Every church can benefit from starting a ministry to strengthen and support the many variations of families within their congregation. Here are some simple guidelines to help you get started.
1. Know your congregation and its needs. Surveys are often helpful; but if used, make sure every member receives one. Family Life Ministries is not only for married persons with children, it also includes singles, elderly, young people, children, women and men.
2. Know your community and its needs. Family Life Ministry can be an effective outreach tool. Invite the community to programs such as "Parenting Teens," "Drug Prevention Education," or "Cooking for a Healthy Family."
3. Be willing to start small. As people are blessed, others will also wish to be involved.
4. Form a committee that will brainstorm new ministry ideas and will also be willing to divide up the work.
5. Find effective speakers by listening to what other churches do. If it's uncomfortable for some of your members to have a non-Adventist speaker, have a question and answer time after the presentation when you or your pastor can help answer questions or dialog with the speaker.
6. Nothing takes the place of personal invitations. Be willing to provide transportation, child care, or anything that will make your programs available to all who feel the need. Make your meeting rooms attractive. Make your bulletin announcements attractive and well worded. Show you care.
Halcyon Wilson is a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Southeastern California.