I work on a great team. Probably a dream situation. We call it the g-team short for “Generational Team.” The team is composed of 5 key ministry leaders: Adult Discipleship Pastor, Student Pastor, Children’s Pastor, Preschool Minister, and me. I give oversight to the team as Associate Pastor. After several years of development we are like minded. We all believe in the importance of linking church and family strategically for the spiritual formation of the next generation. We work together, helping people develop spiritually from infancy to senior adulthood. That’s what makes the path of legacy milestones work for us. We all agree family is an equal partner and should be equipped to lead the next generation spiritually. It did not start that way but after lots of study, debate, and strategic design, we are on the same page and we are seeing fruit!
Rob Marks, Fellowship Kids Pastor at Southside Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina asked a great question this week. “How do I help other leaders get a vision for doing this?” All of us minister in different contexts. Your situation is not just like mine. You might be the Children’s Pastor and the only one who even thinks about engaging family in the discipleship process. It may feel like a completely uphill battle for you. Whatever your situation, if you are not in the drivers seat of the strategic process, you will face some undeniable challenges but you can influence your church and families. Here are some ways to influence your culture to embrace the pattern of Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 28.
I am getting ready to use vocabulary assuming you have some understanding of the integrated strategy linking church and family called “Legacy Milestones.” If you need additional information on this model please visit http://www.legacymilestones.com.
1) Influence leaders you are naturally supposed to influence.
If you are a Kids Pastor or a Student Pastor you are a leader of leaders. You influence adults who lead your ministry. Some might be paid staff but most are likely volunteer. Begin with your people in the trenches. Feed them the vision of the Shema and brainstorm ways to involve parents in the Great Commission. Start in your ministry area and integrate church and home. If you are a Children’s Pastor, develop the common path of milestones 1-3. Even if every other ministry area in the church rejects the integration of church and home, you have helped your church make huge strides towards equipping the generations one home at a time.
2) Form healthy partnerships with other staff members.
Again, from the Children’s Pastor perspective. Build a positive relationship with your Student Pastor or leader. Show him the benefits of integrating church and home. Suggest that he or she look at the facts. Students grow up in the greatest student ministries in the world and leave the church at age 18. Why? Likely because their parents were not involved in their faith development other than to bring them to church. (All kinds of research out their to support that claim.) Show him the milestone path. Talk about a common path linking church and home for the effective spiritual formation of the next generation. If he implemented milestones 4-6 in the student ministry and you implemented 1-3 in the Kids ministry, you have basically developed a strategy to integrate church and home.) A Children’s Pastor and a Student Pastor partnering in the spiritual development of children can raise awareness and equip parents to have faith talks or family devotions, catch God Moments, and celebrate Legacy Milestones. What a partnership!
3) Build a bridge to your Lead Pastor.
Reach up to your lead pastor. Work hard to build a relationship with him. Show him the fruit of integration. Tell him stories of parents who are leading their children spiritually. Invite him to your next parent event or equipping opportunity. Have a real discussion with him about how the church should operate in light of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Matthew 28:18-20. Become his friend and allow him to trust you. If the Pastor embraces the idea of integrating church and home your church will become an equipping center building a path of legacy milestones into the generations.