One idea of ministry that many student ministries seem to be going for is “family ministry.” I have seen many churches hiring “family pastors.” It is becoming a trend. I think that it is a very good trend. This is a little bit of a different concept that our church is accustomed to. We have sought to change things just a bit to move in this direction. For years, student ministry has become a baby sitting service, and parents are relying on the youth leaders to grow their children into becoming a follower of Jesus. This is not how God designed for it to be. The church should be a family ministry. Here are a few practical ideas of what a family ministry should look like-
Parents become the primary disciplers– Call me crazy, but I have this dream that the parents of my students become the primary disciplers of their students. This means that what we try to do in youth group, parents are doing at home. Family devotions is a great start to doing this, parents. Discussing personal devotions in your home is a great start. Discussing sermons at church is a way to disciple your teenager. This should happen when they are small kids all the way up until they are teenagers. Learning verses in the home. All of this is a crazy idea that I would love to see happen in the families in our church one day.
The youth ministry supports what parents teach in the home– A second idea for practical family ministry is that the youth ministry just supports what is going on in the home. Many times, what is happening in youth group is not happening at home. I have this idea that the youth ministry can become second to the home. The home is the primary discipleship resource, and the youth ministry just enforces what is happening at home.
The youth pastor educates parents on youth culture– This is important. Youth pastors, there are tons of resources out there to help you with this. It is difficult for parents to disciple their students if they do not know what the majority of students are facing. Youth pastors, come along side of the parents to teach them the themes of teen’s music, their video games, and their trends. This will create and support a family ministry model. It is you helping and equipping parents.
Family Events– This is a lost art in churches today, and I would love to create family events. Students do not want their parents anywhere near them when they are with their friends, but I do not think that this is how God intended for it to be. I would love to create events for the entire family, conferences, camps, etc. It is a way to bring the family together to learn more about God and to grow closer together as a family.
These are just a few of the ideas that we are trying to implement into our ministry. It takes time, but we are moving in that direction. What are you doing in your church to create family ministry?