A Ministry of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry—Olivet Nazarene University

Families

Reflections on My Adoption Journey

 

 

At the time of the writing of this article, my wife and I have just brought home our second son. This article is designed as a reflection on the journey to bring our son home, looking at the hardships, the joys, and the way that God walked us through the journey. It is my hope that those who have not gone through an adoption process will have a greater understanding of what is involved and might find ways to stand beside those who are in the process.

First, a few of the details. Both of our sons are adopted from South Korea. The oldest came home when he was 14 months (he is now five years old); the youngest was 28 months. Overall, the process for the second adoption took over two years from the submission of our paperwork to the bringing home of our son. Our referral (whereby we were matched with our son) was received in April of 2012 when he was six months old. The process to bring him home involved two trips to Seoul, Korea and two total weeks in country.

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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.

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Family Ministry Reconsidered (part II)

 

 

Welcome back.  Our journey through part I of this article caused us to question our understanding of the word, “family”, and to understand family as both the individual family that is made up of a variety of combinations of people and our local church family.  Both of these understandings of family become vehicles where the faith can be passed down to the next generation.

Before we continue, please allow me to identify the elephant in the room.  In each of our churches we work hard to educate our children and youth to know the Bible and to be good people.  Many of us have committed our lives to teaching the Bible to our kids; and this is good.  However, more often than not, it seems that we get sidetracked in thinking that teaching the Bible and learning the details of the stories is our goal.  Perhaps this has occurred because we have bought into a “school” model that tells us that learning information or data is of ultimate importance. While this may in part be true in our schools, in our churches we desire much more.

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Family Ministry Reconsidered




The buzz word today is “family” ministry. Incorporating the word into the common language of the church has become routine and ordinary.  One can’t talk about ministry without talking about family ministry. The word can be found in magazines, curriculum, college classrooms, and even in ministry titles. I can remember about twelve or so years ago changing my title from Children’s Pastor to Pastor to Families with Children.  I wanted to be on the cutting edge of this new emphasis that recognized ministry to the whole family is much more glamorous than ministry to just children.  I believe my heart was in the right place and my intentions were to try to meet the needs of the entire family while still focusing on the children I had been called to serve.  I suppose it was a good start, but my understanding of what it meant to minister to the family was certainly lacking.  I think the same may be true today when many hear the phrase “family” ministry.

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The Family Communication Project

 

The Family Communication Project comes from and moves toward a vision of holistic family based youth ministry. It would be inadequate to simply describe a project or activity without explaining the understanding and vision behind it. The following paper begins with an understanding of the need for holistic family based youth ministry, followed by the rationale for the project, and finally an explanation of the project itself. Included in this paper are some of the necessary materials for the project to be effective. The Family Communication Project is designed to be flexible and adaptable to every community situation. Therefore the explanation of the project below could simply be considered as a guideline or an explanation of what an actual project that a church would implement might look like.

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Families? In YOUTH Ministry?! Yeah, right.

 

The face of youth ministry is always changing.  The programs of the past are fading fast, and even the title of "Youth Minister" is in a state of flux.  In the past, programs were teen centered, high impact, and high emotionally charged events.  The programs focused solely on the teens as teens, not necessarily teens as budding adults ("adult larva" as I like to call them).  The programs challenged teens to live as Christian teens, with the hope of them becoming Christian adults, but, in reality, there were few examples of Christian adults for them to see, and they were unclear what being a "Christian adult" meant. And in many ways youth ministry served as more of a wedge between teens and adults rather than a bridge between teens and adults.

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