Continuing the interview questions:
4. Now, because you mentioned “growing family ministry...” I am assuming at one point you had either introduced changes or introduced this as a new ministry. How receptive/What were the responses/What encouragements & challenges did you face from the families being targeted?
FJIF has been slowly emerging into the congregation so that we did not shock people. I think most of our parents do very little in terms of at home activities to pass faith onto their children choosing to focus instead on music, sports and educational activities. So, we had done about 5 take it home events before the start of this school year, when we started with doing 9 of them for the school year. The leadership is semi-on board (at least as long as I can get my other CM duties completed) so there is still a changing process I am trying to take them through as well.
In terms of the families, we have actually had good response based on comments and comment cards. We have been able to give numerous resources to parents of kids ages 1 through 5th Grade that are aimed at encouraging spiritual formation in the home. We have had a few instances where parents refused to attend the event, even though their child was there. One such parent said (last year some time), "I think it's important for me to listen to Pastor Phil's sermon" (our Senior Pastor). By growing I mainly meant areas that I would like and plan to expand to in the future: Family Mission Trip, Take-It-Home events for Junior Highers and Senior Highers, Parenting weekend focused on at home spiritual formation, etc. Again, the normal duties of CM take up most of my time, so I have to focus on these as time allows.
5. Can you explain the Children’s Ministry programs and whether it is separate from the Family Journey in Faith or if it supports it (or vice versa)?
Let me see if I can lay out our CM programming:
Sunday 1st Service: More traditional Sunday school classes from 9:00 - 10:15 AM
Sunday 2nd Service: Called Children's Church, Pre-school is still rather traditional, but 2nd - 5th Grade is LG/SG using Elevate! curr.
Sunday PM: Pioneer Club Bible program for 2 year olds through 5th Graders.
Tuesday AM: 1 1/2 hour program for 3 year olds through Kindergartners. There is also basic childcare for younger kids during a Woman's Bible Study.
Wednesday PM: Using 2:52 Basics virtue based curr. in a LG/SG format. We also have a bussing ministry that brings in about 30-40 more urban, non Christian kids.
Saturday PM: CM for Birth - 5th Graders during a contemporary worship service (called 'Venue'). Run three rooms: Nursery-2, 3 through Kindergarten (traditional programming), and 1st - 5th Grade Large group program organized and run by me.
Special Events: Numerous SE programs - VBS, Pinewood Derby, Tea for Two, Spring and Christmas Musicals, Nursery during adult musicals, Seder Supper for kids on Maundy Thursday...I think that's about it.
It is separate from FJIF, but since I oversee both areas I try and make the CM decisions support the overall vision of partnering with parents. I also hammer to the volunteers this idea as well. I am not a fan of adding another silo to the ministry, but at this point it has to be that way if I want any Family ministry stuff at all. Hopefully, eventually, we can better intersect these areas of ministry to include families, Children's ministry, and youth ministry.
6. And just a side question, why did you decide to use a blog, facebook, and twitter in your ministry and how effective have these online social network connections been in your ministry? I have seen pastors/leaders on both sides of the spectrum of using these online connections in ministry.
When I moved from Colorado to Michigan I felt a need to up my level of ministry using technology both personally and for the church in order to better reach the kids and volunteers in this digital age. So I started a blog as a way to connect with the volunteers for training, encouragement and information sharing. I also got on facebook first just for personal relationships, but have since found it useful for recruiting, networking with other CM directors, and building bridges into the lives of people from church. Twitter is really just for networking with other CM directors but also to draw traffic to the blog (and it really works!).