Like the Rethinking Children’s Ministry, this breakout was more of a round table discussion. On the stage was Mike Clear from Discovery Church in California, Daren Kaiser from Scranton, PA, Dave Fox from Indiana and Reggie Joiner. Each of these men serve as the Family Pastor at their churches (except Reggie of course).

Reggie began by explaining some of the different models of family ministry. One model is the departmental approach. This is where each department (student and children’s ministry) does it’s best to connect with parents. Another model is the supplemental approach. This is where a family pastor is hired to add programs to supplement parents ministry. This pastor more or less informs the other staff members (children’s pastor and student pastor) what he/she is doing. The Orange model is an integrated model. There may or may not be a family pastor (best if there is) that helps family ministry integrate through all the ministries.

Through a family ministry approach (integrated), the goal for teenagers is not perfect attendance in student ministry, but that they become fully integrated into the fabric of the church.

Reggie perfectly answered the question, “How do you effectively make a children’s ministry team and student ministry team feel like a unified team?” The answer? Meet together. Duh!

In an integrated strategy, you remove ministry silos and territorialism. In this strategy, student and chidlren’s teams work together on budgets, calendars and other things.

Reggie shared that there are three dials that need to be turned in the life of a child. The Wonder Dial, the Discovery Dial and the Passion Dial. The Wonder Dial is the understanding of faith, creation and who God is. The Discovery Dial is the understanding of how I personally fit into this knowledge of God, specifically relating to having a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Passion Dial is understanding my relationship with those around me.

So, when an integrated family ministry operates with the knowledge of these dials, the team can work together to turn these dials at the appropriate times within ministry. For instance, the Wonder Dial will be turned most during the preschool years, and only a little beyond that (mainly for outreach opportunities). The Discovery Dial is turned the most in elementary ministry and and student ministry and the Passion Dial will be turned the most in student ministry. Implementing this in an integrated strategy allows everyone in multiple ministries to be on the same page.

Here are a few more points made by the presenters:

  • When you believe that what happens at home is more important than what happens at church, your calendar will slim down (from events).
  • Who owns the strategy to “educate” the parents? It’s owned by the whole team, led by a leader.
  • Every parent wants to have the right relationship with their kids… every kid needs a right relationship with a parent.

Oh, there was one more thing. Reggie shared four words and said that most parents fall into one of these four categories:

  • Acquainted
  • Connected
  • Engaged
  • Invested

Acquainted are usually the parents outside of your church… they don’t come. They aren’t against God or anything… they just don’t come. The Connected parents are attending your church. Engaged parents are ones that assume responsibility for spiritually raising their kids and Invested are those who are actively involved in discipling their kids… they’re doing this regularly.