First Third Conversations

What if? More from the D6 Conference by Jason Miller

There is a great deal of power in those words, "what if?"

What if children, youth and family ministries were more than a program?

What if they become the basis of a fully integrated mindset for the relationship between the church and the home?

Imagine the possibilities:

  • Parents taking on their God-given roles as the primary faith formers for their children.
  • Families committed to serving their church and the world in the name of Christ.
  • The end of “drop-off” ministry because parents are actively engaged in ministry with their children.
  • A church where ministry silos are integrated and connected to a common goal…strengthening the home and therefore strengthening the church in its mission to the world.

Pretty lofty, huh?

For years we have recognized the need and have tried to start program after program with the goal of encouraging a relationship between home and congregation with modest results. The time has come to think differently about family faith formation, more holistically.

Permeating the discussions at the D6 Conference this year was the insight that the Shema (Deuteronomy 6) was not a program to be implemented, but a mindset, an ethos to become part of our DNA.

Many of the presentations revolved around this “easier said than done” notion. It’s just that, but it is the ONLY way we will truly succeed in partnering with parents in forming faith in young Christians.

And that’s what the “family assets” of the Exemplary Youth Ministry study are really all about. Churches who are constantly figuring out how to make this partnership a part of who they are. They did this by intentionally engaging and including the single most influential people in the lives of young people…their parents.

Now I want to hear from all of you. Is Deuteronomy 6 a part of your (and your congregation’s) DNA? What are you doing in your life and your church community to live out the Shema?

Jason Miller is a husband, dad and Christ follower who serves as director of Christian education for a congregation in Apollo Beach, Fla.  He has been engaged in Children, Youth and Family Ministry for over a decade.

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