First, my name is Mark Harris and I have been a Children’s Pastor / Family Ministry Pastor for over 15 years. I’ve served in small churches and big churches inVancouverCanada,WisconsinandWashingtonState. I have been married to Cheryl for 12 years and we have 3 beautiful children:Preston, age 7, Jamisen, age 5 and, Karissa, almost 4 years old. Second, thank you to Matt for organizing this Family Ministry tour. (you can check out all the posts HERE… Matt)
Now, back to the question: What is Family Ministry all about? I would argue that Family Ministry is all about Curriculum!! Now, before you agree or disagree, let me tell you a story because what I am saying is probably not what you think I am saying.
When I was in seminary, I was able to take several classes with Eugene Peterson (most known for The Message paraphrase, but his books on pastoral ministry are a MUST READ for those in ministry!). Anyhow, one class I took was on “The Life of Jacob.” At the end of the semester, I was asked, “Did my class on Jacob meet your expectations?” Even I was surprised by my response. I said something to the effect of, “Yes, it met my expectations but… well… I thought it was going to be a class about JACOB and I found more and more that it was a class about ME… and Jacob’s life was just the launching point into my life.” The curriculum for the class was formed through the intersection of issues in MY life and what Scripture said about the issues in Jacob’s life. God’s Word impacted my life in practical ways as we explored what Scripture said about Jacob’s life. Jacob’s life was the launching point into my life.
So what do I mean when I say that Family Ministry is about Curriculum?
In Family Ministry, it is imperative that you know the families in your church and what they are going through and then speak into those lives what scripture says about the issues they are dealing with. All families deal with, for example, relational, financial and spiritual issues but a single parent family, a blended family or a more traditional family will deal with those issues differently. As you understand the issues specific to the families in your church, you will be able to speak into their lives what Scripture says… and the curriculum for your Family Ministry will be formed. The “curriculum” will be different for every church. The curriculum for Family Ministry will be formed from where God’s Word intersects with the lives of the families. It is where scripture becomes practical for daily life in the lives of those in your congregation.
God’s Word will impact the lives of the families in your congregation when those families embrace what God says about the issues that they wrestle with. Just as Jacob wrestled with God and thrived, families in your church will also wrestle with God and thrive.