Family Ministry in the Modern Church

This past weekend I attended the Semper Reformanda Conference with my wife Sarah and our youth pastor, Brady.

It was a very enlightening weekend considering the recent models of family ministry within the contemporary church.  Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, associate Professor at SBTS, keynoted with his  expertise on models of family ministry.  He was the guest of the two other keynoters, Rev. Voddie Bauchham and Rev. Paul Renfro (Pastors of Grace Family Baptist Church).

Dr. Jones contributed by reviewing the history of our culture sociologically (how we got to age-segregated school, culture and church) as well as the models of current family ministry (Family Based, Family Equipping, and Family Integrated).perspectives-on-family-ministry

As practitioners of the Family Integrated Model, Rev. Baucham and Rev. Renfro gave us a steady diet of the merits of the Family Integrated Model (as well as dispelling the myths).

So what is the current state of family ministry in the church?  It’s gone beyond one program among many in a church to a whole new way of looking at church.

If you are interested in learning more about Family Ministries in the modern church, here are a few helpful links.

Family Equipping Models

Family Integrated Church Model

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5 Comments

Filed under Family Ministry

5 responses to “Family Ministry in the Modern Church

  1. Julie Schultz

    Hi Tim!

    Thanks for the links. Steve and I believe very strongly in Family Integrated Worship, too. It’s interesting because I think Cornerstone is the opposite of this–everything is segregated from the second you walk in the door. We have chosen to take our kids out of most of the children’s ministry programs because although there might be “good” elements, they come at a high cost. Should I be encouraged that this ministry style may be evolving at our church?

  2. revtimbrown

    We are definitely talking about the implications. This book (Perspectives on FM) is helpful because it lets the three perspectives duke it out.

    You are right that CEPC is the other end of the spectrum. We are a program church through and through. I doubt we will ever be family integrated, but we might become “family based” or “family equipping.” Those are the other two family models presented in the book. The conference was helpful…

  3. Craig Mungons

    Thanks for this blog, Tim. It brings up an important issue.

    I’ve often read that church leadership in general say they like family-integrated ministry. But those same churches and church leadership aren’t willing to commit to it. The current “program” model that most churches follow (including most evangelical churches) is nothing more than cultural mimicry with a salvation twist. Sure, they can point to salvation counts and recommitments among their youth, but their spiritual identification is with youth programming, not with their church as a whole. Its a segregationist mentality.

    I honestly believe there’s an us-and-them mindset among most Christian youth in our churches today, even among spiritually healthy Christian youth. For most of them, its about “our” music, “our” teaching, and “our” events. If you’re “cool like me” you understand me better than others do, particularly better than my parents and other older adults. I understand that at this stage of development teens, in particular, have a valid need for tribe identification as they sort out different and new aspects of thinking, critical evaluation and developing their own faith not just what they perceive as their parent’s faith, but to support by example and organizational set-up that youth group and youth programming is your most important tribe doesn’t prepare them to completely and appropriately deal with the life integration they’ll need to experience as they enter adulthood.

    It points to a bleak future as younger generations attempt to grow up with a healthy view of the integration of faith and family, and family and church.

  4. Craig Mungons

    RTB, I’d like to share an addendum to my comments above.

    I fully understand the legitimate need of teens to identify with their peer friends, especially their peer Christian friends (I still have strong memories of this period of my life). However, there are mid ground scenarios not being addressed by the committed youth pastors, youth directors and youth leaders in our churches involving various aspects of family based, family equipping, and family integrated ministry.

    As much as church youth leadership want to break the well-worn molds and patterns of the past to create new and vibrant spiritual training and culturally saavy understanding for today’s youth, they have, in effect, by circling the wagons around the all-important youth ministry, created their own well-worn, and many times ineffective, patterns centered around each other and not the most important earthly relationship of family.

    Although someone could claim that I’m only expressing frustration regarding my own personal situation, this is the studied opinion and research of many respected Christian leaders, authors, and pastors such as Voddie Baucham and others who have seen the unfortunate results of age-segregated ministy, particularly youth ministry.

  5. Dawn

    Just a short comment. I agree with whole family ministries and our church does provide some opportunities to keep the family together. But we, as parents, can make ourselves be available in the segregated grade ministries to stay connected with our children.
    Just a thought! 🙂 Love Cornerstone!