Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Importance of Family Friendly Churches in the 21st Century

I am currently taking a sabbatical from ministry to work on writing a book and getting my health back to normal.

It is wonderful living in Kerrville. The last few months we have been checking out different churches to see what would benefit our family and needs. A couple of Sundays ago we went to one church where they had power point for their announcements and information for visitors as well. When we came in they gave us a copy of a program that explain what their church was about. In both the power point and information pack kept stressing to keep your children quiet during church and if you had to take out a crying baby or child that they could still hear it in their foyer - stressing that they didn't want children to go to the bathroom during worship.

Well our youngest son Quinn is potty training and when he needs to go, he needs to go. Our middle son Collin misbehaves sometimes where we have to take him out and he cries. Ethan our oldest that morning had stomach problems and he had to get up.

We of course left disappointed and mentioned how the church as not family friendly at all and that our boys needed a church and believers that would appreciate them, love them, and help them grow in the knowledge and grace of God.

This past Sunday we placed our membership at the Kerrville Church of Christ. It has many young families including classes and ministries for the children. Dr. Greg Cummings is the minister at the church. He does a fantastic job keeping the audience's attention and makes the word of God come to life in an applicable way.

It is a grace oriented church that loves and cares for those who attend, including the children. One of the things we enjoy is that they invite the children to come forward and one of the elders of the church gives them a short message and prays over them. Children's church follows immediately after the blessing. Children's church allows the younger kids to learn on their appropriate age levels and gives the parents the opportunity to sit and get fed by the sermons.

The Medina Children's home (children, house parents , single mother cottages and all the other staff) have also placed membership over the past month. The church has been experiencing baptisms weekly. It is wonderful to see such growth happening at this congregation. It is alive and viberant as God continues to bless it. It is a great place for us to develop relationships and grow in faith. It is wonderful getting fed for a while, yet they equip members for service by using their gifts and talents. We are excited to be a part of this body of Christ and getting involved in community groups.

So the questions I want to ask and discuss are as follows: Do you think it is important for a church to be family friendly? Why or why not? What happens to churches who are not family friendly? What happens to churches that are family friendly? Is your church family friendly? If so, what kind of growth have you seen in your church? Is it possible for a non-family friendly church to become a family friendly church? If so, how? What steps and attitudes should churches take to be more family friendly? Do you see the church of the 21st century becoming more family friendly? Are you at a family friendly church? How has being in a family friendly church helped you?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Milton Stanley said...

You're obviously a better man than I, Kinney. I would have been tempted to stay at the first church and let my boys annoy the unfriendly. Peace.

11:57 AM  
Blogger nAncY said...

sounds like you are settling in all right.

7:00 PM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

Churches that are not "family Friendly" we'll die. First, they will die in spirit for kids and young families are the life blood of a church. Eventually they will die because the folks who are left eventually, you know.

I've always believed kids who get up, babies who cry, and parents who try to come to church, keep their kids happy, and manage the insanity that goes with that stage of life signal that a church is alive.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Larry Bob Lane said...

Thanks for your thought Kinney. I have been pondering these questions. The Lords church needs children and parents. Watching children learn is how we must learn. What a wonderful thing it is to behold and hear the thoughts and actions of a child. We have a childrens service at our church. It is wonderful.

This day in time we need to reach out to families. Not wait for them to walk in the door.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Cheryl Russell said...

Yes, it's important, especially if you have a family. We enjoy a more relaxed, family-feeling in church where people feel free to be who they are. It's weird that we act so differently on Sunday mornings than we do any other day of the week. We ask our kids to behave completely different on Sundays, it's weird!

1:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Been through that town a long time ago.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Milly said...

without the family a church will die.

or at least some will sit hoping it will die.

12:51 PM  
Blogger keith said...

I think others are hinting at this, but I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: if a church is Christ-centered, it will be family- friendly.

Because He is.

The scary question that raises is, "What does that say about my church?"

11:09 PM  
Blogger Franklin Wood said...

absolutely churches should be family friendly! I think the story of Jesus and the little children should set the bar for us!
I am blessed to attend a very family-friendly church. it's not uncommon to see someone taking a child to Jr. Church who is NOT the child's parent (they're just helping!) We pass our baby around quite often during worship, too.
As a youth minister, I am fully convinced that for long-term discipleship, there is no better incubator than the family. We are doing a six-week series right now where the whole family is involved. We play together and pray together, and I hope it's teaching us to do the same in our homes.
Thanks for the post!

12:31 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I love your comment.
I laughed hard for a good five minutes. I really needed a great laugh today.

We are settling in well.
God is good.

I believe you are so true on thsat is churches aren't family friendly that they will die becase youth is the live blood if you would of the church. Excellent point. I always appreciate you adding to the discssions here on my blog.

Larry Bob Lane,
I want to thank you for your wonderful comments. I totally agree!

Wonderful words for us all.
My family just placed membership as I mentioned at a family friendly, sensative church that is grow like a wild fire. It is full of love, grace and forgiveness. Our boys even look forward to going to Bible class on Sunday mornings. Thank you sis for sharing your thoghts on this discssion. It is always good to hear what you have to say.

It is a wonderful town.
Great people and we are at a wonderful church whre are childen are learning and growing in their faith and knowledge and Jesus Christ. If you are ever in Kerrville again we would love to have you have to our house and worship with us.

You are so right sis.
As I mentioned without families the church will die and yes there are actually some who have an attitude where they hope and want it to die. Sad...:(

You are so right.
Amen brother.
Wasn't it Jesus who said, "Let the childen come to me. Unless you become like these you will not enter the kingdom of God." Wow profound statement about Jesus and the Kingdom.

You have one of the most blessed jobs in all of ministry. I totally agree with your first statement that it sets the bar for our youth ministries and ministries as well. When I was a youth minister for over 10 years my entire style and goal was to work and minister to the entire family. I stove to equip the parents on how to raise their children and help them as a family to grow in love, faith, hope in God. I wanted to equip the parents to minister to their children the rest of the week that we didn't have devotionals, Bible studies and other opportunities of group. I believe you are right on the money on what you state in your comment. The question I have for you brother is more congregations hiring youth ministers as men to strive to work with and minister to the entire family for ministry. Help them grow closer to each other and God. Or are churches hiring youth minister to be athletic cordinators and someone to be their buddies? Can you share your opinion with us if you have time brother? I think this is an important topic for chuches and how churches are family freindly churchesin this next century.


I would like to conclude by sharing my thoughts. Family friendly church are so important for the church to survive this next century. We must offer ministries to teens and children. We must teach teens and children the word of God on their level and hopfully inspiring a love, faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. We must equip parents (married, divorced, single, and other types) to how to raise their children in the Lord. We must quip them with seminars to help enrich their relationships. We must do what it takes to be Christ like especially when it comes to families.

God help us as believers, minister and pastors strive to help our churches become family friendly in any way possible. Amen!

Again thank everyone for your thoughts and comments.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...


Thanks so much for the kind words at Grace Digest. Unfortunately the book publisher asked that we not keep the post up until further notice. Ed emailed with an apology, he just misunderstood the time they wanted it advertised.

I'll let you know when I have it back up.


3:56 PM  
Blogger Franklin Wood said...

I DO think that SOME churches are finally understanding the necessity of youth AND family ministers.
however, MOST of our churches are stuck in the old youth minister/babysitter model. They grab college grads as soon as they come out of college and pay them as little as possible to keep their kids busy. They also think these kids are "too young" to offer older adults advice on raising kids, even though they've had training.
Having said that, I feel a sense of hope about the future of youth and fam. ministry in the Churches of Christ.

10:27 PM  
Blogger gensis5020 said...

The Cummings are a good and grace-filled family. Their son and daughter-in-law and grandkids attend with us in Sugar Land. I am glad you have blessed with a good spiritual family to support you and surround you.

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