** Reviewed,  Family Ministry

When the Parents Aren’t THE Parents

In yesterday’s post I talked about the fact that parents ARE the primary spiritual voice in a child’s life and how we should be helping them to make the most of this voice. However, as I got ready to publish that post I started thinking about my recent posts about the modern family(Ministering to Modern Family, What is Modern Family?). This got me thinking that maybe I should address yesterdays post in regards to the modern family.

Well, I am not going to define modern family. I already took a shot at that in the post mentioned above. What I do want to do is help to raise an awareness that family may not look like what we think it does,  or what we think it should. The basic principles that I mentioned in yesterday’s post will apply to any situation, but we do need to be intentional about considering the other forms that family takes.

Single Parents: There are unique challenges presented by having only one parent as the primary person raising their children. When you write materials, teach classes, plan events, or look for resources be sure to keep the single parent in mind.

Blended families: The rules that apply to two parents raising their own biological children don’t all apply when one of the parents is not biological. For me this is an area that I know little about as my parents are still married, my wife’s parents are still married and my wife and I are still married. This being true, we need to spend time with these parents. Learn from them what their unique needs are, then look for ways that you can equip, encourage, and empower these parents to make the most of their voice in the lives of their children.

Grandparents raising grand kids: Our world has changed a lot in the past 20-30 years. For this reason raising children is much different then when grandparents were raising their kids. Their are challenges that kids and parents face these days that didn’t even exist when these grandparents were raising their own kids.

Same Sex Parents: There may not be any of these families in your church, but there is a good chance that they are in your community. These families present a parenting perspective that most of us have never even dealt with. Personally, I have no idea how to approach this one, but we need to be intentional about including these families in our thought process as we plan and prepare.

Cohabitating Parents: There is a good chance that you have some of these in your church right now. Have you ever taken the time to consider the unique challenges that this family situation  presents when it comes to discipling their children?

Adoptive Families: A child adopted by a married couple comes the closest to typical of the ones listed here. This is so long as they are of the same race or ethnicity. However, even if they are, there exist unique challenges that parents raising their biological children may not face.

In our churches and in our communities there are families that don’t fit into what we would say is the Biblical ideal. This is to be expected because our churches are made up of people that are struggling to live according to the Biblical ideal. Our natural human tendency is to gravitate towards people that are like us. For me that means married, white, parents. Knowing this I need to be intentional to seek out the families in my church that don’t look like me.  I must be constantly thinking about how to connect with and minister to the families that are like the ones listed above. As I seek to equip, encourage and empower parents I need to be aware of the fact that not all families look like mine. At the same time, all families need Jesus and all parents need to be equipped.

Keep these families in mind when you are planning, writing, and searching our resources.

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

I am a Christian, husband, father, pastor, church planter, nurse, and freelance writer.

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