Although the physical act of going to church is a central tenet of the faith, true faith is rooted in the Christian household. For people of faith, family ministry is crucial to maintaining a true understanding of Scripture and a relationship with God.
True faith must be learned—and practiced—in the home.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6-9, NIV).
God Is in the Home
The true responsibility of imparting a Christian life and faith to children lies with the parents in the home. The Bible is filled with examples of family ministry. Providing your family with not only the study and practice of Scripture at home, but, more importantly, showing your children firsthand examples of a Christian lifestyle by living biblically on a daily basis is the foundation of the family ministry structure.
Supplemental, Not Separate
Try not to think of your church as being separate from your family ministry. Your church can and should be the springboard—the launchpad—for your ministry at home. It is through your church that you'll meet the people and develop the resources (literature, media, support groups, retreats, etc.) that will become the basis for your home ministry. Not only isn't your church a separate entity apart from your family ministry, but it is your family ministry's home base.
Start at Home
Family is the foundation of the church, not vice versa. If husbands, wives, children and siblings are living in a home whose members don't embrace the faith in their daily lives, no amount of church or Sunday school will break the bonds of a disintegrated family.
Think of your family ministry as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Without these basic building blocks, the algebra and calculus of church are simply not possible. Good parishes are built on good, Christian families.
Hold Yourself Accountable
There is no singular, agreed-upon definition of a family ministry. Each family is different, and therefore, so will be each home ministry. But one overriding principle is the responsibility and accountability of parents. The blessing of children comes with extraordinary responsibility, and when it comes to imparting the faith to children, the burden must lie squarely not on the school or the church, but on the mother and father.
Following are some resources that can help you have an active family ministry:
- Podcasts such as the Ed Young Jr. Podcast and Visionary Family Ministries
- Websites such as Orange and Ministry Tools Resource Center
- Books such as Church + Home and Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide
Although Sunday school and spiritual education both hold incredible value, dropping off your children and entrusting their spiritual needs to strangers is simply not enough. Just as your child plays the violin at a recital, the daily repetitive practice is done at home—even if it means the home is a little more noisy because of it. It is easier to trust your child’s spiritual education to “professionals,” but the Bible says that the true professionals are the family.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about religion and profiles religious programs.
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