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Meeting Families Where They Are

11 Oct

 

Meeting Families Where They Are

Family Ministry Connect Group Reflections

I had the privilege this last weekend to have spent some time in Chicago at Group’s Kidmin Conference.  While there, I led something called a “Connect Group” – a multi-day conversation and gathering of ministry practitioners who spend time connecting over a common subject.  The group I facilitated was focusing on Family Ministry – specifically answering the question, how does the church best partner with parents and families in order to pass the faith on to the next generation in relevant and lasting ways?

While spending time together, I noticed a common theme.  Those of us around the table were talking about ministry ideas that we’ve tried in order to reach and equip families – both the ideas that have worked and the ones that have failed – and the ideas that worked almost sounded like a broken record… churches are succeeding when they meet families where they’re at, rather than telling them what would be best for them.

Making the things you’re already doing count

Most of us know the story and the power of the movement behind an organization called TOMS shoes.  Their founder, Blake Mycoskie, decided to leverage an action people were already doing – buying shoes – and use that buying power to help children in need obtain a higher standard of living.  It’s a great example of meeting people where they are and making it count.  I tell high schoolers and young adults all the time – if you want to do the MOST good, your $60 can help out an organization like Compassion tremendously.  However, if you’re already going to drop that kind of money (or more) on a pair of shoes, then why not buy a pair from an organization that will pass on a pair to a child who has never owned shoes?

I say that to say this – from the conversations around our circles, it sounds as though family ministry is most effective when churches find things that families are already celebrating or doing (Halloween Parties, Christmas activities, lunch after church, parenting conversations, celebrating milestones… among others) and lean into those times to equip and resource families and often give them a shared experience alongside other families who are committed to raising up their children well.

Family ministry, it seems, is more than just handing out take-home pages.
Who knew? 😉

I’m looking forward to continuing those conversations throughout this coming year… and we’d love to have your voice in the mix – what has your church done to meet families where they’re at?  Are you connecting with parents on Facebook, spending time at school events and soccer fields to meet families in your community, or something else creative?  Use the comments section to let us know!

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3 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Kidmin, Thoughts

 

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3 responses to “Meeting Families Where They Are

  1. henryjz

    October 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    You are awesome, Anthony! I was so glad to see you facilitating that conversation. I can’t wait to hear and read more reflections on the weekend.

    It’s great to hear the more and more people are understanding that we have to first meet parents where they are and lift them up in those areas. When we do that consistently, we earn the privilege of speaking into their lives.

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    • Anthony Prince

      October 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Some of the conversations we had in that room were hilarious and sweet – so many kidmin people have been tapped by their senior pastor to also “do family ministry” and they have no idea what it means or where to start.

      Glad you were able to peek in on our fun 🙂

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  2. Travis Albers (@Travis_Albers)

    October 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks for your post Anthony. I was not able to make it to the connect group but so wanted too. We have started to speak into our families lives through milestones as you said. We also started to have a gingerbread house building contest that has went over really well. It so great to see families having fun building and laughing together.

    Another thing I am actually starting this week is specific to my town context. We are a town where “coffee time” is very important. It is a 10 AM and 2PM deal. I have started to make sure I attend this moments in parents lives and build that relationship. Just wanted to offer my “two cents” and admit I don’t have it all figured out yet either but look forward to the vision I feel God is calling me too:)

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