An effective coordinator will develop and nurture a ministry for all types of families, striving to guide, nurture, and support all people as they grow as Christian disciples. The coordinator must pay attention to family circumstance, understand the home as a setting for spiritual formation, and provide relevant and intentional ministry for all families through the church and in the community. All ministry must address basic human needs as well as provide opportunities for faith formation, service, and witness. The family ministry coordinator will work to provide family members opportunities to grow in their relationship with God and respond to that relationship faithfully in the church and the world.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- This ministry coordinator benefits from having one or more of these spiritual gifts: servanthood, teaching, exhortation (encouragement), leadership, administration, helping, and shepherding. This leader should show evidence of passion for family ministry, prior effective ministry leadership, and active and growing discipleship.
- Useful skills for this position are strong communication skills, the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages, and the ability to work with other ministry leaders, the ability to delegate responsibility and follow up to complete tasks. Knowledge and respect for The United Methodist Church and its history, doctrine, and theology, is also important.
- This leader should show genuine interest in responding to the hopes and concerns of all families in the community so that all family units (single and multiple people) are affirmed and ministry is launched for transformation of the community.
Responsibilities of the Position
- The coordinator will maintain a healthy and growing spiritual life and will lead other teachers and leaders to do the same.
- The coordinator of family ministry will be attentive to the hopes, concerns, and needs of families of all configurations in the community to determine how the congregation might serve them and how they might serve one another as Christian disciples and good neighbors.
- The coordinator needs to be familiar with the congregation’s overall goals and how they are achieved through the congregation’s ministry with families.
- This leader will encourage extending the goals of the congregation to include all types of families.
- The coordinator will be an advocate for all kinds of families, educating the congregation and community about the forms of family life in the twenty-first century, and encouraging families with resources for Christian living.
- This leader will work with others to plan and carry out ministry with families in a varied and wide-ranging program that includes worship, study, fellowship, service opportunities, and so forth.
- The coordinator will build networks with community organizations and people to connect the congregation with the community for a strong program. The coordinator will look for new ministry opportunities.
- The coordinator will guide the work of the family council (if organized) throughout the year, including planning its agendas and presiding at its meetings.
- The coordinator will work with other leaders to learn about curriculum and other resources available for families in order to help people select appropriate resources for study and growth.
- The coordinator will encourage other ministry leaders of the congregation to understand and make all ministries applicable and relevant to varying types of family units.
- The coordinator is accountable to the charge conference through the church council.
- Do some research about what’s currently available. It is not necessary to duplicate or copy other programs, but seek to identify gaps where your congregation can lead the way in making a positive difference in the lives of families. What’s going on in your community? What’s going on in your congregation?
- Ask your senior pastor and members of the staff/pastor-parish relationship committee for names of people who will be able to help you get a deeper understanding of the church and the congregation (history, current ministries, vision, and mission).
- Study Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Family Ministries and the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2016 to understand the depth and breadth of your job.
- Convene the family council (if organized) to evaluate, share hopes and concerns, and plan for your work. If the council is not organized, ask a group of interested youth and adults to help you plan. (Make sure you invite people who are diverse in age, race and ethnicity, gender, and life experience.)
- Plan the year’s ministries together. Delegate projects to the people on your committee and others in your church and community who have the gifts for the work you are doing. Share each ministry with your church and community and invite them to participate.
- After each ministry opportunity, take time to ask for feedback and work with your committee to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the ministry. Decide next steps together and begin the planning process again.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor, active laypeople in your congregation, people who live in your community, and district and conference family ministry coordinators. As you travel, visit other congregations to observe roles and ministries of families.
- Melanie Gordon (children), mgordon@UMCdiscipleship.org; Scott Hughes (adult ministries), shughes@UMCdiscipleship.org; Will Randolph (older-adult ministry) wrandolph@UMCdiscipleship.org; and Division on Ministries with Young People (www.umcyoungpeople.org), Discipleship Ministries, P.O. Box 340003, Nashville, TN; www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/intergenerational-family-ministries
- InfoServ, the information service for the church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
Web and Print Resources
- At Home with God: Family Devotions for the School Year by Marilyn Brown Oden, Anne Broyles, Sue Downing, Paul Escamilla and Elizabeth Lynd Escamilla (available from Amazon.com)
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016 (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016)
- Charting a Course of Discipleship, revised edition by Teresa Gilbert, Patty Johansen, and Jay Regennitter; revised by Delia Halverson (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2012)
- Christian Home Month Manual (free annual resource for celebrating Christian Home Month in May)
- Designing an Older Adult Ministry by Richard H. Gentzler, Jr. (Nashville, Discipleship Resources)
- Everyday Disciples: Covenant Discipleship with Youth by Chris Wilterdink (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2016)
- Family the Forming Center: A Vision for the Role of Family in Spiritual Formation by Marjorie J. Thompson (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 1997)
- Forgiving Your Family: A Journey to Healing by Kathleen Fischer (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2005)
- Growing Compassionate Kids: Helping Kids See Beyond Their Backyard by Jan Johnson (Upper Room Books, 2000)
- Growing Everyday Disciples: Covenant Discipleship with Children by Melanie C. Gordon, Susan Groseclose, and Gayle Quay (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2016)
- Growing Love in Christian Marriage: Couples’ Manual by Joan and Richard Hunt (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2013)
- Growing Love in Christian Marriage: Pastor’s Manual by Jane P. Ives and S. Clifton Ives (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2013)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Family Ministries (also Children’s Ministries, Ministries with Young People, and Adult Ministries) [Cokesbury, 2016]
- Including Children in Worship: A Planning Guide for a Congregation by Elizabeth Sandell (Augsburg Fortress, 1991)
- Intergenerational and Family Ministries, Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/intergenerational-family-ministries
- Interpreter, www.interpretermagazine.org
- Korean Family Devotions by Andrew Sungho Park, Brandon Cho, Kyungsig Samuel Lee, and Heisik Oh (Upper Room Books, 1995)
- Mission Trips That Matter by Don C. Richter (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2008)
- Parents and Grandparents as Spiritual Guides by Betty Shannon Cloyd (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2000)
- Passing It On: How to Nurture Your Children’s Faith Season by Season by Kara Lassen Oliver (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2015)
- Safe Sanctuaries®, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/safe-sanctuaries
- Safe Sanctuaries in a Virtual World by Joy Thornburg and Michelle L. Foster (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2014)
- Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between by Jenny Youngman (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2015)
- UMC Intergenerational Ministries Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/groups/umcigministry
- Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teens by Dorothy Bass and Don Richter (Upper Room Books, 2002)