Aligning Parents for a Vision of Family

Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do as a leader within the church is to change the culture of a church! 

I would sum up the idea of the culture of a church as how the church itself moves or the perception of the people that make up the church. Most of us didn’t create the culture of the church, yet have the duty to change it, and how they see our ministries. This process takes time and isn’t easy. When the culture changes we can use it to influence our families with God’s principles in ways we haven’t before. In my years of leading within the church world, I have never had a parent who is not on board with the idea of family ministry. The difficulty lies in incorporating families’ busy lives with the church culture. It is in the task of aligning families with church culture that can get interesting and for me where the fun begins. We’ll continue this conversation on a second post tomorrow and below with your comments.

How do you see your church aligning families with your church culture?

From an inside standpoint, I will say that for many families the church for far too long has been the last resort for help instead of the first. Many times the church leaders end up being crisis counselors instead of crises avoiders. We host the ER rather than the regular well-check. We have all heard the stories of parents at their wits’ end, not knowing where to turn or what to do! My question to those who are in a “do or die” frame of mind more often than not is “How many places have you tried, people have you seen, friends’ ideas have you used, parenting magazines have you read, Dr. Phil episodes have you watched, and Oprah shows you have cried to before you ended up here, at the church?”

I know that may sound a little harsh, yet when families try all they know, and find themselves facing dire straits the church and God all too often become the final ending point. (Not to mention one that is not usually something most get excited or hopeful about.) Now don’t hear me say that these parents are doing something wrong, the truth is that at least they are out there looking for and perusing avenues that may help. But my question is, why do so many look that the church and it’s resources as a last resort instead of as the first solution? Why is the church and all it has to offer not the immediate answer to the questions we all ask at times especially as parents…”What in the world am I supposed to do now“ or “How am I ever going to do this“ ? 

During our breakout session, I want us to look at the things we can proactively do as a church to change the perception others may hold of a Family Focused Ministry. Join us in this breakout to hear not only ideas and struggles but also hopes and dreams as well. We will focus on how to lead the church in becoming a place of support, solutions, and hope rather than a place to collapse at the doorstep exhausted and empty after nothing else has worked. I believe together we can better align parents for a vision of family ministry that can change the way that they handle challenges and issues as well as how they generally can thrive in life together! 

How can your church become a main place for families to find guidance and support?

Andy Tilly is on staff at Cross Timbers Community Church, a multi-campus church based in Argyle, Texas, as the Director of United Students & CT Kids. He was also a breakout speaker at the 2010 Orange Conference.