Areas of Interest
The focus of Family Ministries is upon relationships. It is a ministry to the “and,” such as in husband and wife, parent and child. Thus this ministry concerns itself primarily with relational dynamics rather than the needs of individuals per se. The basic target areas of emphasis for the Department of Family Ministries are premarital guidance, strengthening marriage and parent education, with attention also given to extended families, single parenting, step-family needs, and the family needs of singles. The development of relational skills fostered by Family Ministries empowers young people, singles, and families and enriches relationships both within the home and within the church, the household of faith.
The curriculum framework upon which leadership and resource development are based includes eleven major areas: theological foundations, family and mission, families in society, marriage and family dynamics, interpersonal relationships, parent education and guidance, human growth and development, human sexuality, family ethics, family resource management, and family ministries programs and implementation.
Methodologies—Three broad categories define the approaches to ministry to families facilitated by the department: education, enrichment, and counseling.
- Education—Substantial revelation concerning the divine purpose for families has been given. Practical principles which govern family relationships are found in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy. In the preparation of resources for family life education, the department centers its research and study on these primary sources and seeks to integrate biblical principles with helpful understanding and methodologies from other compatible mental health, behavioral, and social science sources.
- Enrichment—The department prepares resources and develops leadership in enrichment activities—experiential programs for married couples, families and singles groups which enable participants to make relational gains together through sharing and interacting in various events and activities. Enrichment focuses directly on the family or group as a system in a process of enhancing relationships through better communication, deeper understanding, and an improved ability to resolve anger and conflict. In the absence of extended family, enrichment groups can function as a surrogate family. When enrichment activities are conducted among individuals who are part of the same local church, a spirit of community, support, and cooperation may be developed.
- Counseling—The crucial role and importance of the counseling profession in the lives of troubled families is recognized and appreciated. Many individuals and families are in such critical need as to require specialized work that is particularly tailored to assist them in resolving short or long-term personal or relational crises and difficulties. The department encourages the referral of such individuals and families to professionally qualified counselors wherever possible. While the training of counselors is not within the purview of the department, it is recognized that the content and process of leadership development provided by the department may be useful to pastors and others who may be called upon to counsel. However, the limitations of pastoral and lay counseling must be fully recognized and appropriate caution taken.