I recently had the opportunity to teach a course on Family Ministry at Tyndale University College. It was a great opportunity for me to reflect on what family ministry looks like today.
Many churches do ministry with the assumption that everyone belongs to a traditional family. In reality, families are messy and complicated.
I never assume that a child has two biological parents at home. It could be any of many potential combinations.
One of the things that I noticed that is that many people equate family ministry with children’s ministry. But why?
Many families don’t include a child under the age of eighteen. They may have adult children or no children.
Family ministry should include children and youth but people of every other age as well. Family ministry can be with an elderly couple without children. That is still family.
One of the other things that came up was the model of ministry. Should there be age (or other) segregation? Can youth ministry happen without having a regularly meeting youth group? Can children’s ministry happen without Sunday school?
Should the church minister directly to families or should they equip families to minister to themselves? Or do we do some combination of the two?
I don’t think there is one proper way to do family ministry. It depends on the nature of the community and the makeup of the church. The point is to help families develop as disciples of Jesus.