Shift: Connecting the Church and Home

I’ll be posting live notes here from Shift session 2, featuring Mark Holmen and  Bubba Thurman on the theme of Connecting the Church and Home.  Make sure you refresh to see the most current additions.

Mark Holmen is the author of Faith Begins at Home.

Satan has been attacking families by making it easy to outsource everything we want our kids to be taught. We live in a land of plenty, of more, and we’ve forgotten God.  It’s a treadmill.

Hypocrisy is driving young people away from the church.  Specifically, they’re at church, in programs, but they’re not getting the same message at home.  Speaking from Deut. 6 – impress these things on your children… (not drop them off at church).

This seemed like a win-win situation – kids get dropped off, we had great success. Participated in a national survey, Significant Religious Influences, designed to reveal why the kids in the youth program have the faith they do.  The number one reason why teenagers have faith was mom. Two was, dad.  Three, pastor. Grandparents, Sunday School, Youth Group, Church Camp, Retreats… Parents are 2-3 times more influential than any church program.

As a youth pastor, he was spending all his time and energy on the bottom of the influence list.

Two approaches to the problem.

Typical churches program for nursery, children’s ministry, youth ministry, move onto men’s/women’s and senior adults ministry.  Then, when they decide to “do something for families” we make a new box. This approach, at best, gets about 40% of parents to turn out.

By being a “faith at home focused church” – weaving ministry to families through everything the church does – equips families to minister to their children and reaches all of your families. Ministering to families becomes about how you do church. It runs across how you “do” (or make choices about) each area of ministry.

In youth ministry, he calls it “both-and-and” ministry. Youth pastors need to do everything they can to reach students for Christ, know him and follow him.  And, they need to be faith at home focused students – by equipping them to live out their faith 24/7 at home (and wherever else they go). And, youth pastors need to find ways to engage parents.

Describes a retreat where there was a session for the parents.  Everything the students were taught was shared with the parents, there was a joint session for parents and students following the students’ retreat, and discussion questions went home with them for further discussion apart from the youth ministry.

This faith at home focus is a long-term vision for a church, an intentional part of every ministry at all age levels.

Bubba Thurman –

He’s talking about the church-home connection from the youth minister’s perspective. Their church’s home-family ministry is called Home Point.

Faith at home, or family ministry, doesn’t mean the elimination of youth ministry or youth pastors. It does mean the inclusion of church-supported, intentional equipping for parents so that the most effective people (parents) are best able to disciple their children.

Three hurdles for the youth pastor to overcome – between youth ministry and the home ministry.

1. Pride – the inability to admit that there’s something wrong with what we’re doing.

2. Assumptions – what comes to mind when you hear family ministry? “I hear a van pulling up in the church parking lot, 9 kids pile out all wearing uniforms, ready to play bible trivia.”

3. Fear – can keep us from doing something we know is right. What are we afraid of about family ministry (inspiring and equipping parents to disciple their kids)? Inadequacy and measures are the most common answers.

Suggestions for getting started on considering parents when planning youth ministry. Tell parents, by website or print out, what you’re teaching ahead of time. Share the lessons, share the talks from events or retreats. Invite parents to your team trainings, teach them to lead bible studies, be relational, anything you would train a volunteer leader to do. Most parents want the opportunity to lead their kids, they just don’t know how.

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