FAMILY LIFE MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Corinth 14:40)
Families comprise of people who have a shared history and a shared future. Families are the most significant places where people live their Christian faith. Learning to live justly and lovingly with family members is a challenging daily discipline that if successful, makes the church and the society strong. Thus the mission of the church can and should first be lived through the family.
In the Book of Deuteronomy chapter 6:2, Moses reminded the Israelites that for the fear of God to transcend generations, the word of God was to be taught to their Children, Children’s children and their children after them. The quote below from a Chinese proverb also brings the point home that foundations for strong churches and nations are built at home:
“If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character,
If there is beauty in the Character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation
When there is order in each nation, there will be peace in the world”.
However, today’s families are sailing on stormy social waters; the liberal society is competing with gospel values, the internet, the pressured workplace with full time working parents, erosion of moral values and emergence of many ideologies that challenge the Biblical principles on family life. Families are struggling to keep healthy relationships between spouses, between parents and children and even between different family members. Individualism is being praised instead of community and society oriented teaching. Love thy neighbor as thyself according to the teaching of Christ is not popular even among some Christian families.
In Psalm 127 verse 1, the Bible states that “Except the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”. Hence the need for the church to have a structure that helps families build their homes in a Godly manner based on Biblical Principles.
Family Life Ministry at Charles New Church
The Charlesnew Methodist church has been running different programs aimed at strengthening the family unit; these include marriage and couple’s seminars, Youth seminars, mentorship for young men and women and family services each end of the month. In most occasions when these seminars have been held, members demand for more and more frequently.
During a recent couples’ seminar held on March 19th, 2016 at Brackenhurst conference Centre in Limuru, a quick survey on the 40 participants revealed that over 90% felt loved when appreciation was openly expressed by their spouses and they were cared for. Another survey a week earlier of the church members’ most pressing prayer needs had concluded that more evangelism is needed at family level; in other cases, families were struggling with stressed marriages, children who did not attend church, were in bad habits/company or simply disobedient.
Jesus Christ said that He came that we may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10). Therefore, God intends that families live in peace and enjoy each other’s company as well as receive all the benefits that Christ came to give.
Recognizing that the church can help families in dealing with the above and other family related matters, the BrackenHurst meeting of recommended the establishment of a family life ministry in Charles New Methodist Church.
The idea was shared with the church members on Sunday March 20th, 2016 and members were in agreement that this ministry should be established.
2. Purpose of the Ministry
Family life ministry seeks to express the healing love of Christ by affirming, equipping, and supporting families to live in healthy and resilient relationships.
To Develop and coordinate Christ centered Family Life programs for families and their children.
Be a spiritual resource for families on practical Biblical application in the household.
3. Committee leading the Ministry
i. The Committee consists of seven members nominated by Church leaders who are supported by a group of resource persons based on the needs of the congregation. The resource persons are members of the church or outsourced where the church is not able to provide certain resources.
ii. Members of the committee have working knowledge and experience on family life matters. The youth and young adults are each represented by one member.
4. Specific Responsibilities
The Committee reports to the Church Leaders and its mandate includes:
1. In coordination with all other church groups, provide resources and classes for biblically sound courtshipship and marriage, parenting and discipleship skills.
2. Create, plan and organize small groups for couples (marriage enrichment groups and fatherhood programs), providing a place where their relationship with the Lord and each other can be nourished and a place to connect with others for mutual support.
3. Organize Marriage Memories Scrapbook project. Have couples include photos, stories, mementos and lessons learned
4. Assist Pastors in facilitating marriage seminars.
5. Develop an effective singles ministry that promotes emotional, social and spiritual growth and healing.
6. Provide activities for families such as "couples night out" or "family night."
Vison Mission and Objectives
The Committee holds regular meetings as need arises to address members needs in respect of family well-being.
The Family Life Ministry in Charles New Methodist has adopted the following to guide them in disseminating the virtues;
i. The vision for the ministry “To build happy families”.
ii. Mission “To be a ministry which imparts families with Acceptance, Hope and Healing through Christ”.
iii. The objectives of the ministry;
a. To make individuals and families feel accepted in the body of Christ Romans 15:7
b. To impart the Hope of families to Christ Psalm 33:20
c. To point (direct) individuals and families to the Hope of Christ Isaiah 58:8
iv. Activities/strategies to realize the broad objectives of “Building Happy Families”.
a. Family events for leisure and otherwise out in the environment for enjoyment.
b. Mentorship programmes
c. Audio visual programmes and common materials to share that generate discussions to further fellowship.
d. Day Workshops and seminars
e. Retreats day and or overnight for family groups
f. Prayers focused on family challenges
g. Devotions, fellowships, bible study all that are aimed to bringing people to the Kingdom.