Several years ago our church (www.fbcjax.net) made the decision to switch from a silo driven ministry model (unintentional) to a family equipping model. Simply put, we wanted to spend our time and resources partnering with families to disciple the next generation. As we were preparing to make this massive switch, a friend, Andy Tilly asked me an earth shattering question about our FM plan. He asked, “how will you be a church that ministers to families not a church that simply has a family ministry.” So true. Almost every church in America will have a tab on their website that says something about “family ministry”. But how are the local churches actually ministering to families? How are we coming along side families that have no spare time, no seminary training and equipping them to be the spiritual hero’s in their home? Here are a few keys that helped our church develop a plan to minister to families.
Be Patient: Creating a ministry system that ministers to families is a long process. Currently our church is in year three of our five year implementation plan. THREE long years and we are just now beginning to implement. If you are a Type A leader like myself this will drive you insane. Trust that God will use this time to speak wisdom and truth into your leadership as the vision grows.
Know your culture: Who attends your church? What do they believe about church? What are they expecting to get from your church? What do they believe about God? What is most important to them as a parent? What are they most afraid of? Knowing your culture will allow you to create a family ministry plan that fits your city.
Clarify Your WIN: Decide as a church what is really important and what really matters (within family ministry). What do you want your families to tell their friends about when they talk about your family ministry? What will you church invest your time, monies, influencers, and resources in?
Align Priorities: Once you have decided your win – align your priorities to help accomplish the win. Sit down with your team and determine what are the things that you are actually investing your time, monies and resources in? You may determine (like our church) that the things we invested the most in were not the things that were most important to us. The truth is, saying yes to ministering to families means that you have to say no to other good things.
Resource Families: Now that you know your culture, clarified the win, aligned priorities you can begin putting tools into the hands of parents that restores them as the spiritual hero’s in their home.