New friends, a beautiful break and confirmation of what Jack and I had been feeling led to in our ministry are the results of this past weekend’s children’s ministry leadership retreat in Glorieta, NM.
Hosted by the Baptist General Convention of New Mexico, we were able to meet and talk with children’s ministers from all over the state. Now Jack and I aren’t official “Children’s Ministers” as most of these good folks are. At best we’re unofficial volunteer coordinators, which made us feel especially blessed to compare curriculum, exchange ideas and kibitz with the rest. Best of all was the validation that many ministries are coming to the same conclusion about children’s ministry that we have: that all ministry must be holistic or all-inclusive of families.
‘Holistic’ is a fishy word in today’s Christian society. It’s come to be associated with all things new-agey and self-spirituality, but in reality it just means comprehensive, total, whole. Jack and I believe you cannot fully minister to a child unless you are ministering to all those living in the child’s household as well. The ‘whole’ family.
That’s not to say that one child can’t make a difference in a home, but that that child has a better understanding of eternal salvation and living a Christ-like life if he or she is brought up in stable, discipling environment. God has called parents to serve as primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives (Deut. 6:4-9; 11:18-21; Psa. 78:5; Eph. 6:4). Holistic ministry is not another ministry to add to a church’s list of services; it’s a process of supporting parents—especially fathers where possible— so that they are acknowledged, trained, and held accountable through men’s, women’s marriage, parenting, youth and children’s services. Holistic ministry takes the whole church working together!
God is so good. And we are so slow. It’s taken nearly 19 years of marriage to figure out that God means for Jack’s love of children and my affinity for teaching adults to work together. I guess slow and steady wins the race!