The longer I serve in Rural Ministry, there are a few things that I have seen that catch my attention and scream their importance. One of these important factors is the role of Family in youth ministry. If you asked 100 youth pastors if they believed that it was vital that the whole family is involved in the local church, at least 98 of them would say yes. However, many of their churches are not aligned to make that happen.
In what I am about to say, do not take in the least that I am bashing van/bus ministry (my dad once helped start and run a van ministry…). Nor am I advocating the “Family Integrated Church” concept (you are smart enough to Google that…). What I am saying is this – As churches we need to seriously live out the rhetoric that we are sharing about the importance of the whole family being involved in church.
There are some churches where I live that do some great ministry picking up bus and van loads of children and youth to attend their programs. Many of them come from unchurched homes that need the redeeming power of Christ in those homes. There are many ladies singing songs, baking cookies and praying. All that is awesome. It is needed. The follow-up question I have that no one seems to be asking is this – OK, you have reached the kids, how are you going to reach mom and dad? Most of us know the tired old stats about reaching dad first = 85% of family involved in church, mom =30ish%, kids = single digits. This is too important to miss.
I was in a meeting this week where the instructor described a childrens or youth program that is not supported by the church wholeheartedly as a part of the overall mission of the church as a “one-eared-Mickey”. It kind of looks like that mouse, but its not quite the same effect.
So here is my challenge to you… How can your church align or adjust its vision/mission/”buzzword of the week” to reach the whole family and bring them all into your fellowship of believers? I would love to see you ideas in the comments section below.