Family MinistryLiving Out Our Baptismal Covenant
The Kansas District Child and Family Life Committee (CFLC) is committed to assisting congregations in their ministry and responsibility to strengthen marriages, parent and grandparent-child, and other faith mentoring relationships, and to support them in their role of passing on the faith to the next generation.
Marriage and family life are God’s design for rearing children and passing on the faith from generation to generation. It is God’s original plan and the ideal. In our fallen world, much has changed in regards to family life, formation, and structure. While holding up God’s plan, the Gospel needs to be proclaimed to families of any shape and form. Christ is central.
To that end, the CFLC affirms the role of equipping, resourcing, and encouraging congregations toward crafting their own vision of family ministry in order for all to more fully live out their baptismal covenant.
NEW! Recommended Resources
The Children and Family Life Committee has created a new resource! Our goal is to help parents in our district get Back to the Basics: Rediscovering the Faith at Home. Each month we’ll recommend a resource based on a given topic, with links to video reviews posted on the Family Ministry page of the District website. Our hope is to show you how these resources can enrich your faith life with the family. While some resources will be obviously targeted toward families, we’ll also recommend some resources that you might not have otherwise considered. We’ll show you how they can apply to teaching and growing in the faith at home. We’ll also provide you with a list of secondary resources for further exploration into the topic.
Topic: God’s Word
Recommended: The Lutheran Study Bible
The month of August brings a new school year, and with that, new routines. A great routine to start this month is being in God’s Word both individually and as a family. One great resource to help you with being in God’s Word daily is the Bible, specifically The Lutheran Study Bible (ESV), published by Concordia Publishing House. The Lutheran Study Bible is the first Bible in English with distinctly Lutheran notes.
The Lutheran Study Bible includes a helpful section entitled, “How to Read and Study the Bible.” It also includes a two-year reading plan that has you reading a couple chapters of the Bible six days a week. This is a great way to kick-start getting yourself into the Word. For further study and devotion there are also notes and prayers throughout the Bible. Reading the lessons for the Sunday coming up is a great way to be prepared for church, and this Bible also includes the one-year and three-year lectionary plans. In the front of the Bible you will find colored maps from Bible times. Throughout the rest of the Bible there are other maps for your reference. The beginning of each book has an introduction that includes an overview, some background, challenges for readers, blessings for readers, and an outline. This Bible is full of commentary to help Christians at any point in their faith journey become more mature.
How can you use all of this with your family? Another bright spot in The Lutheran Study Bible is that the entire Small Catechism is included at the front. Luther wrote the Small Catechism in simple words so parents could teach it to their children. Focus on a little bit of the Catechism each day. You can also use a children’s Bible to study alongside The Lutheran Study Bible. Arch Books are another great resource to teach the Bible to your children. As teachers of the faith, we will never be perfect in our biblical knowledge or presentation, but the Spirit will give us just what we need to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. He is faithful and He will do it!
- How to Read the Bible with Understanding, CPH, $14.99
- Kids’ Bibles
- My Very First Holy Bible, Ages 5-12, CPH, $29.99
- My First Bible Story Book, Ages 2+, CPH, $14.99
- The Growing in Faith Bible, Ages 8-10, CPH, $29.99
- The Story Bible, Ages 3-8, CPH, $29.99
- Arch Books, CPH, $2.99 each (or can buy treasuries)
- Lutheran Life: Bible Reading Issue, CPH, FREE
Topic: Children and Youth Ministry
Recommended: Connected for Life
CPH’s Connected for Life: The Essential Guide to Youth Ministry begins by laying a foundation for all youth ministry: bringing our youth to the fellowship of the altar. When we see youth ministry flowing out of the Lord’s Supper, we see the intimate connection with faith formation as this blessed sacrament points us over and over to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and the strength to live our lives in His love. In the Supper we see the Lord’s forgiveness, acceptance, community, and endurance; a strong youth ministry is dominated by these traits as well.
Connected for Life is written to help you see youth ministry as only one piece of the formation of a mature disciple in Christ and not as an end in itself. All too often youth ministry is treated in this way, and when the “end” ends, so does the youth’s involvement in the church. Instead we must recognize youth ministry as part of the process of forming disciples from pre-birth through death. This means having a clear purpose for your youth ministry and a plan for how they will be incorporated into the larger church both during and after their time in youth ministry. In other words, it requires asking yourself, “How does each element of our youth ministry work to bring our youth into a deeper connection with Christ and His Church?”
While this book does not lay out a plan for you, it gives you guidance and encouragement along the way as you investigate and decide what is best for your youth in your ministry context. From picking the ministry team through picking theologically solid curriculum into engaging youth and their parents, this is a resource packed with practical advice even parents can use. It is definitely a resource my Board of Education and I will be returning to over and over again.
Why Family Ministry in Your Church?
Family ministry is rooted in Baptism. While it is true that our Baptism may have taken place years ago, while many of us have only a certificate to assure us of this, yet, it is, in fact, the greatest thing that has ever happened to us; it was our birthday into God’s Kingdom of Grace. Perhaps it would be well for us to hang our Baptismal certificate on the wall or to write, as Luther did, on our desk – “I AM BAPTIZED!” What better thought could we have to begin each day and as we close our eyes in sleep than to recall our Baptism? Baptism is not a momentary act. It’s a lifelong relationship to be celebrated and affirmed.
Family Ministry: Strengthens Marriages, Parent & Grandparent Relationships
God’s original design for us was that we would function within healthy relationships. Unfortunately, that aspect of our existence is also impacted by the reality of sin in our lives. While God’s love redeems us through the sacrificial blood of Jesus, relationships on this side of heaven still require intentional effort, a lot of grace, and many second chances, if they are to be healthy.
Again, the CFLC desires to support all in the baptismal journey by offering the following family ministry services for congregations, schools, Church workers, and laity of the Kansas District, LCMS:
- Free consultations – trained facilitators willing to assist pastors, other church workers, and lay leaders, with assessment tools and best practices in marriage and parent education.
- Marriage ministry – trained leaders excited to offer marriage enrichment experiences for church workers and their spouses. Retreats and workshops for laity are also available.
- Workshops –
- Heart of Family Ministry – a one-hour overview of family ministry strategies and resources for the congregation and the home, tailored for a Bible class.
- Faith and the Home – a series of half-day workshops designed to equip, resource, and encourage congregations toward crafting their own vision of family ministry. Participants learn ways to strengthen the family’s role of passing on the faith to the next generation.