Meanderings of a Minister

Great Expectations?
May 30, 2011, 1:57 am
Filed under: Articles

I recently returned from a Family Ministry Conference in Atlanta.  It was a time of great seeking after God for His vision for the ministry to the families of our church.  While I do not know for sure what this will look like for us here at our church, some things were brought with amazing clarity as to what all churches must do if we wish to impact families for the Kingdom of God:

1. If we want our teenagers to remain in the church after graduation, we have to do some things differently than we have been doing them.  We have to stop just telling our teens what to do and show them what to do.  This affects more than just the church.  It is all of life.  Don’t tell them debt is to be avoided while you pay for the family vacation with a credit card (again).  Don’t tell them certain movies are bad if you watch them.  Don’t tell them not to drink with a beer in your hand.  Don’t tell them smoking is bad for you while you are 80-100 pounds overweight.  Don’t tell them to clean their room while the rest of the house has to be condemned by the CDC.

2. We cannot expect the church to be the only, or even the primary, source of discipleship for our children.  We need to make sure we have them in church, but this is similar to number 1 above.  Don’t tell them Jesus is great if you spend no time with Him.  Don’t tell them reading the Bible is important if you don’t do it.  Don’t tell them living for the glory of God is awesome if it is not awesome enough for you to do it.

3. With the church having about 40 to 80 hours a year with kids and families having about 3,000 hours a year with kids, we have to both enable and inspire families to learn to minister to and with their kids at home.  We have to provide both the means and the methods for families to minister to their kids at home or we will lose the battle for this generation.  We have got to enable, encourage and empower the family to be the primary spiritual instruction for their kids.

4. We need to figure out how to make children and youth part of the church.  Instead of the typical model of the church with independent branches of ministries to women, men, children, youth, etc., we need to have a more integrative approach to ministry.  In many churches, if the youth want to take a mission trip, we tell them to sell candy bars, candles and calendars.  If the adults want to do something, we simply budget for it and make it happen.  Why is this?  Because we don’t really consider youth and children as part of the church, but God’s word tells us otherwise.

5. We need to involve children and youth in active roles of service and leadership in church, appropriate to their abilities.  Why in the world would we expect them to serve in the church later, if we don’t let them now?

As you can tell, my heart is spinning and my head of percolating, but I hope you will pray with me about how to ensure that the current trend of graduating from school and leaving church and God behind can be reversed.


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