Helping Families Connect with Other Families

Four Ways to Help Families Make Connections

by Melissa Alfaro/ March 11, 2015

The thermometer that measures the health of a child is the family. The emotional climate and dynamics of a student’s home have a lot to do with how the student performs, receives, and processes information in the ministry setting. Daniela Kaufer, a faculty member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley, ascertains that a person’s “emotional state . . . influence[s] learning, memory and decision making.” Therefore, if you are going to disciple a child you must be willing to provide opportunities that holistically minister to the family in the process. One simple way to cultivate healthy families in your ministry is by connecting families with other families. 

Four Ways to Help Families Connect with Other Families 

  1. Create a parental buddy system within your ministry. Assign spiritually mature Christians to new Christians for the purpose of following up with them, calling to remind them of upcoming events within your ministry, and to serve as a point of support as they integrate into the church family and begin their own discipleship process.
  2. Facilitate opportunities for families to connect in small groups of similar backgrounds. As children navigate through different ages and seasons in life, so does the family. By forming small groups that meet monthly or quarterly and target specific family or adolescent issues (e.g. single parents, toddlers and the terrible twos, tweens, bullying, time management, discipline, special needs, etc.) you create a space for families to share experiences, gain practical and biblically-sound tools to build a strong family, and receive affirmation and encouragement in the process.
  3. Allow social events to be evangelistic. There are cases where children are the only ones in their family who attend church. By scheduling social events outside the four walls of the church, such as a park day or picnic outing, you open the door for parents who are hesitant to set foot inside of a church to meet other believers, witness the demonstration of God’s love through His church, hear a message of hope, and see an example of how healthy families interact.
  4. Plan events that foster family-to-family interaction. The greatest teacher for a child is their parent. Schedule outside church events (e.g. father-son fishing day, mother-daughter tea party, father-daughter date, family movie night, etc.) that allow for parent-to-child and family-to-family interaction. Not only will children have the opportunity to bond with their parents (which helps strengthen the family dynamics), but most importantly, children will have the opportunity to see a Christlike witness by their parents as they interact with other adults and children. 

Bottom Line: A healthy ministry not only seeks to minister to the child, but understands that it takes ministry to the whole family to help the child develop into a lifelong Spirit-empowered disciple. 

What approach can you begin to implement in your ministry to help families connect with other families?