Engaging Families

No matter who we are, what our age is, or where we are from, we are all part of a family. It is important to remember this as we plan strategies in disciple-making. Here are three ideas to use as discussion starters. These questions and activities will help your family, your team and your church plan for families in sports and play ministries.

This article is from the ReadySetGo Multiplication Team Book pg.262 ‘Engaging Families’ you can can download it here. ReadySetGo is a global sports movement – making disciples for Christ in all nations in the world of sport and play.

  1. Our own family needs to be discipled

God created and designed us to live in a household called ‘family’, where children are intentionally raised to follow Christ and care for others and themselves.

For parents of young children, there is no greater responsibility. Deuteronomy 6:4-17 helps us to understand that the family at home has the greatest influence on a young person growing up. A great active learning resource for families is 7 Ways for Families Guide and 7 Ways Family Times.

Spending time together as a family having fun, is also an important value to foster. Play is something young children do naturally, so playing sport and games together as a family is a natural tool for growing closer. This provides lots of opportunities for teachable moments to share your faith with your children.

  1. The local church is an extended family

The local church has a vital role to be family to one another. God is our Father and we are instructed by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:1-8 to treat each other as family.

  • What does your church do well as a family? What could be better?
  • How do your teams and partnerships reflect God’s model of family?

1 Timothy 5:3-8 continues on to talk about widows who were often vulnerable members of the church family at that time.

  • Who are the vulnerable people in your church or ministry organisation (e.g. children, the disabled, the mentally ill, the grieving, the sick, the aged, new believers)? What are you doing to care for their needs?

For those whose family are not believers, the church or the sports ministry team provides them with a family of God to belong to. So it’s important to be family to one another and for coaches to sometimes take the role of the Godly parent.

  1. How can our families be disciple-makers?

The church and families of faith also have a responsibility in partnership, to reach out and make disciples of families in their local area. The Bible tells stories of whole families coming to faith in Jesus. A good example is the story in Acts 16:16-32 of the jailer whose whole household put their faith in Jesus. Christ-centred families can work together to reach other families.

  • What is the benefit of whole families being empowered as disciple-makers?
  • What is your church doing to help empower families to become disciple-makers?

We strive to partner with other bodies of believers in our communities and cities for mission and disciple-making (Philippians 1:27).

  • Have you considered ministry to families in your community as you partner together?

FamilyGames is a great tool, being used all round the world by partnering organisations. Read more about the FamilyGames strategy here.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

  1. Reflect on our own families

For Parents:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your family?
  • What are you doing to intentionally disciple your own children?
  • Devise a list of ways your family can play together.
  • Pray for your family.

For Adult Children:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your family?
  • What can you do to honor God in your family more?
  • Devise a list of ways your family can play together.
  • Pray for your family.
  1. Small Groups: Explore your church as your extended family.
  • On a scale of 1-10 rate how your church is supporting its members as a Godly family. How can churches support heads of households?
  • Discuss the role of older, wiser parents and grandparents in your context.
  1. Look and listen and plan:
  • What are families like in your community?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their issues?
  • Use these observations to find ways to reach families outside the church family.
  1. Bible discovery

Look at these families from the Bible on these topics:

  • Developing genuine relationships: Jesus and His disciples – Luke 4:38-39; Luke 5:1-12; John 11
  • Building security and belonging: Naomi’s return – Ruth 4
  • Passing on values: Moses – Exodus 19:1-6;
  • Engaging in mission: Peter and John – Acts 3:1-10 and 4:13-22. Timothy and Paul – Acts 16:1-15.
  1. Workgroups

Bring together a group of your leaders who are passionate about family ministry.

Encourage them to develop ways for families to be discipled and to disciple their children.

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