The objective of family ministries is to strengthen marriage and the family. The family was established by divine creation with marriage at its center. As the primary setting in which values are learned and the capacity for close relationships with God and others is developed, its health is vital to the Church’s disciple-making mission.
Family ministries upholds the biblical teaching related to the family and lifts up God’s ideals for family living. At the same time, it brings an understanding of the brokenness experienced by individuals and families in a fallen world. The department facilitates understanding, unity, and love at home and in the family of God. It fosters reconciliation between the generations promised in the Elijah message of Malachi 4:5, 6 and extends hope and support to those who have been hurt by abuse, family dysfunction, and broken relationships. Relational growth opportunities are provided through family life education and enrichment. Individuals, married couples, and families are helped to avail themselves of professional counseling when necessary.
Ministry to families in the local church focuses on premarital guidance for couples, marriage strengthening programs, and the education of parents. Ministry to families also gives attention to the special needs of single parents and stepfamilies and provides instruction in family-to-family evangelism.
“Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home. . . . There is no missionary field more important than this. . . . By many this home field has been shamefully neglected, and it is time that divine resources and remedies were presented, that this state of evil may be corrected.”— AH 35.
“God designs that the families of earth shall be a symbol of the family in heaven. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan, are among His most effective agencies for the formation of Christian character and for the advancement of His work.”—6T 430.
“The mission of the home extends beyond its own members. . . . Far more powerful than any sermon that can be preached is the influence of a true home upon human hearts and lives.”—MH 352.
Family Ministries Leader(s)—An individual or married couple (see pp. 148-150 for the Church’s definition of marriage) may be elected to serve as family ministries leader(s). They should model strong and growing family relationships and exhibit a sincere interest in fostering the well-being of all families. In order to be effective, the family ministries leader(s) must have an understanding of God’s redemptive plan for dealing with the brokenness in relationships that sin has brought. The leader(s) also must maintain appropriate confidentiality and know when and how to encourage individuals in critical situations to seek professional counseling.
Family Ministries Committee—The board may establish a family ministries committee chaired by the family ministries leader(s).
Resources—For family ministries resources, see Notes, #9, p. 169