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A Paper Presented to Dr. Randy J. Stinson The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for 35040B
by Luke Skeen 621 Royer Ct. Louisville, KY 40206 July 15, 2011 On my honor, I have neither given nor taken improper assistance in completing this assignment.
1 . and how these models can be implemented within local churches today. This paper seeks to define and evaluate three models of family ministry: The familyintegrated model. 1 Timothy Paul Jones. and held accountable as the person primarily responsible for the discipleship of their children.‖1 This movement arose from discontentment with the effectiveness of current family ministry models and is trying to return to the biblical roots of parents taking the primary role in raising their children to be mature followers of Christ.FAMILY MINISTRY MODELS: WHICH IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE? Introduction Are churches helping empower parents to disciple their children? Are current models of youth group. defines family ministry as. Family Ministry Field Guide (Indianapolis. 2011). Timothy Paul Jones. middle school ministry. Family ministry is the terminology used by those who are involved in the reformation of ministry involving children and parents. the family-based model. ―The process of intentionally and persistently realigning a congregation’s proclamation and practices so that parents are acknowledged. 33. IN: Wesleyan Publishing. and children’s ministry being effective in raising mature followers of Christ? Why are so many teenagers leaving the church after high school? These and other questions are significant issues addressed by those involved in the family ministry movement. Other ideas addressed in this paper include strengths and weaknesses of each model. and the family-equipping model. ways each model helps parents reclaim the primary role as spiritual leaders in the home. One of those reformers. how each model fixes shortcomings of current ministry models. trained.
2 When attending a worship service at a family-integrated church. single-parent homes). 75. Weakness of the family-integrated model include the challenge of ministering to nontraditional family units (singles. Ibid.‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. The lack of segregated ministries frees up church staff.. ―Family-Integrated Ministry. widows. 3 4 2 Ibid. and weeknights. evangelism and discipleship in and through the home. The simplicity of schedule allows families to spend more time together. maximization of intergenerational interactions. or children’s ministry.. the possibility of alienating public school families. Paul Renfro. and a commitment to biblical leadership. 62-66. Proponents of this model also believe the lack of age segregated ministries in local churches pushes the responsibility of discipleship to the home instead of the ―paid professionals. . Three distinctives set apart the family-integrated model: No age segregated ministry.‖4 The strengths of the family-integrated model are its simplicity. volunteers. 2009). and the challenge for traditional churches to make the drastic transition to become a fully integrated church. the family-integrated model is the most simplistic and countercultural. 62. the family-integrated model is one that includes enormous strengths and glaring weaknesses. and focus on training parents and fathers. ―There is no age-segregated Sunday school. the budget.TN: B&H Publishing.2 Three Family Ministry Models Family-Integrated Model Of all the models of family ministry. Overall.‖3 This frees up more time to develop meaningful multi-generational relationships and promote maturity through enabling teens to learn from and spend time around mature adults. teaching and training their children. youth group.
the family-based model is the opposite of the family-integrated model. ―Family-Based Ministry.‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. 2009). ―Family-Based Ministry. ―between 70 and 80 percent of Christian teens are leaving the church by their second year in college. 100. Family-based ministry leaders also question the validity of statistics such as. 179-80.. Strengths of this model include its evangelistic priority and its ability to minister to non-traditional families. Brandon Shields writes. Such churches see these trends as strategic opportunities for pursuing the Great Commission in the context of ageorganized youth and children’s ministries. It’s about what you use the programming for. 8 Ibid. 2009). 116. TN: B&H Publishing. youth group. We try to point as much of our programming as possible in the direction of giving kids and adults excuses to interacts together. Brandon Shields. ―…family-based youth ministry is not about what the programming looks like. Structurally it does not remove the programmatic aspects of family ministry (Sunday school. and children’s ministry). Brandon Shields. . 6 7 5 Mark DeVries. ―Family-based churches are acutely aware of the prevailing youth culture and of the breakdown of the nuclear family. but capitalizes on opportunities to train parents and involve them in these ministries.‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. 2004). IL: Intervarsity Press. but seeks to ―intentionally include intergenerational and family-focused events in each ministry.‖6 This model does not view age-segregated ministries as the problem.‖5 Mark Devries writes.3 Family-Based Model In many ways. 102. TN: B&H Publishing.‖7 which are often used to point to flaws in age-segregated ministries. Family-Based Youth Ministry (Downers Grove.‖8 They believe that the continuation of age-segregated ministries allows for more opportunities to minister to non-traditional families.
.4 The obvious weakness of this model is its minimalistic approach to training families how to disciple their children. but merely tacks on parental involvement.‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. Churches with this model retain ―some ageorganized ministries but restructure the congregation to partner with parents at every level of ministry so that parents are acknowledged. 2009). neither one is able to fully Paul Renfro. 144.‖10 Two main priorities of this model are to engage and equip ―parents as their children’s primary disciplers‖ and to partner with ―parents to develop a definite plan for their children’s Christian formation.12 The relationship between church and home is seen as a dependent partnership with mutual benefits. ―Family-Equipping Ministry. ―What are needed are not merely events putting parents and youth together but intentional training so fathers and mothers can build discipleship into their children’s daily lives. TN: B&H Publishing. Instead of viewing agesegregated ministries or parents as the enemy. and held accountable for the discipleship of their children.‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. Family-Equipping Model The family-equipping model is often viewed as the middle ground between the familyintegrated model and the family-based model. equipped. 145. Paul Renfro writes. Strengths of this model are its unified vision and structure. .‖9 The family-based model continues age-segregated ministry. 144. Ibid. Jay Strother. 2009). TN: B&H Publishing. 126. ―Response to Brandon Shields: Family-Based Ministry.. 11 12 10 9 Ibid. this structure seeks to ―co-champion‖ both groups around a common vision for the maturity of their children.‖11 Churches with this model often develop rubrics detailing desired spiritual outcomes for every age level in the church.
Their well-organized and well articulated process of discipleship allows for clarity and unity in the roles of parenting and discipleship. etc). Another goal of youth ministry should be to fulfill the mandate of Jesus to be sent into the world as his witnesses. TN: B&H Publishing. the church I pastor will not have a family-equipping model of ministry set up and running smoothly. (3) It provides clear guidelines for Christian maturity and the partnership between church and home. Leading the church through transition from one family ministry model to the family-equipping model will be one of my primary goals for the first ten years I am there. Most likely. ―Responses to Jay Strother. (4) It has the ability to include a variety of types of parents and families (single-parent families. ―Family-equipping ministers seem to assume that the primary goal of youth ministry should be to equip families to disciple their own children – but that’s only partly correct.‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville.5 fulfill the job of raising children to maturity in Christ.13 Weaknesses of the family-equipping model include questions about the lack of a missional mindset and how much time age-segregated ministries take up.. I would seek to implement a familyequipping model for four reasons: (1) It flows from the biblical conviction that parents are to be the primary disciplers in the home (Deut. . the family-equipping model provides a reasonable balance involving the church and home and focuses primarily on developing a DNA where parents are central in the discipleship of their children. Eph 6:4). and encourage parents to be the primary disciplers of their children. (2) It measures success by how well all ministries of the church are able to train.14 Overall. Brandon Shields writes. Brandon Shields. In regards to missional living. 78. 177. resource. 6. Ps. 175. Ministry Model Applied to My Context If I were to take a pastorate in a local church. 13 14 Ibid. 2009).
2 . elders.6 Change must be implemented in a slow and deliberate manner. deacons. .Read through Perspectives on Family Ministry with church leadership . and what it could look like to move the church in that direction. historical. and continual evaluation.Help parents develop a biblical conviction to be the primary disciplers of their children. . and deacons. Below is a basic overview of the proposed ten year plan: Table 1 -.Do a sermon series on Biblical parenting and the family-equipping model . The goal of this time would be to come up with a ten year transition plan for our church. and other leaders with the desire to help them understand what family-equipping ministry is.Take a 3 day weekend away with church leadership to plan for the next 9-10 years . and how of family-equipping ministry to church congregation . My church’s ten year plan will center around four aspects: communication.Invite parents to a seminar (offered 4 times that year) on how to begin doing family devotions. . planning. Address questions and concerns. why. I want them to understand biblical.Have small groups do a 4 week bible study on parenting .If unity is reached.Communicate passionately the what. equip. Year one will center on communication. and how of family-equipping ministry to church staff and leaders. and statistical reasons why this would be a good model. gradual implementation. and encourage parents to begin having family devotions two times a week Action Steps . Reading through Perspectives on Family Ministry would be part of the communication process.Communicate passionately the what. elders. come up with a plan to implement a family-equipping ministry model over the next 9-10 years.Pray weekly with staff and elders for wisdom and direction with regards to family ministry . why. My job will be to communicate and collaborate with church staff.Pray with staff and leaders that God would lead and guide communication and planning .Ten Year Transition Plan Year Goals 1 . we would move forward into a season of brainstorm and planning. Time would be spent answering objections and questions.Resource. If unity is reached among staff. why it could be a good fit for our church.
and implement parent seminars that coincide with milestones for parents who have children in children’s ministry. Train high school ministry leaders and staff how to teach the curriculum and partner with parents Plan. Train children’s ministry leaders and staff how to teach the curriculum and partner with parents. recruit. . recruit. Train middle school ministry leaders and staff how to teach the curriculum and partner with parents. which clearly communicates the vision for partnering church and home. Ten Year Transition Plan Yrs. small groups. recruit. leaders. and encourage parents to partner with the church with regards to the 7 milestones to Maturity Evaluate the effectiveness of the transition to the familyequipping model Continue to highlight the 7 milestones to Maturity in the pulpit. . Plan. and in oneto-one conversations Begin implementing the familyequipping model among the high-school ministry - - - - - - Introduce 7Milestone to Maturity curriculum into the high school ministry. Meet with all small group leaders in the church and encourage them to play an active role in shepherding parents Meet with church staff. 3-4 Goals .Begin implementing the familyequipping model among the children’s ministry Action Steps Invite all parents to lunch after church one Sunday. and implement parent seminars that coincide with milestones for parents who have children in children’s and middle school ministry. and a small group of parents to evaluate the effectiveness of the transition to the family-equipping model - - - 5-7 - - - - 8-10 - - Continue to highlight the 7milestones to Maturity plan in the pulpit. and implement parent seminars that coincide with milestones for parents who have children of all ages. Plan. Introduce 7 Milestone to Maturity curriculum into the middle school ministry.Introduce the 7 milestones to Maturity plan. small groups. resource. Communicate the 7 milestones to Maturity and hand out curriculum to all parents Introduce 7 Milestone to Maturity curriculum into the children’s ministry. and in one-to-one conversations Begin implementing the familyequipping model among the middle school ministry Develop a mentoring program where small group leaders and older couples in the church meet periodically with parents in their small group to equip.7 Table 1 – Continued.
Answering Objections After reading my proposal. a church is only as effective as its leadership. Overall.8 The 7 Milestones to Maturity mentioned above come from the seven milestones listed in Shift by Brian Haynes.‖16 However. CO: Group Publishing. resource. if the church leadership does not reach unity in transitioning to this model. 134. My hope is that any church leadership would at least be open to considering change. . I would accept this conclusion as part of the sovereignty of God (Pr. I would then continue to address the question together of how our church can train. my ten year plan of communication. 19:21). one objection that may arise is. ―What happens if the church leadership does not agree or rally around your vision to transition to the family-equipping model?‖ At the end of the day. answering questions and objections. reThink (Wake Forest. 2008). 2009). and meeting with new people. NC: Inquest Publishing. and encourage 15 16 Brian Haynes. 137. teaching. planning. I believe that taking one full year to discuss the possibility of transition.15 These milestones provide specific benchmarks for parents as they disciple their children and also defines how church and home partner together to achieve these benchmarks. Shift (Loveland. praying together. and reading books on family-equipping ministry would be effective in giving the leadership of the church the information needed to understand the family-equipping model and grow a conviction to see parents become the primary disciplers of their children. gradual implementation. If your key people are on board. Steve Wright. Steve Wright offers some helpful thoughts to answer the objection. ―If you start to encounter significant resistance then you likely moved too quickly and need to go back to the beginning – praying. and continual evaluation would prove effective in transitioning my church to a family-equipping model of ministry. they can help you continue the transition.
19 17 18 Steve Wright. 2008). 19 Brian Hayes. Tackling too much at one time leads only to frustration and defeat. including evangelism. Discipled Warriors: Growing Healthy Churches that are Equipped for Spiritual Warfare (Grand Rapids. CO: Group Publishing.‖ Thom Rainer also offers insight into leading a church through change is his book Eating the Elephant. I would encourage a year by year approach that begins with your middle-schoolers and their parents. The principle of church and home partnering together to disciple children can include any area of Christian growth. such as Kingsland Baptist Church. Steve Wright reminds us of the importance of the transition time by writing. 2009). 109. ―We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. However. but my desire to pursue excellence and to not overwhelm the church leads me to believe that ten years is not too long. reThink (Wake Forest. Charles Lawless. 2002). it is implied and encouraged in principle. MI: Kregel Publications. ―Is ten years too long to transition into a particular model of family ministry?‖ I will agree that ten years is a long time. 93. Some family equipping churches. Max Dupree wisely said. Shift (Loveland. It is important to remember that when you begin you should do it right and not get sloppy in your haste. NC: Inquest Publishing. Although missional living is not explicitly stated in many family-equipping definitions. partner with parents in training children how to defend their faith. . 196. Anyone who makes sweeping changes without laying groundwork is asking for trouble. A possible third objection arises to whether or not the family-equipping model empowers parents and children towards a missional lifestyle. He ―argues that the best way to lead a church through change is the same way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.9 parents to disciple their children. anything worth doing is worth doing right. ―I can’t stress this enough.‖18 Ten years is a long time.‖17 Another objection to my plan could be.
TN: B&H Publishing.‖20 Timothy Paul Jones writes. conferences. Christian adulthood. ―What ways can the church and home partner in raising mature followers of Christ?‖ At the end of the day. sophisticated technology. Yet for whatever reason. 2009). As a result. ―The ministry models that many ministers have studied in seminaries and inherited in local churches are fundamentally flawed. 20 Randy Stinson. I believe the family-equipping model to be the most balanced and effective model for bringing about this change within a local church. and encourage parents to be the primary disciplers in the home? And. TN: B&H Publishing. However. and parents back to the biblical and historical roots of discipleship primarily taking place in the home. Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. ―Today’s churches offer more youth camps. and trained leaders than ever before. Christian music. books. well-intended ministers have attempted to pursue tasks in the sole context of the church that God designed to occur first and foremost in another context. All models seek to answer questions such as: ―How can churches train.‖21 Today. The three models of family ministry presented in this paper offer possible solutions to the reformation of family ministry.10 Conclusion Family ministry is one of the most important battle grounds in our churches today. resource. 21 . 2009). a significant number of children fail to make the transition from youth ministry to mature. 2. ―Forward‖ in Perspectives on Family Ministry (Nashville. Randy Stinson writes. Timothy Paul Jones. a reformation is needed in the body of Christ. Dr. 13-14. turning pastors. leaders. the model you choose will not matter as much as your commitment to pursue the biblical roots of discipleship in the home. That other context is the family. Statistics and an honest look at many of our churches tell us that we are losing this battle and that there is a need for reformation.
1-3. Jones. Jones.” In Perpsectives on Family Ministry. Brandon. "Responsse to Jay Strother. Nashville." In Perpsectives on Family Ministry. Mark. 2004. "Family-Equipping Ministry. Stinson. Randy. Shields. ed. Timothy P. Jones. IN: Wesleyan Publishing House. Jones. 2009. Timothy P. . Wake Forest: InQuest Publishing. "Forward. Chris Graves. ApParent Privelege.” In Perpsectives on Family Ministry. CO: Group Publishing." In Perpsectives on Family Ministry. Indianopolis. 168173. ed. 2009. Loveland. Hayes. 140-167. ed. 79-84. ed. Downers Grove. Nashville. Discipled Warriors: Growing Healthy Church that are Equipped for Spriitual Warfare. "Responses to Brandon Shields.BIBLIOGRAPHY Books DeVries. Brian. TN: B&H Publishing. Steve. 2010. 2011. TN: B&H Publishing. Timothy P. Nashville. 54-78. Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church can Equip Parents to Make Disciples. IL: Intervarsity Press. TN: B&H Publishing. —. 2009. 2008. Perspectives on Family Ministry. reThink. MI: Kegel Publications. —. —." In Perpsectives on Family Ministry. 2009. Timothy P. TN: B&H Publishing. Jones. Wright. Nashville. TN: B&H Publishing. Nashville. "Family-Based Ministry. 2009. Nashville. Charles E. Paul. Timothy Paul. Jones. Grand Rapids. Jay.” In Perpsectives on Family Ministry. ed. Wake Forest. Family-Based Youth Ministry. Nashville. 2009. ed. TN: B&H Publishing. NC: InQuest Publishing. TN: B&H Publishing. Articles Renfro. Strother. 2009. 2002. 98-120. Timothy P. Jones. Timothy P. 2009. "Family-Integrated Ministry. Timothy P. Jones. Lawless. Shift.
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