“I’ve heard some concerned discussion lately regarding family ministry especially as it pertains to reaching children who do not have engaged caregivers or believing parents in their home.
Specifically the concern is, if our ministry at church is focused on families, what happens to kids that don’t have a believing family or Christian home life? Are we just going to turn them away or not provide for their spiritual needs?
It’s a legitimate concern and one that deserves addressing, especially if a church is looking to transition from one that has been primarily focused on age-specific ministry to one that is more focused on reaching the family unit as a whole. And to be honest, there is no easy answer but here are some things to consider as we approach this topic.
Reach for Home
More than likely, some kids will get dropped off who do not have parents that attend the church. But, that does not preclude us from reaching out to their home.
It is important for us to recognize this need to welcome children who aren’t in “church families” in a way that is both accepting and embracing, providing for their needs spiritually, physically and emotionally while they are with us (Ideas for how to do that, click here).
But it is equally as important to recognize that we are sending them back to a home that will have profound formational effects on their faith and to not further our reach by extending our arm of welcome to the home is to miss an opportunity for “going and making disciples.”
Some ways we can do that:
Provide Parent/Caregiver Workshops or Seminars, free to the public, without an overt spiritual focus. For example, host a Social Media workshop that open to the whole community, and focused on the internet and kids, not necessarily religious in nature. Our faith will be discussed but the topic is one that all parents have questions about.
Provide Activities for the Whole Family. A lot of parents/caregivers look for free, fun things to do with their kids. Fall Festivals, Family VBS, and Summer Movie Nights are examples of ways to engage the home.
Visit with the parents/caregivers – Drop by, say hi, get contact information, introduce yourself, offer resources, tell them what you are doing, bring a pie. Show caregivers that your faith community is excited about serving them in their home even if they don’t come to church. And express your desire to serve not only their kids but them as well.
Of course there is no guarantee that this will lead to anything beyond what is already happening.. but it might. What you do for one, do for all. If the church family is getting a handout, a parent letter, an invitation, make sure the others families do too.
Connect the church to the home as much as possible.”
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