In yesterday’s post I talked about ministering to “modern family”. Today I wanted to look at what exactly modern family was. To start let’s look at the popular TV sitcom with the same name.
- Jay and Gloria Pritchett: Jay is a divorced man with adult children, now re-married to a much younger women. Together they raise Gloria’s son.
- Phil and Claire: Claire is a stay at home mom, Phil is a busy real estate agent. They are married and parents to Haley, Alex and Luke.
- Mitchell and Cameron: Mitchell and Cameron are gay men that live together and, together have adopted a Vietnamese baby.
Looking at the three families represented by this show there is only one that would stand a good of being welcomed and comfortable in most of churches. Most of our ministries are set up to only minister to families like Phil and Claire.
So, what is modern family?
- Divorce: statistics say that 50% or more of marriages end in divorce. If this is anywhere near true, then we are going to have people in our communities and in our church who have been through or are going through divorce. For those of us that minister to children or youth this means that we WILL be ministering to kids and youth that have been touched by divorce.
- Blended families: Where there is divorce there will be blended families. These families present some very unique issues in the area of parenting. Many of the rules that apply to parenting kids whose parents are married simply don’t apply to the blended family.
- Single parents: Whether the result of divorce or of “illegitimacy” all around us are children who live with only one parent. In most cases this one parent is the mom, but there are some single dads out there raising there children.
- Kids being raised by grandparents: In the communities we serve there are grandparents raising their grandchildren. There are a myriad of reasons that this happens. For some it may be because of the death of one or both of the parents. Maybe one or both of the parents are incarcerated. Maybe the parents have simply turned away from the children. Regardless of the reasons, these grandparents need our help. Their situation presents unique challenges that the “standard” family don’t face.
- Gay and lesbian parents: Regardless of how you feel about homosexuality, gay marriage or any of the other issues related to this topic, the fact is that gay and lesbian adults are becoming parents all around us. There are a variety of ways that this transpires. For some it starts as a heterosexual marriage that ends in divorce and finds one of the parents in a same-sex relationship raising the children from the previous marriage. In some cases it is through adoption or in-vitro fertilization or even through surrogacy. Regardless of how it happens same-sex parents are a reality in our communities.
- Teen Parents: Reports say that teen pregnancy is actually on a decline in some areas of our country. However, it still exists. Obviously a teen mother (and father) need the church to be a safe and loving place. This situation leaves us with a teen and parent that needs to be ministered to as well as the child.
I don’t think that anyone in ministry would say that these people need to be intentionally ignored. Yet that is exactly what we have been doing. While we have not made an intentional choice to exclude these families, we have neglected them. I don’t claim to have all the answers to the dilemma of ministering to the modern family. But, I believe the first step is to start talking about it. We can no longer ignore such a large piece of our community. Through this series I hope to give you some resources that can help. I hope to spur thought about this issue. I hope through this to help you and me better minister to ALL families, not just the ones that meet the Biblical ideal.
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