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Redeemer Church Family Discipleship Plan

December 10, 2014

There are a number of ways that Redeemer Church provides teaching, instruction, and discipleship for our children. The most visible ministry we provide is, of course, our Redeemer Kids and Redeemer Tots classes on Sunday mornings. These classes allow our kids, ages 0-6 to receive biblical instruction in the form of Bible stories and the catechism from all active members of our church. But over the past several months we have been thinking about how to provide more structured ministry to our older children, ages seven and up.

Given our commitment to the family-equipping model of ministry we have come up with what we think is the beginning of an older children’s ministry plan and my purpose here is to explain some of our thought process in coming up with it.

We wanted to avoid two pitfalls in developing a family ministry plan. The first pitfall we wanted to avoid is that we do not want to leave parents all alone, especially during the pre-adolescent and adolescent years. This would place the responsibility of discipling their children during some of the most difficult years solely on the parents. We realize that ministering to children ages seven and up is a huge category of kids and we want to take it seriously as a church. We want to be able to equip their parents to help them deal with challenges and struggles that they will certainly face as they approach adulthood – issues such as dating, sex, marriage, vocation, theology, apologetics, and others. Yes, parents are the primary disciple-makers of their kids but the church is called to equip, train, and assist them in this process. Any ministry structure we put in place must be a means to that end.

Second, we did not want to simply give parents and our church more to do. It would be very easy to set up some kind of youth group structure requiring weekly events, heavy church member involvement, and a significant additional financial cost. But not only is a youth group structure not a viable option for us given our limited resources and space, we don’t believe it has served churches well in the past. Removing children from their parents on a regular basis would actually work against our stated goal of keeping parents as the primary disciple-makers of their families. Therefore any ministry plan we put in place must be centered around parental leadership with the church coming alongside them to equip and assist.

In summary, we want parents to take the lead responsibility in the discipleship of their children but we also don’t want to leave them in the dark about how to do it. The church exists to be a support and encouragement to parents as they seek to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The question we’ve been trying to answer is “what kind of structure can we, as a church, put in place to seek to fulfill our mission while avoiding both pitfalls?” In response to that question we have come up with a family discipleship plan for children ages seven and up.

If you are a parent (or will soon be a parent) of a child who is seven or older we invite you to join us this Sunday after our service in the Sun Room. We would like to give you the family discipleship plan and spend some time introducing it as well as answering any questions you might have.

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