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

MInistry

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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"These Are the Days"

My Story

I have been pastor of the Middletown, Indiana, Church of the Nazarene for more than 31 years.  What has transpired has not been the result of any well laid out plan or carefully defined professional strategy.  It just happened. I never really planned to stay, but I also never planned to leave.  So here I am, and hopefully what I have to share can be an encouragement and challenge to you.

Giving a lifetime of ministry to Middletown was certainly not a choice I made.  In fact, Middletown is a place that only God would have chosen.  I sure wouldn't have.  Middletown is a bedroom community of about 2500 people, nestled uncomfortably in the center of the Indiana rustbelt.  In 1978, Anderson, our nearest city, had over 19,000 well-paid General Motors employees.  Now, there are none.  The decline has also occurred in the other two cities near us, Muncie and New Castle. 

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An Oasis in the Desert: My First Year in Small Church Youth Ministry

 

Let me start with an introduction.  My name is Michael Peirson, and I'm a youth pastor.  I want to give you an historical snapshot that will help with the context of this article.

I attended Western Michigan University, obtaining a degree in secondary education.  Upon completing my "formal" education, I realized my life had much more to teach me.  I returned home and began working in a youth ministry near my home.  At the same time I began to feel God tugging my heart in a new direction.  The time I was spending with the Jr. Higher's of this church was beginning to speak to my heart,  and I began to ask a new set of questions.  Was this moving me to another calling in my life?  Is this something that was even a possibility?

I began to search out a way to explore this new passion in my life.  Was this God, or just the pizza I had eaten last night?  God led me to Olivet Nazarene University, where I not only saw this as a possibility, but began to realize that this was a calling on my life.  The theological base and grounding I obtained there has been, and is, essential in my ministry.

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