Thursday Book Club: Foundations for Family Ministry

Tuesday/Thursday Book Club:
Perspectives on Family Ministry
Foundations for Family Ministry, chapters 4

Beginning with chapter 4, Jones begins to provide a foundation for family ministry.  The chapter serves as a lead-in for the four perspectives on family ministry presented in the chapter that follows.  Many churches think of family ministry in terms of “family counseling”–merely as a means to strengthen and salvage hurting families.  Others use “family minisperspectives-on-family-ministrytry” to talk about church ministry as a whole.  After all, the church is the family of faith.  The family ministry perspectives presented in this book seek to provide practical models by which churches can equip the nuclear family to be the primary training ground for youth and children.   Jones defines family ministry as follows:

The process of intentionally and persistently realigning a congregation’s proclamation and practices so that parents are acknowledged, trained, and held accountable as the persons primarily responsible for the discipleship of their children.

He then gives a brief outline of the major perspectives reviewed in the remainder of the book.  One of the best things about this book is that the men who write the “perspectives” chapters are local church practitioners who have developed their philosophies within the trenches of ministry.  So, here is a brief overview of what is to come in the next few posts:

The Family-Integrated Ministry Model: Family-integrated ministry is by far the most radical.  In a family-integrated church, all age-graded classes and events are eliminated. There is no youth group, no children’s ministry, no age-graded Sunday school program.  The generations learn and worship together, and parents bear primary responsibility for the
evangelism and discipleship of their children.  Voddie Baucham, Jr., author of Family Driven Faith, has been the most vocal advocate of this perspective.

The Family-Based Ministry Model: In the family-based model, no radical changes occur in the church’s internal structure. The congregation still maintains youth ministry, children’s ministry, singles ministry, etc. What makes this model different is that the focus of each ministry shifts.  Students may still experience worship and small groups in peer groups, separated from other generations. However, each ministry sponsors events and learning experiences (with inter generational curriculum) that are intentionally designed to draw generations together. Mark DeVries pioneered this approach in his book Family-Based Youth Ministry.

The Family-Equipping Ministry Model: In the family-equipping model, many semblances of age-organized ministry remain intact. But the church leaders plan organize their ministries so that they champion the place of parents as primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives.   The church intentionally co-champions the role of both the church and the home in equipping students and families.  Two strong advocates of this perspective are Steve Wright, author of ApParent Privelege, and Bryan Haynes, author of the forthcoming book, Shift: What it takes to finally reach families today.

The three perspectives are not mutually exclusive.  There is overlap, but each perspective is nevertheless a distinctive approach?  Where does your church fit?  Have you adopted one of these models?  Are you somewhere in between?

Father’s Day Music Liturgy

Father’s Day Sojourn Kids Music by Bill Bell

Male singer and guitarist: “Hi, I’m Mr. (First name)”

Female singer: “I’m Ms. (First name)”

Guitarist/other instrumentalist: “I’m Mr. (First name)”

Male Singer/Guitarist:
Does anyone know what holiday we celebrate this month?  That’s right, Father’s Day.  Father’s Day is a day that our whole country celebrates daddies.  Dads are the ones who protect their families and care for them in hard times.  When you fall and scrape your knee, it might be your daddy who picks you up and holds you while you cry.  Can you tell of other times where your daddy cared for you in hard or painful times? (take 2 or 3 stories)  Well, God the Father is like that, but even more so.  He cares for us perfectly and is always there when things are good or bad.  This song tells about this Father, who cares for all his children every moment of every day.

1. “Sovereign One” Words and Music by Zach Jones (c) 2004 Sovereign Grace Music

Female Singer: Do you all know the ultimate way that God showed his love for us?  By sending his Son to die for us.  “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were sinners Christ died for us.”  God the Father did something really loving when he sent his Son to die for sinners like you and me.  And by doing this, he invites sinners to call him Father for all of eternity—that’s a long time!  Let’s sing this song to help us remember: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were sinners Christ died for us.”

2. “Romans 5:8 (NIV) Scripture Memory Song,” Music by Mark Altrogge, as Recored on “A Ransom For Many,” Hide The Word, Volume 2 © Forever Grateful Music

Male Singer/Guitarist:
Some of you may have daddies that you see every day.  Some of you don’t have a daddy who’s around very much.  Some of you may not have a daddy at all.  Whether your dad is around a lot or not, no dad is perfect because every dad is a sinner just like I am and just like you are.  Because we all sin, we fail not only to love each other perfectly, but also to love God perfectly.  When we or daddies or mommies or whoever should show love all the time, we fail and show anger or meanness or rudeness or disrespect.  But God the Father has a love that is unending.  For those that believe in him, he never turns his back, never fails, never leaves, never lets go.  His love lasts forever.

3. “Your Love” Words and music by Bob Kauflin (c) 2004 Sovereign Grace Praise

Guitarist or other instrumentalist: We are going to pray. . . fold your hands and be still and talk to God. Let’s pray.

Thank you, God, for sending your Son to die on the cross so that all who believe in you can call you our heavenly Father.  And thank you for letting us see what your love and care is like through our daddies here on earth.  Help us to honor our fathers. Please show special grace to our dads as they love us.  Help them to trust in Jesus alone for salvation and hope. God, help our dads to teach us about you every day.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

4.  “God’s Love Goes On Forever,” Words and Music by Chandi Plummer, © 2009 Chandi Plummer/Sojourn Music

Memory Monday 06/15/09

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8a)

What is “Memory Monday”? Each week I’ll post Scripture and/or Bible doctrine memory work from the previous Sunday’s children’s Bible lessons. Here is the challenge! Learn the memory work together as a family. Then, kids, come to our Sunday gatherings next week and recite the memory work to Mrs. Kelsey Barnes (St. Matthews campus), Mr. David Kidd (Germantown campus) or me to receive a reward.

Praise Factory: Free Children’s Ministry Curriculum

praise-factoryWhile I was at the Children Desiring God conference, I ran into my friend Deepak Reju.  He serves as an associate pastor  for family and counseling ministries at an influential church in Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  The church has recently put their self-written Praise Factory curriculum online for free.  When I got back to town, I received a note from Bill and Courtney Bell informing me that they’d found the site and some helpful things there.  Bill and Courtney used the curriculum when leading the children’s ministry at a previous church.  Later, I saw a brief review of the curriculum at Ministry-to-Children.com.

Well, I knew it had to be good, but this week is the first that I’ve been able to take a look at the site myself.  Here is the run down.  The Praise Factory Curriculum is designed to teach systematic theology to children.  It provides a complete scope and sequence for 2 year-olds through fifth grade divided into three age divisions.  For each division, complete lesson plans, musical scores, mp3 sound tracks, and parent resources are provided.  Here is the run down: Continue Reading…

Tuesday Book Club: Family Ministry Assumptions

Tuesday/Thursday Book Club:
Perspectives on Family Ministry
Family Ministry Assumptions, chapters 2-3

In his remaining introductory chapters, Jones give an overview of some assumptions that are common to leaders within the family ministry movement.  While there are varying views of how a family ministry should be organized (reviewed in the second half of the book), there are at least two common assumptions.  Here they are:

perspectives-on-family-ministry1. The task of training children in faith is too significant to be surrendered to professionals. Ministers, elders, and deacons should equip parents, but the task of training children (like the task of dating one’s wife) is too significant to be surrendered wholly to professionals.  From a biblical standpoint (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Psalm 78:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21), parents are the primary faith trainers of their children.  According to the Barna research group, Christian parents commonly agree with this assumption, but the majority  generally rely upon their church to do all of the religious training.  According to the research, the majority of parents do not spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or studying religious materials with their children.  They do not feel equipped to do so.  Sadly, very few student  ministires are talking about how to partner with parents to disciple children.

2.  The “teenager” is a cultural invention. Believe it or not, the term “teenager” was never used until 1941.  Of course, the fact of adolescence is ancient.  After all, the book of Proverbs is written to address the young adolescent man.  But, according to Jones, the social function of the adolescent years changed during the latter half of the twentieth century.  “What emerged for the first time during these decades was a distinct adolescent culture that differed radically from the culture of parents and other adults.”  The teenage years were no longer viewed as an intermediary life-stage with adulthood as the goal but a distinctive “youth culture” or “orientation” that resisted movement toward adulthood.  The 20th century church responded (some would say accommodated) to this phenomenon with a preponderance of age-focused ministries.    They began as para-church ministries (the YMCA, Young Life, Youth for Christ) then church youth groups began to imitate the para-church ministry models.  Youth groups developed “their own distinct expressions of Christian community, disconnected from the faith of their mothers and fathers.”  The Family Ministry movement in its various forms seeks to address and deconstruct in various ways the departmentalizing and compartmentalizing of the church’s people.

So, what do you think?  Do you agree with these two assumptions?  How is your church addressing them.  More to come soon as I continue to work through Dr. Jones’ book.

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