The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University

Family Ministry

Featured Article

The Family Table


I grew up in a large family where I was given a seat at our family table from the time I was born. At first—I sat at a corner in a baby seat. While I did not eat from the table in those early days, I was the recipient of rich, life-giving nourishment.
I began to observe the exchange of words used to create a conversation.
I observed the use of manners and the extension of hospitality.
I participated as we paused to give thanks.
I observed the art of story telling, taking turns and what it means to pass the potatoes to the left. Before long I moved to a highchair—where I was invited to experience the rich morsels of food the rest of the family enjoyed.

2 Comments Read More
Tags: Family

Recent Articles

A New Kind of Normal


I was only 24 when he died. I remember thinking, “I am way too young to be without a dad.” Plus, it was the first significant death I had experienced so I didn’t know the rules.

I didn’t know I might have trouble closing my eyes to sleep.

I didn’t know I might have dreams of his return.

I didn’t know there might be particular moments when society thought I should be crying but tears would not come.

I didn’t know the rest of the world would continue as if nothing happened, even though everything in my world had been shaken by the words, “He didn’t make it.”

And maybe--most troubling, I didn’t know this loss would have the power to change me, forever.


4 Comments Read More
Tags: Grief

Two Ears, One Mouth; Regaining the Art of Listening


Most professors have favorite sayings that capture a truth.  One of my favorites is “there is a reason God created you with one mouth and two ears.”  The implication, of course, is that maybe we were designed to listen twice as much as we talk.   As a faculty member in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, our team correctly focuses much of our training and teaching on the skillful ability to teach and preach God’s Word.  Of equal importance is to develop the skill of listening.  Listening has multi-dimensional functions including, among others, the art of listening to God, to your spouse, to your children and family members, to friends, to those in authority, to those in the household of faith, and to seekers. 

It is my growing conviction that one of the paths to a holy life, a Christ-centered life is to become increasingly more skillful in the art of listening.  James 1:19 challenges each person to “’take note of this: Everyone should be should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”  One of my favorite authors, Marjorie J. Thompson states that “listening is the first expression of communication in prayer.  We know that listening precedes speaking in the development of children’s language skills.  The same order applies to the development of our prayer life.  Something in our spirit is touched by the Divine Spirit before we are drawn to speak.”   Today let’s explore the adventure of learning to listen to God.

1 Comments Read More

A Pastor’s Discovery


I ran a little experiment over the last six weeks in our church that probably not many people knew about. The experiment was to determine if working with kids in the church was actually a "job" or an opportunity to serve in the name of Jesus. Average churches usually treat ministry to children as secondary to everything else going on at any given time and I just wanted to see if we were an average church.

The first phase of my experiment was to volunteer to lead the children's ministry, Community Kids, on Wednesday nights for six weeks. Normally, I would attend and even lead the study for men on Wednesday nights while the Community Kids Program went on downstairs, in our lower level. Instead, I volunteered to lead the Wednesday Night Kids program as we talked about our "Self-Portrait." We dealt with issues like the fact that God created us in His image. What that means, the way others see us. The way God sees us. How Jesus makes a difference. Etc. You get the point.

7 Comments Read More
Tags: Children

Understanding the Hurt in Saying Good-Bye

I recently read a wonderful book, “The Switching Hour”, by Devon Flesberg.  I must admit that though I knew the book was about divorce, the title intrigued me and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what it meant. Then I began to read it.  

Before I begin to share with you some of the lessons I have learned from this book, I must disclosed that I am the product of divorced parents.  When I was nine years old, my parents divorced, and truth be told, my family divorced.  While the circumstances or details of the divorce are unimportant for this discussion, the divorce affected more than just my parents.  My brother and I were right in the middle of it all.

So, you too, may wonder, “What’s with the title of this book?”  The “switching hour” is the term that has been penned to refer to that moment when life switches from time with one parent to time with the other. What is often forgotten in the midst of divorce is what the children go through each time they make this switch.  As adults, we have convinced ourselves that kids are resilient and they quickly recover from the struggles of divorce, but truth be told, the effects of divorce on a child never end.  That’s right, they NEVER end.

2 Comments Read More

4 Models of Ministry with Children


Ever find yourself wondering why you do ministry the way you do?  Have you ever asked yourself if there is a better way or maybe I should just do what everyone else seems to be doing?  Have you ever thought there has to be a reason for the way we do ministry with kids?  If you have asked these or other questions related to the way ministry is conducted, then this article is for you.  In this article, Dr. Leon Blanchette will share four approaches to ministry with children – these are often referred to as models of children’s ministry.  If this sounds intriguing then keep reading.

Determining how to conduct ministry with children can at times be overwhelming.  Should I use this curriculum or that one?  What will be enjoyable to kids and make them want to come back?  What ministries will make parents happy?  If you have been in ministry for even a short time I suspect that you have asked these and similar questions.  Let me assure you that these are legitimate questions.  Perhaps the best place to start it determining answers is with a practical model that might help us.

4 Comments Read More