Reggie Joiner and the Orange team have changed the conversation for many church leaders. Instead of thinking in terms of “children’s ministry” and “student ministry” people are starting to think in terms of “family ministry”.
The reason: Families get exponentially more time with kids than churches do. So, as the thinking goes, in order for churches to leverage their influence most effectively, they need to partner with families.
That’s awesome. I’m completely sold that family ministry is the way to influence the next generation.
Here’s a problem I see, though:
Even in the Orange model, the church isn’t actually partnering with families… the Family Ministry is.
- As long as the Family Ministry Department is the one implementing family ministry strategies, then the Family Ministry is the only one partnering with families… the church isn’t.
Does that make sense? We haven’t changed the way our churches engage families, we’ve only changed the way our family ministries engage families.
In order for the church to truly partner with families, family ministry has to become the strategy of the church as a whole.
What does that mean? I don’t know. “Gee, Nate. Thanks a lot.”
I do have some thoughts.
- It’s not abolishing student ministry like some advocate.
- It’s going to involve churches becoming more strategic about what they’re teaching on Sunday mornings.
- If the family ministry has core principles they want kids to know, shouldn’t the ‘big wheels’ get it together and know what they want their parents to know.
- It’s going to need church programming to reprioritize around families. (Broad, I know.)
- It’s going to involve connecting older families with younger families.
I don’t know what any of this looks like. I just think something else is coming. Sending kids home with a sheet they’re supposed to look at with their parents doesn’t seem like much of a partnership to me.
Have you implemented the Orange strategy? Are you ready to embrace it as a church instead of a department?