JFM Forum: Does Family Ministry Mean the End of Children’s Ministry? -- By: Lauren Foster

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 01:2 (Spring 2011)
Article: JFM Forum: Does Family Ministry Mean the End of Children’s Ministry?
Author: Lauren Foster

JFM Forum:
Does Family Ministry Mean the End of Children’s Ministry?

Edited By Lauren Foster

Tony Kummer (M.A. in Christian Education, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as children’s minister of a small Southern Baptist church in Indiana. Tony was named by Children’s Ministry magazine as one of “20 to Watch” among emerging children’s ministry leaders. His website was named among the top five children’s ministry websites. He has contributed to Children’s Ministry magazine, Baptist Press, and the life Way Kids Ministry blog. He speaks at conferences and training events for ministry leaders. Together with his wife, he is busy bringing up five children.

Dr. Timothy Paul Jones was recently featured on a podcast at Ministry-to-Children.com in which he explained how the family-equipping discipleship model addresses important issues related to children’s ministry. He was interviewed by Tony Kummer, founder and editor of Ministry-to-Children.com.

Tony Kummer: Let’s talk about this whole issue of church and family connectedness in this process of discipleship. Why has this issue, all of a sudden, become something that church leaders are worried about ?

Timothy Paul Jones: In the early stage of professionalizing youth and children’s ministries in the 1950s through the early 1970s, churches chose people who could play well with kids. What happened in the 1980s and into the 1990s is that you start having theologically-trained youth and children’s ministers. They were reflecting theologically on what they were doing. Suddenly, everybody seemed to realize that there was a problem with present practices of youth and children’s ministry. Now, one of the things that concerns me is the idea that we need to start family ministry as a fix—as a cure-all for problems in the church.

T.K.: That brings up the question: “We want to implement family ministry and we see the value of it, but I’ve got only so many volunteers to do this program and half of my parents are just struggling to get here on Sunday morning, much less go home and lead family worship on Sunday afternoon. How does all this work?”

T.P.J.: Let’s first establish the field of possibilities: On the one hand you’ve got people whom I respect greatly in what are called family-integrated churches; they’re saying to wipe out everything age-graded. On the other side, we have the family-friendly approach or family-based ministry, which adds new programs to bring generations together. The third perspective, family-equipping ministry, steers a course between these two. What we are saying is not to add new programs but to take programs, activities, or events that you already have in pla...

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