Scripture affirms the importance of the family and outlines the divine principles which govern family relationships. At creation, God instituted marriage—and with it the family (Gen 2: 18-25)—as God’s primary setting for human development and nurturance. When Christ redeemed all human experience from the curse of sin, He redeemed marriage and family relationships. He calls family members to relate in ways that befit those who have responded to the gospel (Eph 5:21-6:4). Because the family is the primary place where the capacity for love and for intimacy with God and with other human beings is developed and where Christian values are passed from one generation to the next, the family is central to the disciplemaking process (John 8:31, 13:35). As Scripture magnifies last day events, the spotlight again falls upon the family. The Bible predicts that before the great day of the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, God will give a final call to this generation, turning hearts to Himself and family members toward one another (Malachi 4:5,6).
Ellen G White held strong convictions regarding the importance of families and ministry to them. “There is no more important field of effort than that committed to the founders and guardians of the home” (The Ministry of Healing, p 351). “Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home. . . .By many this home field has been shamefully neglected and it is time that divine resources and remedies were presented, that this state of evil may be corrected” (Testimonies for the Church, vol 6, pp 429, 430).
The Department of Family Ministries recognizes the significance of family in the lives of believers and nonbelievers alike. It endeavors to strengthen the home as a disciplemaking center where family members through their interpersonal relationships are encouraged in their relationship with Jesus Christ and His church, and where the relational skills necessary for winsome witness are developed. The department endeavors to keep in perspective both God’s ideals for family living and an understanding of the brokenness experienced by individuals and families in a fallen world. Thus Family Ministries calls individuals, married couples and parents to stretch toward divine ideals, while at the same time extending the redemptive, healing ministry of Christ. Efforts on behalf of families are held to be urgent, vital, and integral to the message and mission of the Church.