Implementing this “new” family ministry

Thanks for your comments everyone on my blog entry, Family Segregation in the Church. I see that some of you have picked up this issue and discussed it further on your personal blogs, which I’ve really enjoyed reading. This current post actually started out as a follow-up comment to that article, but it became pretty long, so I’m writing it here instead.

Although there are many good ideas on how to theoretically make this family ministry philosophy work, it is indeed almost a complete paradigm shift for us as spiritual leaders. If we’re having a hard time grasping this, those in our churches will struggle even more. It’s radically different and will require a very flexible congregation to successfully implement. As creatures of habit, we all tend to get stuck in our own ministry grooves and flow with what’s most comfortable for everyone, but this kind of shift in family ministry breaks the mold of what most churches follow and therefore will probably be met with some resistance. This appears to be the largest barrier. How do we convince church members to give this a try? I think it starts with two things.

First and foremost, as leaders we must earn trust and respect. The congregation must feel comfortable following us and trust our judgment with something new and unknown. This does not take place overnight — it requires many years of faithful service. Trust is not a right that’s automatically given or assigned based on position, trust is something that is always earned over time. It takes years to build and seconds to destroy.

Second, it must be implemented slowly and steadily. Our congregations cannot be shocked into something totally new, but must be eased into it. As we gradually make the transition, the progress and strategy must be constantly evaluated and tweaked as we move forward, and always under the influence of much prayer.

It will take a special church with very special people to successfully move to a family-based ministry like this. They will have to be dedicated to the cause and passionate to see it carried out to completion since there will be hic-ups and many wrinkles to iron out along the way. There haven’t been too many churches pioneering the way with this kinda of philosophy, so any church that does is pretty much on their own. Sounds like fun, huh?

Posted on November 29, 2005

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