A Children’s Ministry colleague working on her masters in ministry contacted me last week inviting me to answer several questions for her Family Ministry class. I was honored. She was patient to give me a couple of days so I thought I’d share my responses here:

1. How do you/your church support families today?
• We use a closed Facebook group to offer daily interaction for encouragement, resource, and information such as #mondaymantra (related to christian life) #tuesdaytruth (scripture) #wednesdaywisdom (Godly parenting) #thursdaythoughts (family blog about challenges & Sunday school lesson from previous week) #familyfriday (positive message/practical ideas of spending time together as a family to start the weekend) #saturdaysmiles (encouragement to gather together for church) #welovesundays (list of what’s happening all day and when at church).
• Parenting With A Purpose initiative – 1.5 hour dessert events for parents or parents & kids with the goal of providing practical tools as well as building tribes among our families to travel through life
* Sharing Your Faith With Your Family – practical ideas to live out Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (I facilitate) with book takeaway
* Parenting Technology & Cell Phone Safety – invited outside facilitator with book takeaway ‘Screens and Teens’ by Kathy Koch, PhD
* Parenting Relationships & Friendships – invite pastoral and counseling staff to facilitate practical communication tools and actions for critical and crucial conversations within the family using Holy Listening Stones, Counseling Center-led conversational role-play, and book takeaway Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
• Faith Milestones for students and parents
*Kindergarten I Can Go To Sunday school on Sunday 7/28
*K5 & 1st Grade Bread & Juice Class 5:45-6:30pm on Wednesday 11/6
*1st & 2nd Grades I Can Pray on Wednesday 5:45-6:30pm on Wednesday 2/12
*2nd & 3rd Grades I Love My Church 5:45-6:30pm on Wednesday 3/18
*4th-5th Grades Camp Glisson Fall Retreat 9/6-8
*Ambassadors 5:45-6:30pm on Wednesday 10/9
*5th Grade Rock Solid Retreat 1/25-26, 2020
*5th & 6th Grades Wonderfully Made 2/27-29, 2020
• Weekly devotion emailed to all families involved in our Recreation Ministry. When kids tell the ‘Bible point of the week’ to the concession stand, kids receive a small treat or discount on concessions like popcorn or beverages

2. Families are busier than ever these days and find less time to come to church? Are you able to bring church outside the walls of the physical building?
• Closed Facebook Groups lets us reach out to families online daily (notes above) for Kids and Recreation Ministries
• Lead chapel assemblies to local home school co-ops.
• Backpack blessings of food for weekends with local Elementary School and Middle School with printed material through out Missions Team.
• Tutoring ministries with local Elementary School and Middle School.
• Postcards and note writing each week
• Ministry of presence to show up at their game, play, performance, concert, goes to the movies, activities in the community, etc.

3. What is the most successful thing or program that you have done in family ministry? Faith Field Trips and annual Promotion Sundays

4. Have you tried anything that was not successful? Oh yeah…movie nights. I’ve learned that if families can do things at home, they typically don’t want to go through the trouble of coming to church to do it.

5. Any insights or advice?
• Ask a lot of questions before trying things of the connectors in your church and those who are just as involved in the community as they are at church. Many years ago, I offered an Angel Breakfast on the first Saturday in Advent promoting it for two months ahead of time among our families and no one thought to tell me the local elementary school was doing the same thing on the same day at the same time. Ugh!
• Have lots of side conversations with parents all the time at events, meals (never plan to eat…work the room!), even Christmas Caroling: When do your kids have to get up in the morning to get on the bus? What time do your kids have to go to bed during the school year? What do y’all do in the summer? When do you have nothing going on in your calendar? How far do you live from the church? What do your family traditions looks like for Christmas? Easter? Thanksgiving? Mother’s Day? Father’s Day?
• Write 5 notes each week: 3 kids, 2 volunteers…and make 3 phone calls each week: 2 volunteers, 1 family or 2 families & 1 volunteer to check in and see how they’re doing in life. Build relationships and share life.

This was a good exercise to get my thoughts together on paper, and do some evaluating. What would your answers look like?

“Without a good question, a good answer has no place to go.” Clayton Christensen