What is Family Ministry?
First Baptist has developed what we would call a “family equipping” approach to ministry.
The classic model of ministering to children and youth operates like the Dry Cleaners. You swing in, drop off your precious personals into the hands of a “professional”, get a little impatient if it takes too long, and pick up your items all “fixed.” In a world of drop-off activities, many ministries to children and youth have followed suit. You drop off your kids at school, athletics, tutoring, etc., so why not drop off your children for their spiritual education at the local church?
The family equipping approach promotes that the church and the home lock arms together as partners for the advancement of God’s Kingdom and for the training of children. Parents are seen as the primary spiritual teachers and role models in the lives of their children (Deut, 6:6-7; Eph. 6:4; Prov. 22:6). The church should provide some level of spiritual nurture and training for children but never usurp what parents are instructed to do. For our church, this means that to some extent Preschool, Children, Youth, and Adult Ministries will exert effort, in some form or fashion, into helping parents be the spiritual leaders in their families.
With this in mind, here are the primary biblical principles the Family Ministry follows:
What the Bible says about the responsibilities of parents:
I. Parents are to teach their children how to love and obey God.
- “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
- ”And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
- “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
- “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9
- “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 7:1-3
II. Parents are to properly discipline their children.
- “Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them.
Physical discipline may well save them from death.” Proverbs 23:13-14
- “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
- “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24
III. Parents are to love their children and meet their needs.
- “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.” Proverbs 103:13
- “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children” Titus 2:3-4
- “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
What does the Bible say about the responsibilities of the church?
I. The church is to equip parents to pass on their faith to their children
- “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11-12
II. The church is to reestablish the home as the primary place that faith is nurtured
- “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” Deuteronomy 11:18-20
III. The church is to be a lifelong partner and resource to every family
- “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” 2 Timothy 1:3-6
- “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47
The desire and concern of our Family Ministry Staff is adequately expressed in the following quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“We deeply want a revival of domestic religion. The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the puritans, but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. How can we hope to see the kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own children?”