A while ago, I read an article called, “I Used to Be a Thief.” In it, Chris Stewart, a youth minister, detailed how he went along with youth ministry as usual until he stopped to take a real hard look at the outcome.
Stewart wrote, “I got away with it. And I would still be getting away with it today if the Lord hadn’t caught me and set me straight. My subject of criminal activity? Ministry. My victims? Parents of youth in my churches. That’s right. I used to be a thief, and I was good at it. They never even knew I was robbing them. I was slick. I was precise. I would walk right into their homes and, right in front of their noses, snatch away everything that had originally been given and entrusted to them.”
Stewart identifies one of the major problems hurting the Church today. There are plenty of ministeries where people are grouped by age, need or some affinity. There are programs for youth, children, singles, couples, men, women, seniors, addicts, young moms, sports nuts, musicians, prayer warriors, etc. The list could go for what seems like forever. But where is the family ministered to as a family? Better yet, where does the family minister to others together as a family? Families are carved up into little groups. Most families don’t even sit together in the main Sunday service.
My ministry experience have led me to conclude that many of the issues that people face are directly related to their family. Some issues may never get resolved until the family comes together. Churches should be connecting disconnected families not enabling bad practices of parents, spouses or children.
Stewart wrote, “Parents… we have been given a responsibility by our Creator, our Father. Our responsibility is to lead our children in the ways of the Lord (see Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Leading our children in the ways of the Lord is NOT putting them off at church so that they can be taught by someone more ‘qualified’ to teach the Bible. There is no one more qualified for your kids than you.”
Effective church programs have enabled many people to be lazy and walk away from their God-given responsiblities. Enough is enough, family minister must become more than something covered in a Sunday sermon. It must be a guiding principle in modern Christian fellowships. Don’t wait around for your fellowship to get it right. Be proative about your family gathering together to run after God together. Transformation will take place one family at a time. Although the road may seem full of perils, the payback is priceless.