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Developing a Family Ministry in Church

Tim Smith

Apprentice Model
Parents are trained to have the primary responsibility of discipling their children in the home. Church leaders are resources.
Primary family ministry vehicles:
*Parent-training seminars.
*Family service projects.
*Family devotional resources provided for families to use at home.
*Family retreats with a goal of teaching families how to grow together at home.
*Family classes or family youth groups (see the "Family Connection" sidebar).
*Mentoring programs.
*Senior adults adopt families to provide support and training for parents.

Instead of sending family members to all corners of the church, keep them together with a Family Youth Group. Identify three sets of families-those with children in kindergarten and younger, those with children in elementary school, and those with children in both age groups.
Form groups of five or six families within each set. Then enlist a facilitator for each group. Encourage groups to determine a time to meet each month.
Group time can begin with recreation such as volleyball or kickball. Choose activities that everyone will enjoy. Serve light refreshments. Then have an active devotion.
Add things to reflect your church's style. You may want to have worship, extended prayer, or more wild games. Let each group shape its personality.
Encourage families to take turns hosting the group. The host family can provide refreshments and choose the activity that families will do, such as swimming, skating, going to a park, having a scavenger hunt, or playing board games.

Debbie Gravell
Wallingford, Connecticut

Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change. Originally published in September-October, 1996 in Children's Ministry Magazine.


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