Church Becoming Family
By Jana DeLano
We now have six generations living in America! Each generation has unique characteristics formed by their collective experiences and culture, yet every generation shares a desire to explore, learn, and leave a legacy for those who will follow. We can value every generation by acknowledging each other’s needs, asking how each prefers to receive communication, and giving everyone the opportunity to contribute. This process necessitates a reciprocal relationship much like a family. The Church can celebrate each generation by intentionally bringing them together and explaining how the blood of Jesus binds us, as the body of Christ, together in the same manner as a biological family. This is the philosophy of Family Ministry: everyone in the church belongs and we need everyone to do their part!
The joys of family also come with certain responsibilities. The Church (yes, with a capital C) has a responsibility for each member of their family; meeting basic physical needs, ensuring they feel needed and valued, and to helping them mature spiritually. Churches can provide the place for each generation to leave a meaningful mark on the world around them! Over the past two years, Discipleship Ministries has intertwined this Family Ministry philosophy through every ministry. Often the people who share our lives become as close as, or closer, than family. With a little intentionality and discipleship, the church will become a family unit. It may look different than the stereotypical family, but so do most of the families sitting in our churches!
At the 28th General Conference in Orlando, Florida, Discipleship Ministries, along with Dr. Michelle Anthony, hosted a Church Becoming Family event. The afternoon included 12 Worship & Response stations with groups of adults and children experiencing them together. Several people requested the handouts and so we have put together a Family Night Experience kit for your church! (https://iphc.org/discipleship/family-ministry-night/)
This is an excellent opportunity to invite everyone (including family units like the seniors and singles) to bring a picnic dinner, place blankets around the floor, and gather with a few new people to share a meal. Then they can walk through the Worship & Response stations as a group. With a little prompting, this one simple evening could build relationships between empty-nesters and a single parent with children. Imagine the possibilities when people who may feel like they have nothing left to contribute or don’t fit in our “family ministry,” suddenly have a new purpose and people who will share their life!
In 2018, the IPHC Core Value is We Prayerfully Value All Generations. Every ministry will elaborate on the many ways churches can express appreciation and value all the generations. Please consider hosting a Family Experience at your church and share your testimony with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!