What is Family Ministry?

From Lily Rappaport, Developmental Director of Family Ministries

Multicultural leadership expert and bestselling author Juana Bordas explains the concept of ubuntu: “Like a tribal drumbeat, ubuntu resonates across African cultures and wraps people together. My humanity is tied to your humanity. It is not an ethereal spiritual concept of oneness, but a real day-to-day obligation to be sharing, open, and welcoming toward others. Since Ubuntu signifies that one’s identity and well-being depends on other people, it underscores the collective and the tribe.”

We can apply this important concept to the spiritual growth and development of our children. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are the primary religious educators for their children. Over the next few months, we will be questioning how do we make our community an intentional one of all ages? How can we assist parents in their own faith formation, so that they might be better able to embrace their role as the most influential nurturer of faith in their children?

Family Ministry is an approach to faith development that recognizes that faith development happens throughout our lives, at all ages and wherever we are. While this type of ministry may look different in different congregations, we can generalize that congregations moving in this direction typically place greater emphasis on: whole congregation worship, social action and social justice for all ages, parent support and education, and whole-congregation social and educational events. Family ministry is not just about families with children, but the family ministry model recognizes that families with children need significant attention.

When we welcome our children into worship, we acknowledge that they are part of our religious community, expose them to deep, important ideas, strengthen relationship across generations and demonstrate how welcome everyone is.