primary Spiritual Influence in the life of a child. We as churches should recognize that change is required to encourage and equip parents for their God ordained role a Spiritual Leaders. We can successfully make this paradigm shift if we are willing to be intentional and strategic.
The Foundations and Principles in this post are a part of ”Family Ministry Field Guide” by Timothy Paul Jones