By Lisa Schnyders (re-posted from Family Ministries blog)
Family ministry is not a new concept here at New Life. Family has always been important. Leaders here have always been concerned about building stronger families. The New Life family has always come around families at New Life to encourage one another. While family ministry has been going on in various ways, the idea of creating a Family Ministry program with a Family Ministry Director is new. So why now?
Over the past several years, many people in both Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry have struggled with how to best embrace, equip, and unleash kids and teens. There are many wonderful leaders and teachers in those programs who make a difference in the lives of kids. While we have always known that teachers and leaders can help and be a wonderful resource, the best teachers, leaders, and role models for kids are their parents. Family ministry recognizes that the stronger the parents are, the stronger the possibilities for their kids.
D6 Families, based on Deuteronomy 6: 5-9, has been significant in shaping our vision for Family Ministry. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
At New Life, we want to share in the D6 vision:
“In the everyday moments of life, dads and moms have an incredible opportunity to champion their faith in front of their kids. D6 has become a community for parents and ministry leaders to be part of a conversation that is infusing discipleship in both church and home, and we want to help you find your place in this story God is writing through families and churches in each generation.
We realize this journey doesn’t look the same for everyone, but it was never meant to be done alone. D6 Family wants to help you explore what discipleship looks like for you as a family and as a church. We want you to be part of changing the way culture looks at discipleship and be part of an influential community of both church and home that is working together to shape the little piece of you that you’re leaving behind-the next generation.
Can you think of anything else that’s worth all that?”
Through New Life Family Ministry, we want to help you along the way as you strengthen and encourage your children to lives as followers of Jesus. We pray God will use this church to make an impact of this community through you and your family. We will need your help along the way. The first really big way you can help is to let us know about your family. Who are you? What matters to you? What do you want in the lives of your children? In the life of your family? What are your biggest concerns? What do you need from the church? How can we come alongside of you?
We want to hear from you, so we are asking you to fill out the family ministry survey. It’s on the New Life home page and you can use the link at the bottom of this article to go there.
Now, before you get too excited about handing me a list of your challenges, I want to caution you. I am not a fairy godmother. I do not have a wand that I can wave and make things magically happen (if I did, my house would be a lot cleaner.) I can’t make things magically happen; neither can Pastor Ron, Pastor Rog, Pastor Todd, or anyone at New Life Church for that matter. Building families is hard work, challenging work, so we’re not saying we’re going to make everything better. But we are saying that we believe God can work in our messes. We believe God is at work in the story of our lives, and that God is using us, the New Life church family, to do this. You are that family, so we want to start with you helping us know where you are at, and then from there, move to digging in and doing the work together, trusting in God to use and move us.
We have some ideas about needs, but we want to hear from you. What areas do you struggle with? For example, something I hear often is “How do I navigate through social media?” Right?! Our kids know more about it than most of us do; there’s a new app every day. The sheer volume of what is out there is mind boggling. Allow it? Don’t allow? Monitor it? Don’t monitor it? Give up your job to oversee your kid’s activity, continue to work to keep a roof over your head? Seriously, it’s a big deal in most parents’ lives with kids over the age of 10. Some of you have talked about the place of sports in the lives of your kids. What do you do when games are in conflict with Sunday morning worship? Can you be a Christian and an athlete?
Now is the time for another disclaimer, in addition to not having a magic wand, I don’t have all the right answers. I am not sure anyone does, but coming together with our questions is important, talking about our struggles is important. You know in our family, we don’t run into issues at the moment with Sunday morning sports, but we do run into the issue of Monday evening sports, or homework, or exhaustion. I struggle with balance all the time.
I know that some of you are struggling with bullies, self esteem, divorce, balancing life and small children, sickness, doubt in the lives of your teenagers, obedience, your marriage, and the list goes on. We want to know what you are struggling with, where you need support, how we as a church can partner with you.
It will take time, please know that, but by filling out the survey, or sharing your thoughts in a conversation, you’ll be helping us create a target. You’ll be helping shape our direction, and that is invaluable. What will Family Ministry look like at New Life? That’s an answer I hope we’ll be finding together.