When my family lived in a economically-challenged neighbourhood in Kentucky, we would frequently have children from the apartments around us come and join us outside at our picnic. At first it seemed strange that a four or five year old would be wandering around the property alone for hours at a time. But soon we came to realize that in-tact families were increasingly rare around us. A married father and mother with a stable home was not very common.
Pew Research has recently shown that since 1968 there has been a fourfold increase in the number of unmarried parents in the United States. Many children are raised by single mothers. The example of husbands who love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Eph. 5:22-23) are increasingly missing from many children’s lives. And the societal impacts have been enormous.
While we live in a community where many homes have mothers and fathers, there is an increasingly complex societal structure that is breaking down around us. Children need the example of women AND men who know how to relate to one another, serve one another, and respect one another. The family is not a recent invention; it was designed by God from the very beginning as the most basic governing social structure.
So what are we to do when brokenness surrounds us?
As a church, we are thrilled to be offering a family ministry night this fall. This night isn’t the fix to everything. But it’s a start. We need times where we gather as a church family to display the love for one another. We want these evenings to be working out our values of being biblical, relational, and missional. We want to know God and we want to relate to one another as the family of God. As we learn God’s ways and relate to one another as family, we have opportunity through our words and actions to show that God adopts children into his family. As we live as the people of God – those adopted by the Father through the Son – we are able to love others who have known tremendous brokenness.
Family ministry isn’t a program. It’s about being the people of God who relate to one another as fellow pilgrims who are journeying together as we wait for the Father to take us home. It’s about loving one another, being involved in the beautiful and the messy parts of one another’s lives. And it’s about helping one another so that another generation would know and commend the works of God.
I’m looking forward to our family ministry night in fall. Not for the programs. Not for the activities. But because we are the family of God. And as we learn to love one another as a family, we will display the beauty of God’s redemptive purposes in the Church – his manifold wisdom to a needy world.
~ Pastor Andrew