Pastor and Christian Leadership Resources

Develop Family Friendly events at your church

  • 2003 10 Sep
Develop Family Friendly events at your church
Interest in family ministry has skyrocketed over the past few years, but the concept has been around for a long time. With a few exceptions these family ministry programs shared a common - though unrecognized - assumption: that the most effective way to serve families was to minister to the individuals in those families. More often than not, family ministry programs separated parents from children and attempted to meet the needs of each in age-graded (and sometimes gender-defined) classes.

Valid though this approach may be in some cases, it is not the only way to conduct family ministry. Many churches realize that effective family ministry teaches and guides family members as individuals, and the family as a unit. More churches are offering family friendly events in which family members learn, worship, and laugh together.

What you need to consider when hosting family friendly events:

  • The demand has never been greater for family-based learning, worship, service, enrichment, and fun ideas in the church.

  • You can create a family friendly church without organizing a formal family ministry program. Many churches do not have the resources to hire a family minister or to allocate large amounts of money to family ministry. But every church can offer family ministry.

  • Recruit families to help plan and prepare these activities. The most effective family ministry programs don't rely on one or two people to do all the work. They encourage families to help plan and prepare family friendly events and activities for others to enjoy.

  • Be sure to include families of all shapes and sizes. A number of families in your church probably don't fit the stereotypical family mold (one or more children living with their biological parents). To create a truly family friendly environment, you need to accept and minister to families where they are - not where you wish they were. So make a special effort to minister to every family in your church, regardless of its shape or size.

  • Look for creative ways to include singles and couples without children at home. Ideally, the church as a whole will operate as an extended family that includes and involves every member. Sensitively invite and include anyone who might want to attend or help with your events. Remember: there's a place for everyone in God's family.

  • Use family friendly programs for special family events and as a part of your regular church program. Many churches schedule a special "family night" once a week, or once a month. The approach provides an easy and effective way to minister to church families, but you can accomplish more by using these ideas during regular church events as well. Occasionally incorporating a family activity into a Sunday evening service, or a Sunday morning worship time, is an effective way to advertise your family friendly focus and to demonstrate your belief that the church as a whole is a family.

Reprinted by permission from Family Friendly Ideas Your Church Can Do. Copyright (c) 1998 by Group Publishing, Inc., PO Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539. Used by permission.

Contributing writers: Ben F. Freudenburg, Tim Kurth, Michael W. Sciarra, Liz Shockey, Kathy Sizer, and Bob Buller.