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What Luther Says

Family Ministry Is Not The Answer

Our local church has been blessed with a Family Ministry (as well as people to lead and serve to make it happen) and we are preparing to meet soon to evaluate our first year and to look ahead to the next one (Proverbs 16:9).

That got me thinking of these truths to prayerfully consider.

Before you make plans to launch a family ministry in your church, a few words of warning about family ministry are in order -- words that may seem to work against the success of this very journal! Our words of warning are simply these: Family ministry is not the answer; family ministry will not fix your church’s problems; and, family ministry will not transform people’s lives.

The Gospel is what changes people -- not programs or practices; not models or methods; but solely and only the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every local church should be concerned first about how the Gospel is portrayed, presented, and practiced in the congregation. This includes considering how local congregations teach on the subjects of marriage and parenting and how they encourage and minister to families.

Healthy families are not, however, the goal. To place anything as the church’s goal besides the glory of God experienced through the Gospel is to create an idol, and the idol of family ministry is no less loathsome to God than the orgiastic shrines of Canaan or the pantheon of ancient Rome.

The believing household is a target for the enemy, but Christian families are not the answer to humanity’s problems. The Gospel is the answer. Our households are not targeted because Christian families are flawless families. Our households are targeted because they are God -- ordained contexts where cross-centered, Gospel-empowered living can be constantly rehearsed and practiced. Through these day-by-day rehearsals of the Gospel, children and parents alike are trained in the fear of God.

If your church has a Family Ministry (or is thinking about starting one), then please make sure you begin with these core truths as your foundation (Luke 10:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Matthew 28:19; Colossians 3:17).

Seek the Lord's guidance and pray for wisdom before committing to any course of action.

For our local church, since the goal is to glorify God, and to make more and better disciples along the way, then trying to come up with some ideas that are geared more toward the people who are already a part of the congregation (focused inward: spiritual growth by self-examination) and some ideas that are geared more toward the people from the general public (focused outward: spiritual growth by serving others) is our primary focus.

Bottom line, the goal is to fix our eyes on Jesus and preach His Gospel in order to strengthen the church family and the natural family by promoting and then nurturing activities that will ultimately strengthen our relationship with Jesus.

I love our Family Ministry and the lives the Lord's impacted by using it throughout the past year, but I love the Him and His Word even more. I thank Him for this timely reminder for me to always keep it that way.


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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