The Family

God's Design

Scripture defines family as follows:

"And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:22-24)

Based on the above Scripture, our primary definition of a true family is "one male and one female joined in marriage, with or without kids." We believe that children are an extension of the family, and welcome members of it, but they do not make a family.

This ministry has been created to strengthen families in the church and community by providing teaching, guidance, and support.

Reasons Why We Exist as a Ministry:

God is pro-family. Consider the following evidence:

Proof #1

It was God who established the family. God created Adam after He completed making the earth, sun, and animals. In Genesis God says, "It is not good for the man [Adam] to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him [Eve]." (Gen. 2:18 NASB)

Note three things:

1) This is the first time in the creation account that God says, "not good." He used this phrase when referring to Adam's aloneness.

2) Adam had a perfect relationship with God, the Father. But God still said it was "not good" that Adam should be alone.

3) God created Adam by divine choice, not by divine error. And he created him to need a significant relationship with someone other than himself. It was part of God's pre-created order.

4) As a result God created Eve. Therefore, the family was God's idea, not man's.

Proof #2

God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply on the earth.

God said in Genesis, "...Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the see and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Gen. 2:28 NASB). God established marriage and now establishes the parenting mandate. He later gives more detail in Deuteronomy 6:7. Today we believe that God still wants us to multiply families throughout the earth as evidenced by New Testament instructions regarding marriage and parenting.

Proof #3

God wants us to minister to the whole person, which includes all of their individual needs, especially starting with the family. The family is hurting, and Christ throughout scripture actively sought to relieve the pain and suffering of others (John 2:1-3, John 11:34-44, Mark 5:19, to name just a few).

Proof #4

Christ's disciples valued the family and ministered to it. Peter and Paul, writers of the Scriptures, admonished the church to reach the family (1 Peter 3, Eph. 5:22-6:4).

Proof #5

God chose the church to reveal Himself to mankind. God chose the concept of family relationships to communicate His relationship to us. For example, "Father" in its purest form, is how God describes His relationship with us, and He calls us His children. Jesus is referred to as God's only begotten "Son." The church is called the "Bride of Christ." And believers in Scripture are regarded as "brothers and sisters in Christ." The concept of family is well evidenced in the Bible.

Proof #6

The stability of the church, as well as society at large, is dependent upon the stability of the family. Look at 1 Timothy 3:4-5 and Ephesians 4:29-32. Charles Swindoll said, "Whatever else may be said about the home, it is the bottom line of the life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out. It is the place where life's bills come due, the single most influential force in our earthly existence. It is at home, among "family" members, that we come to terms with circumstances. It is here life makes up its mind (Rainey, 1996, 47). Even eldership qualifications are based, in part, on how the candidate manages his own home (1 Tim. 3:4-5).

An Assessment of Today's Families

The family today is in desperate need of help. Consider the following staggering statistics:

One out of every three children is born out of wedlock.

One out of every two marriages ends in divorce, including Christian marriages.

One out of every three pregnancies ends in abortion.

One million teenage girls became pregnant out of wedlock.

Five hundred thousand of those girls will abort their babies.

Of all the 14 Year Old girls alive today, 40 percent will become pregnant by their 19th birthday.

60 percent of all church-involved teenagers are sexually active.

Other statistics that impact the health of the family:

One out of every four students drop out of high school.

66 percent of American high school seniors have used illegal drugs (Farrar, 1990, 18).

We have 90 million functional illiterates in our society (Ralph Reed, Politically Incorrect, p.10).

In spite of these negative statistics, there is still much hope for the family because of God's Word and the church. God has answers if we search for them with a willing heart. The greatest place for families to be healed and brought to wholeness is in the church.

Charles Colson writes, "The family, the most basic unit of civilized society, is the institution that may well be under the greatest attack in society today. Unless we insist on counseling and training before marriage and then provide a full range of services to build and strengthen the family thereafter, the church cannot say it is making disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission" (Colson, 1992, page 289). The church can be the best place for families to find help.

As a ministry we adhere to the "Family Manifesto" published by Family Life Ministries. This manifesto can be found on their web site at www.Familylife.com.

Children and the family:

We do not advocate some of the popular theories about child rearing. Many of these theories are based on modern psychology and do not use the Word of God as their standard. We use materials and associate with ministries that are compatible with the above manifesto. Here are our guiding principles:

1) Good parenting does not require perfection.

2) Good parenting power is limited. Parents are responsible for their children's behavior, but their overall lifetime influence is limited.

3) Good parenting is good relating. A parent must provide a warm, caring atmosphere in the home. It is important for the parent to balance love and discipline. Dare to Discipline by James Dobson explains this concept more fully.

4) Good parenting strives to produce a healthy self-concept. We need to teach children who they are before God: valuable, but in need of Christ. Teaching children who God is, what He has done for them, and who they are in Christ, will motivate them to live according to God's truth.

5) Good parenting strives to produce self-discipline.

6) Good parenting instills a love for virtue.

7) Good parenting develops sensitivity to others.

8) Good parenting is not child-centered. Godly parenting involves helping children to understand that they are part of a family team, not the center of the universe. Family should strive towards activities that foster interdependence rather than independence.

9) Good parenting means the parents love each other.

10) Good parenting includes parental authority. While growing up, a child is to be taught to obey his parents the first time. This parental authority is to be exercised within the loving constraints of the Bible, expressed through kindness.

11) Good parenting utilizes discipline.

12) Good parenting requires, when possible, both parents.

13) Good parenting considers the temperament and personality of the child.

14) Good parenting includes understanding man's depravity, and works to remove foolishness that is bound up in the heart of a child.

15) Good parenting brings the child to the standard of God's Word.

16) Good parenting requires character development.

17) Good parenting starts early, even before the birth of children.

(Many of the above principles come from the book Family Ministry by Dr. Charles Sell).

Parenting Tips from the web site of Christian Marriage and Family:

Love their mother/father.

Pray for your family every day.

Begin at birth saying bedtime prayers with your children

Read to your children Bible stories from the Bible and from children's story books.

Exercise patience with your children.

Always build confidence in your children by encouraging them to do their best

Do everything possible to have Mom stay at home.

Monitor your children diligently: what they watch, what they do, and where they go.

Give your children responsibility early in life and build on it.

Keep order in the home. Your children need to know Mom and Dad are in charge.

Love your children unceasingly. Hug your kids a lot.

Spend time enjoying your children.

Put humor in your home. Laugh often.

Study your children. Know them: their desires, love language, and talents.

Keep your marriage together.

Take your kids to church and get them involved in youth activities.

Tell your children you are sorry when you fail.

Discipline your children when they need it.

Tell your kids, "I love you" a lot.


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