When Family Ministry Doesn’t Work – #D62017 Breakout Notes

Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three great kids, and an experienced family minister. She is passionate about seeing churches partner with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. I have been to several of Christina’s breakouts at past conferences, and I always love hearing her heart for bringing discipleship into the home. I always leave even more challenged to partner with the families in my ministry. You can check out my notes from my favorite breakout of hers here.

“When Family Ministry Doesn’t Work” Notes:

“So you are ready to start Family Ministry at your church. You’ve read the books, been to the conferences, watched the videos and studied the Scriptures and you are convinced; family ministry is the way to go.”

So… now what?

What doesn’t (seem) to work:

  1. Programming – It tends to have a start and end time, and is labor intensive.
  2. Curriculum – The problem with curriculum is that EVERYONE has to buy in and do it, not just the kid’s ministry.
  3. Revamping Children’s Ministry – You can’t change the culture of the entire church alone. This leaves you feeling frustrated and defeated.

5 Markers of Family Ministry

  1. Focus –  The fundamental theology of family ministry is that the home is intended by God to be the primary place of discipleship (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and that the church should partner with parents/caregivers to equip and support them as they raise their children in the faith.
    • The focus of the church becomes centered on the homeIt’s not a Sunday mentality.
  2. Function – Family ministry “represents a fundamentally different way of doing church.”
    • Every area of the church participates and is involved in family ministry regardless of age, ministry, or worship service.
  3. Family as foundation – Families today include single-parent home, blended/divorced families, adoptive/foster families, and grandparents-as-parents. Family ministry consistently recognizes the home, no matter what it looks like, as the normative place for discipleship of children and supports and resources as needed.
    • Since the description of family is rapidly changing, the ministry must be able to reach all – it’s a home thing.
  4. Formational – Family ministry has at its heart a commitment to passing the faith from one generation to another through the platform of the home supported by the church. It’s a Psalm 145:4 thing.
  5. Fun – Family ministry should bring inspiration and joy to the entire church body and life and health to the home. It’s a God thing.

Always Remember…

In order for parents to engage intentional discipleship at home, they have to understand the WHY behind it. They need to know that:

  • They are called by God to it.
  • They are the greatest influence in their children’s lives.
  • They are already doing it whether they are intentional about it or not.
  • They are not alone in their work of discipleship.

And the only way they will know it is if you tell them. Not once, not twice, but over and over and over again. In a myriad of different ways, in a plethora of different platforms; one consistent message creating one specific need.


In order for the church to engage meaningful inter-generational connections in worship and mentorship, they have to understand the WHY behind it. They need to know that:

  • They are called by God to it.
  • They are the greatest influence in young adults choosing to remain in church.
  • They are already sending messages to kids and youth about belonging.
  • They are not “lone ranger” Christians but part of a community, a family.

And the only way they will know it is if you tell them. Not once, not twice, but over and over and over again. In a myriad of different ways, in a plethora of different platforms; one consistent message creating one specific need.

Favorite Quotes/Takeaways:

  • How are we impacting homes on Monday mornings?” What are we doing to help families disciple their kids during the week, not just on Sunday mornings?
  • Use multiple methods to communicate with families. Ask families what the best way to communicate with them is, and do it.
  • Check out the Pray for Me Campaign for a great way to bridge the gap between the generations in your church through prayer.
  • “When you start praying for someone, you begin to care for them.”

If you loved this teaching as much I did, you are going to want to check out Christina Embree’s blog: Refocus Ministry. She has lots of creative ideas for helping ministries become more family-focused.

2018-04-22T20:16:05+00:00

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