Equipping the Generations: Developing Family Ministry Curriculum forYour Church -- By: Timothy Paul Jones

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 02:1 (Fall 2011)
Article: Equipping the Generations: Developing Family Ministry Curriculum forYour Church
Author: Timothy Paul Jones

Equipping the Generations:
Developing Family Ministry Curriculum forYour Church1

Timothy Paul Jones

Jones (Ph.D.,The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor of Discipleship and Family Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he coordinates family ministry programs and edits The Journal of Family Ministry. Previously, he served sixteen years as a pastor, youth minister, and children’s minister. A recipient of the Baker Book House Award for Theological Studies, the NAPCE Scholastic Recognition Award, and the 2010 Retailers’ Choice Award for his book Christian History Made Easy, Timothy has authored or contributed to twenty books. Timothy lives in St. Matthews with his wife Rayann and daughters Hannah and Skylar. He enjoys hiking, playing games with his family, and drinking French-pressed coffee. The Jones family is involved in children’s ministry at the east campus of Sojourn Community Church.

How does family ministry look in the context of the educational ministries in a local church? And how can church leaders develop strong family ministry curriculum?

Well, that depends on the church—and on what the church sees as the purpose of family ministry.

Some congregations see “family ministry” or “family life education” as a counseling program to heal troubled relationships. Other communities of faith perceive family ministry as a program to provide a roster of inter-generational events. Among others, family ministry or family life education refers to how the church equips parents to be involved in their children’s spiritual formation.2

No wonder, then, that whenever a church leader asks me how to implement family ministry, my first question is, “What do you mean by ‘family ministry’?” What I find is that, for some ministers, family ministry describes the way that their preschool, children’s, and youth ministries work together. Others have no clue what they mean by “family ministry,” but they have heard the term so often they are quite certain that—whatever it is—their congregation must need one, especially since the church down the street has one.

Why this disparity in definitions? Youth ministry professor Chap Clark was spot on when he said: “Unlike other areas of ministry focus, family ministry emerged without any sort of across-the-board consensus of just what it is....Because of this lack of a common perception of family ministry, people responsible for family ministry in churches are often confused and frustrated.”3


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