Posts Tagged ‘ Family Ministry ’

What if? More from the D6 Conference……………………Jason Miller

There is a great deal of power in those words.  What if children, youth and family ministries were more than a program?  What if they become the basis of a fully integrated mindset for the relationship between the church and the home?  Imagine the possibilities.  Parents taking on their God-given roles as the primary faith formers for their children.  Families committed to serving their church and the world in the name of Christ.  The end of “drop-off” ministry because parents are actively engaged in ministry with their children.  A church where ministry silos are integrated and connected to a common goal…strengthening the home and therefore strengthening the church in its mission to the world.

Pretty lofty, huh?  For years we have recognized the need and have tried to start program after program with the goal of encouraging a relationship between home and congregation with modest results.  The time has come to think differently about family faith formation, more holistically.

Permeating the discussions at the D6 Conference this year was the insight that the Schema (Deuteronomy 6) was not a program to be implemented, but a mindset, an ethos to become part of our DNA.  Many of the presentations revolved around this “easier said than done” notion.  It’s just that,  but it is the ONLY way we will truly succeed in partnering with parents in forming faith in young Christians.  And that’s what the “family assets” of the EYM study are really all about.   Churches who are constantly figuring out how to make this partnership a part of who they are.  They did this by intentionally engaging and including the single most influential people in the lives of young people…their parents.

Now I want to hear from all of you.  Is D6 a part of your (and your congregation’s) DNA?  What are you doing in your life and your church community to live out the Schema?

Jason Miller is a husband, dad and Christ follower who serves as Director of Christian Education for a congregation in Apollo Beach, FL.  He has been engaged in Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry for over a decade.

EYM and D6 …………………………………………………..Nancy Going

If the D6 conference is not on your radar screen, watch for it next year. D6 stands for Deuteronomy 6.  This year’s D6 took place in Dallas, September 15-17, 2010, and was sponsored by Randall House.

Here’s how D6 connects with the EYM study results.  While the EYM study doesn’t give a lot of information about the faith formation that takes place in the homes of the students in these exemplary congregations, it does tell the story of churches who made notable strides in supporting parents in their role as the primary shapers of the faith of their children.  The parents reported that they got it, and it helped.

The conference not only did a great job of holding that focused support as a God-given pattern, but providing lots of step-by-step how-to’s related to the hard work of changing how churches think about what we do.  More than just naming it family ministry, or handing out obligatory family devotions for people to throw away on the way home, the conference worked hard to find leaders who were bit by bit changing the cultures of their churches, and asked them to talk about the new support systems for parents that they are putting in place for faith formation to happen outside the walls of the church and instead in cars and family rooms.

Most profound, however was the way that Doug Field’s(founder of Simply Youth Ministry) talk at the conference challenged leaders to LEAD with this commitment themselves.  To live a spirituality of God’s activity in the every day of family life, and not just at church…..to be the kind of spiritual leaders in their own families who put attention to the spiritual formation of their children before the next event at church.  We all know that’s a part of the bigger picture here.  He named it.

Dr. Nancy Going is a 20 some year veteran of congregational youth ministry.  She coordinates the Distributed (distance) youth ministry students at Luther Seminary.  She did her PhD research by interviewing adolescents from the Exemplar congregations.  The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry book comes out this week.  Order yours here.

Supporting the Ministry of the Family………………Wes Black

“How can I expect parents to listen to me? I’m a lot younger than they are and I don’t have any teenage kids of my own?”

This is one of the most common questions from younger youth leaders when the subject of family ministry comes up. Faced with a barrage of needs in ministry with youth, having to deal with parents often gets a lot less attention than “drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll.” It’s often easier to just ignore it and hope that it goes away. Who wants to deal with those grumpy, old middle age parents of teenagers, anyway?

One of the encouraging findings from the Exemplary Youth Ministry study is the contribution that youth ministry makes to strengthening families and the influence of parents on their teenagers. The most effective youth ministers also hold strong beliefs in the value of helping parents and youth have better home relationships, providing opportunities for parents and teens to interact with one another, helping parents recognize better methods of discipline, and strengthening family relationships in general.

These effective youth ministries in the EYM study also held to the values of equipping parents to teach their teens high moral values, discussing adolescent issues with the parents, and fostering a network of care and support for youth and their families.

Is it any surprise that the youth ministries doing the best job of guiding teenagers to have stronger faith are the ones in which close family relationships are nurtured and strengthened?

Wes Black is professor of student ministry and associate dean for the PhD Program in the School of Church and Family Ministry, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX, and a member of the original EYM leadership team.

Innovations in Faith Assets……………………….Tim Coltvet

Results from the EYM Study identify five significant faith assets named Family Involvement Assets.

  • Asset 40 – Possess Strong Parental Faith
  • Asset 41 – Promotes Family Faith Practices
  • Asset 42 -Reflects Family Harmony
  • Asset 43 – Equips Parents
  • Asset 44 Fosters Parent-Youth Relationships

So what might these look like on the ground? A Roman Catholic church in the Twin Cities has an online lesson plan database that is user friendly for families that choose to embrace faith formation in their home.  It is an interesting “both/and” system that they have created.  Many do Sunday School, while others’ choose to take it on in their own homes. (Asset 41) A Lutheran church in Fargo, North Dakota has an honor the promise ministry that calls parents back to the baptismal promises they have made on a regular basis throughout the child’s first third of life (Asset 41).  A Missionary Church in Ventura, California has transformed a room in their church into an “equipping center” which regularly invites parents in to train them up in basic Christian practices of prayer, bible reading, and making faith a way of life (Asset 43).  A Covenant church in Rochester, Minnesota has a high school ministry that thrives through its leadership of parents hosting the senior high students in their homes for weekly ministries (Asset 44).

This is just scratching the surface!  The question is, what are your congregational strengths regarding household faith, and how can you continue to build on the assets you have?  Take a look around, and begin the work of strengthening the church by strengthening the households around you!

Rev. Tim Coltvet starting cutting his teeth in youth ministry about fifteen years ago.  He currently coordinates contextual learning and coaching at Luther Seminary’s Center for Children Youth, and Family Ministry.