A Neccesary Shift in Family Ministry

Family ministry.  Bottom line is this - family ministry first and foremost is about influencing parents to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children.

Parents are definitely the biggest influence in children's lives.

If you want to influence children, then you must first influence their biggest influencer...their parents. 
Most of us, have poured ourselves into equipping parents by providing them discipleship tools and resources. 

But there is a crucial factor that I believe needs to given attention to by children's ministry leaders.  And that is training parents.  Specifically in two areas - marriage and parenting.  

Let's start with marriage.  For far too long, we have skipped over this vital factor.  

One of the biggest factors in seeing kids grow up to love Jesus is the health of their parent's marriage. 

For far too long, we have left that part of training and equipping in the hands of adult ministry...men's ministry...women's ministry. 

Now don't get me wrong.  The training provided for parents by adult ministry is important.  But I believe this - you should put the training and equipping of parents in the hands of family ministry / children's ministry leaders.  Not doing so, creates a silo where adult ministry equips parents and family ministry equips children and students.  Therein a disconnect can happen.

Feel the need to do a parenting class?  Don't sit around hoping that adult ministry will lead this.  Yes.  Connect with them and work on partnering with them for this, but understand that the family ministry should be the driving force for this to happen. 

Want to strengthen the marriages of the parents in your ministry?  Stop waiting around for adult ministry to initiate this and proactively lead a marriage seminar, class, retreat, etc. 

I believe many leaders see family ministry like this - I'll give parents weekend lesson follow up tools and as adult ministers, you train parents how to lead their children spiritually and have solid marriages.  

But the truth is...this often doesn't happen.  Why?  Because we have not taken the initiative of locking arms with adult ministry as well.  

When was the last time your church had a parenting emphasis?  What can you do about that?

When was the last time your church taught parents how to have a healthy marriage?  How can you help emphasize how important this is to the spiritual health of their children?

Bottom line is this - I believe that we must shift our thinking and start leading the discipleship of parents in the areas of marriage and parenting.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Have more thoughts about this? Would love to see your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.