By Steven Ackley
Family ministry is one of the greatest opportunities the local church has to teach kids, develop leaders, and equip parents in order to train up and disciple the next generation. When a local church embraces the unique possibility of an intentionally designed effort to invest in the next generation, it embraces the possibility of a ministry that won’t just change a kid or a home but that can actually change a community and reach the world.
So, how does it happen?
Family ministry is an intentional strategy.
I’m a firm believer that when you aim for nothing, you’ll almost always hit it. When it comes to family ministry, we must know the purpose, have a plan, and execute that plan accordingly. Execution without a strategy is aimless, and a strategy without execution is pointless. Family ministry without intentionality is nothing more than a good idea.
Family ministry is a partnership between the church and the home.
Some advocate that discipleship happens best at church or best happens at home. But Scripture reveals how the two work together in collaboration. When the responsibility and effort to raise up the next generation is shared by the family and the church, a more holistic approach can be undertaken.
Family ministry focuses on three groups: kids, parents, and leaders.
The kids are the most obvious of the three groups. These are the ones staff and leaders often have the deepest heart for. After all, why do you start serving in kids ministry without a desire to invest in kids? Why would you begin leading a high school small group without a passion to see students change the world for Christ? Parents and leaders are also a necessary component of ministry to the next generation but are easy to forget. A faithful and effective family ministry will intentionally invest in the kids, their parents, and their leaders.
Family ministry aims to develop disciple-making disciples.
Discipleship is wrapped up in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. It’s about becoming a more faithful disciple and developing other disciples. All the ministries of the church ought to be aiming for this together, and family ministry is no different. The aim is to grow those kids, parents, and leaders to become more like Jesus in such a way that they become more faithful disciples who are doing the same for others.
This is what makes family ministry reach so far and so wide. Family ministry seeks to seeks to multiply disciples far beyond the walls of any one particular church or home.
Steven Ackley, his wife Emily, and their four kids live out their love for anything sports and Cookout milkshakes in Murfreesboro, TN where Steven serves as the NextGen and College Pastor at LifePoint Church. Steven holds a D.Min. and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.