Editorial: Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later -- By: Timothy Paul Jones

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 04:2 (Fall 2014)
Article: Editorial: Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later
Author: Timothy Paul Jones

Editorial: Family-Based Youth Ministry, Twenty Years Later

Timothy Paul Jones

Timothy Paul Jones oversees online learning and teaches in the areas of family ministry and apologetics. Before coming to Southern, he led churches in Missouri and Oklahoma as pastor and associate pastor. Dr. Jones has received the Scholastic Recognition Award and has authored or contributed to more than a dozen books, including Conspiracies and the Cross: Perspectives on Family Ministry; and, Christian History Made Easy. In 2010, Christian Retailing magazine selected Christian History Made Easy as the book of the year in the field of Christian education. He is married to Rayann and they have three daughters: Hannah, Skylar, and Kylinn. The Jones family serves in SojournKids children’s ministry at Sojourn Community Church.

Family-Based Youth Ministry was the first family ministry book I ever read.

My first response was to reject family ministry as an utterly ridiculous and impractical idea in my context.

It took two years for the struggles of ministry and the work of the Spirit to change my mind.

“I Don’t See Any Way That This Could Work Here”

In 2002, I was called to oversee children’s ministry and Christian education in a growing church. I had spent the previous three years as this congregation’s youth minister; now, in addition to my other roles, I oversaw the new youth minister. A few months after the new youth minister arrived, he came into my office carrying a book with a cover that would have looked trendy a decade earlier.

“I’ve been reading this book,” he said, “and I really think we need to look into trying family-based ministry. This is what our students need.” He held up his copy of Family-Based Youth Ministry and began outlining what he had


“Well, I really like what you’re describing,” I said once he had finished. “And that’s the way things should be done in youth ministry. The problem is, in this church, two-thirds of our students come from broken homes, and we just don’t have enough intact homes to support this. I’ll take a look at the idea, but I don’t see any way that this could work here.”

Once the youth minister finished the book, he passed it on to me. I read a few bits and pieces of Family-Based Youth Ministry and then shelved it. I had completed a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, a master of divinity, and a doctorate in educatio...

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