"Until the gospel drives even our scheduling priorities, families will continue to default to the values of the culture around them, and parents will remain too busy to engage in intentional discipleship with their children." Timothy Paul Jones ("Family Ministry Field Guide")
In his book, "Family Ministry Field Guide" Timothy Paul Jones makes this statement, "Until the gospel drives even our scheduling priorities, families will continue to default to the values of the culture around them, and parents will remain too busy to engage in intentional discipleship with their children. (105) He then goes on to ask "So how can your ministry help parents rethink their family's priorities in light of the gospel?"
As a church we have Sunday morning services, youth committee meetings, mid-week ministries, small group Bible studies, musical rehearsals, Sunday School classes, sporting ministries, and countless events/programs/ministries that we've added because we're trying to better the family.
Are we adding to the problem? It seems that without intending to do so, in some ways, yes.
In order to demonstrate for families that discipleship at home important, we've got to "do less so they can do more." (Jones, 105)
How are we to practically achieve this? S.L.O.W. down!
Schedule meetings, Bible Studies, parent education, etc. as much as possible on one day at the same time. Have a group of teachers that need trained? How about training them during Sunday School time when they would normally have blocked out time? Run youth, kids, and adult ministries and meetings at the same time.
LOWER YOUR OFFERINGS:
Early on in ministry, I thought that adding more was a sure way to bring more people in. After all, if I had more for them from which to choose, I'd be more likely to bring more in, right? Well, in some ways but it also became apparent that I'd kill any volunteer staff and myself in the mean time. Offer ministries ONLY that intentionally contribute to the vision statement and strategy that your ministry has. Less really is more.
ONE DAY PER WEEK SACRED:
Ask all church staff to designate one night per week as sacred, family time. If everyone agrees to not schedule events on those nights, you're communicating to the families in your Family Ministry that time at home is valuable.
Many times we plan events and ministries because they sound fun or because someone else has seen great success, or even because it's trendy. Determine the real needs in your community. If your community already has a great sporting program, does your church need to have their own ministry? How about finding a way that you can support the one that's already in place?
How about you? In what ways does the church contribute to the business of families? What can you do to help safeguard that time on behalf of the families that you serve?