The Family Equipping Ministry Model
Quick, who bears the primary responsibility for training children to trust Christ and follow Christ as mature disciples? If you answered parents, you are correct.
A Dangerous Shift Is Occurring
An epidemic has developed in churches across the United States, one that actually is destroying our families and hurting our children in the process. We have unwittingly allowed the view that the church bears the primary responsibility for training our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to replace and undermine God’s plan of discipleship.
When this view takes hold, the church tends to be viewed less as a family of faith in which we participate and more as a grocery store where we swing by to pick up our religious goods for the week. We drop our kids off in their respective children’s or youth ministry and entrust that the trained leaders will teach our kids all they need to know to follow Jesus. The more we drop them off, the more they will learn. The more they learn, the safer they will be as they grow up into adults. Parents are divorced from the process, other than serving as leaders of various ministries.
The Proof Is in the Pudding
This model has failed churches and families. The evidence is staggering. One recent study concluded that 70% of young adults (ages 23-30) dropped out of church for at least a year between the ages of 18-22. Many of those who dropped out were active members in their church youth group.
A Better Way
At Homesteads Baptist Church, we follow what is called the Family Equipping Ministry Model, which begins with this assumption: parents are called to be the primary disciplers of their children. In essence, we have realigned our congregation’s ministry practices to insure that parents are acknowledged, trained, and held accountable. This paradigm shift does not mean that we have done away with children’s and youth ministry. On the contrary, we have some of the finest children’s and youth ministries you will find. It just means that our ministries involve and equip parents at every stage of their children’s development, for the sake of the kids themselves.This ministry paradigm also requires churches to value teenagers and their spiritual development. Even though the Scriptures are clear, parents are to be the primary disciplers of their children, God still expects churches to be very involved in the process. The local church has a tremendous impact on whether or not teens continue to walk with Christ as adults. The study cited above found a direct correlation between the young adults that stayed in church and the churches to which they belonged as teens. Five areas of ministry stood out:
- Sermons relevant to their life as teenagers
- A worship style that was appealing
- A welcoming, non-judgmental environment
- Five or more adults making a significant investment in their lives; personally and spiritually
- Having regular responsibilities at church
You will find all these commitments emphasized in the children and youth ministries of Homesteads Baptist Church.
The Family Equipping Ministry Model is not a one step, fix-all that makes parenting or even children’s ministry easy. In fact, it is probably a much more difficult paradigm to employ than the traditional children’s ministry model. At Homesteads Baptist Church, however, we believe our children (and yours) are worth the investment. We hope you will join us for the process of transformation.