By Ivera Joseph
Family Life Ministries Director
Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church
The family is probably the best illustration God has of what He is like. A family, with God’s guidance and spirit, will be healthy and manifest characteristics of humility, patience, hope and loving acceptance.
The guiding principles of the Bible directs Christians to nurture the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs of individuals, couples, and families who constitute the fabric of fellowship in the church. When the church ministers to the needs of families, as Christ did, they are restored to wholeness. Families who feel complete, and have harmonious relationships, are more likely to be dedicated to God’s goals.
Families need to develop stable relationships patterned after God’s relationship with us. He has declared, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” God’s love is unconditional, enduring and responsible.
What makes a successful family ministry? To be successful, requires a new set of eyes. Many different kinds of families make up a congregation. The “traditional family” of father, mother and two kids represent only the most easily definable – though not the most common type of family today. Each different type of family is in need of ministry and nurturing. We will give the types of families that makeup most churches.
There are many types of single people in our churches. Some are divorced or widowed. Others have never been married. Some are looking forward to marriage in the near future. Yet, all of them need ways to find family in the family of God. The church can create in an opportunity to experience community.
As with singles, couples come in countless varieties. Some have just been married, while others have been together for decades. Some are new parents, others are not interested in having children. Some are happy together. Some are not. Some are married for the first time, while others have remarried after a divorced or death of a spouse.
Couples may be a part of a larger family unit, but they have distinct needs that exist apart from a larger family. While the church family ministry must consider the needs of the entire family unit, many couples are struggling with deeply in-grained “family system” issues and are experiencing profound pain and estrangement. There is a great need for family ministry that will help them understand relationship and develop more fulfilling and harmonious ways of finding the love that both seek as they learn to love God first.
Family Units with Children
Single parents may head some family units. There might even be extended families where two or three generation live together. Blended families, where re-marriage has brought two different family units together are quite common.
The golden years can be a time of great happiness or dissatisfaction. Retirement from the world of work can free up time for long-delayed travel, hobbies and leisure. It can also lead to increased stress as individual relationships and sources of self-worth change.
How does family ministry help with some of the pressures?
We will teach that we are not alone and don’t have to solve our problems on their own. God will help us. He loves us and promised to take care of us if we are obedient. Isaiah 42:1-3 reads
1Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (Isaiah 42:1-3 KJV)
Then we will truly be able to say “Faith, Family and Friends Forever” as we build bridges of hope for all for now and throughout eternity.