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4 Family Ministry Models Explained

Learn all about the 4 Family ministry models in this Family Ministry Conversation video!
3 min read

Hello everyone. I’m Michelle Anthony. Welcome to Family Ministry Conversations. Today our topic is family ministry models.

Have you ever thought when you’re talking with someone about family ministry that they might have a different interpretation of what family ministry actually is? That’s because when we use this term, we may mean different things by it.

Consider one or more of these models as a blend or as a distinctive for your church in family ministry.

So today we’re going to explore 4 family ministry models and their distinctives and similarities within the local church.

Model 1: Family-friendly

The first one is a family-friendly model. They want to be friendly to the family. They bring all generations together and they may do things like a family picnic or a family retreat. Activities that are purposed for fun to bring the church together as a whole.

These churches have an emphasis on fun. So they want to drop families and parents outside of their regular daily lives and provide an opportunity for them to play and laugh with their children.

Model 2: Family-centered

The second family ministry model is a family-centered model. Now, just as the title implies, the center of the church is really the family unit. And they don’t have different age-appropriate classrooms or Sunday school courses—everyone is together.

For church or for events, it’s completely intergenerational and the whole church experiences family together. So family ministry is really at the center of who they are at their DNA level.

Laughing daughter embracing mother while sitting on couch with family in living room
Image Credit: Thomas Barwick/ DigitalVision/Getty Images

Model 3: Family-sensitive

The third model is a family-sensitive model. Now, in this model the church is very sensitive to the diverse needs of today’s families.

There are so many different family structures and needs because of dysfunctions within our families today in the 21st century. And this church has taken on the role for their family model to really be one of servicing those needs.

So you would find divorce care or recovery and not just for the parents but also for the children. You would find 12-step programs for addictions that really bring to light biblical principles within those 12 steps. You’ll have financial classes to help people to become financially healthy in their stewardship and in their finances at home.

This church model really sees their value for the family as being one to come alongside and counsel and bring spiritual and mental and family health.

Model 4: Family-empowered

And the last model, the family-empowered model. This is the model where families and parents are empowered to be the spiritual leaders in their homes. So while they may have different age-graded Sunday school classes for their children and they may worship separately, everything they do is focused on equipping and training the parents to be the spiritual leaders of their children.

So while they still want to have fun and they still do a lot of the activities and programs of the other 3 models, they really are focused on Scripture’s calling parents to rise up and be the disciples of their children. It’s a very intentional focus even though it has a lot of different aspects to it.

What Model Is Right for Your Family Ministry?

So when you look at family ministry and you look at your local church and the community in which you’ve been asked to serve, what are those things that God may have brought to light through one or more of those models? Sometimes churches will even have a blend of those models as well. But as we look at the different family ministry models, we then start recognizing why we mean different things when we define our family ministries.

So as you consider what God has called you and your church to do in your community, maybe consider one or more of these models as a blend or as a distinctive for your church in family ministry.

7 Ways to Encourage Today's Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home cover

Ready to help parents create an environment for spiritual growth?

Get ready to help families with their most important task, in our guide from Ministry Spark: 7 Ways to Encourage Today’s Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home.
Free Guide
7 Ways to Encourage Today's Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home cover

Ready to help parents create an environment for spiritual growth?

Get ready to help families with their most important task, in our guide from Ministry Spark: 7 Ways to Encourage Today’s Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home.
Free Guide
7 Ways to Encourage Today's Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home cover

Ready to help parents create an environment for spiritual growth?

Get ready to help families with their most important task, in our guide from Ministry Spark: 7 Ways to Encourage Today’s Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home.
Free Guide
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  Updated on December 3, 2021

About the Author

Post Author
  • Dr. Michelle Anthony is the Pastor of Children and Parents at New Life Church. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting, The Big God Story, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, and 7 Family Ministry Essentials. Michelle has over 25 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible and Theology from Talbot School of Theology and Southern Seminary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, and being at the beach while drinking a strong cup of coffee.

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

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