Today’s post serves as another stop on the FAMMIN blog tour with the purpose of answering the question What is Family Ministry? If you would like to read other answers to this question you can follow the tour here.
There is a growing emphasis on family ministry in many churches today across the U.S., as well as a trend toward appointing church staff to specifically minister to families. But what does that look like? What is family ministry?
The word ministry is used many times in the Bible and most often refers to contributing to or serving others as God intends. The phrase “as God intends” is very important when defining any ministry, and will become increasingly significant in evaluating a ministry’s success. For this reason, let’s consider God’s purpose for ministry. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 tells us that Christ has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, the responsibility of sharing the gospel of His grace.
Ephesians 4:11-12a tells us: And He (Christ) Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. In addition to sharing the gospel, it is God’s desire that His followers be trained and equipped for every area of His kingdom’s service. Verse 12 and following reveal what the result of Christ-centered ministry should be: for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Even though the needs within ministry may change, God’s purpose for ministry remains the same. As we pursue God’s purpose in ministry, He will equip us in every way to be successful (Matt. 6:33).
I know, you’re wondering how this affects the definition of family ministry. Well, consider for a moment the personal needs that might result from the following circumstances: an unemployed father, an unwed mother, a divorced person, a disabled child. Now consider the fact that each of these individuals is a member of a family and the needs of family members that might result from each circumstance.
The way you minister to particular family members may vary according to their unique family position, circumstance, and spiritual maturity; but God’s purpose for your ministry remains the same: to share the gospel and develop spiritual maturity in others.
So what potential role might family ministry play, for example, in the circumstance of an unemployed father? God might use you to provide food or clothing for the man’s family during this financially challenging time. Maybe you will play a role in helping him find a new job. But remember, God’s purpose for ministry includes promoting and developing spiritual maturity in the lives of each family member. (And fulfilling God’s purpose is what determines the success of ministry.) With this in mind, perhaps God will use you to encourage the man and his wife to embrace this season as a time of developing a deeper trust in Christ by relying on Him as their source of provision. Maybe God will open a door for you to demonstrate for the children the benefits of focusing on eternal, rather than temporal possessions.
By consistently assisting families to recognize and depend on the power of God’s Word and His character, regardless of the circumstance, you are encouraging growth in their relationship with Christ Jesus. As a result, lives are transformed to look more like Him, the family unit is strengthened and unified, and Christ is honored in the process, causing others to recognize His mighty work!
God provides family ministry opportunities in the local church, work place, neighborhood, nearly everywhere you go. How might God want to use you in family ministry?