As we consider a "re-launch" of family ministries at the "Mission", here are some important reminders to guide our planning, goals and strategy. Church growth specialists suggest that churches of all sizes can launch a family ministry — Their advice — Start small. It’s about finding a few things and doing them well ... let's not try to keep up with the church down the road; it isn’t a competition. If we meet needs, word will get out. On the flip side, more effective ministry isn’t usually easy so we can’t totally avoid difficult issues. In other words, ministry can be messy.

Start slow. Family ministers warn against trying to start everything at once or advertising something we can’t produce. We might end up with competing, rather than complementary, ministries.

Emphasize the importance of investing properly in small groups. Groups like our "Dinner for 8" provide a meaningful point of contact for the church family but also a strategic point of entry for "outsiders". A small group, like Pastor Larry Gill's I-Marriage course, has the potential to not only build marriages and families inside the church but could also impact family relationships in the community. Small groups are essential, because they form dynamic connections where "truth" can be communicated in the context of loving relationships. 

Embrace all families. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and God has things to say to each. This is where the church can be huge in representing God’s wide arms of love, grace, and healing. For example, our active involvement and support for the Sidney Lion's Food Bank has made a signifigant impact in our community. 

As a church we have a lot to offer families in need. The good thing is, we don't have to do it all. We simply need to be available to God and accessible to others. Thank you for your vision and participation in family ministry.