What does home and family-centered ministry look like?

In light of the conversation the other day surrounding a woman’s ability to minister, while keeping her priority on serving her family from within the home, I thought it would be valuable to explore this topic in a more practical way.

It’s easy to say that we should be serving and loving others through our homes and families, but it’s quite another thing to know how to do that (and yet another to actually do it!). Because it’s so easy to get philosophical and idealistic while blogging (and blog reading), let’s talk about what this can look like in everyday life.

This is a very challenging area for me, and I often feel so inadequate in the ways that I am reaching out to those around me. I hesitate to share any ideas from my own life because I long to grow in this way and to do so much more, as I learn to let the Gospel radiate through my life and my actions. However, these are a few ideas from our own family, of the types of things that we have done or would like to grow in doing:

  • build lasting, faithful relationships with the lost- especially those that lack other strong relationships (no family or broken relationships)- inviting them into our lives, homes, holiday celebrations, etc.
  • show kindness and generosity to those who are hurting, in need or going through difficult seasons of life (a meal, a gift certificate, a card of encouragment letting them know you are praying, bringing groceries, house cleaning, etc.)
  • support a ministry or missionary, and encourage your children to become involved, in writing letters, praying, sending a care package or gift, raising or saving money.
  • get to know your neighbors- establish friendships with them, invite them over, just enjoy them and time spent with them
  • open our homes to those needing a place to stay- a single mother, a visiting pastor or missionary, ESL or exchange students

Here’s what I would like to do… would you be willing to share the things that you and your family have done and are doing, to share the love of Christ with those around you? Let’s fill up the comments with your ideas for how we, as homemakers and mothers, can serve the poor and needy, befriend the lost, use our homes for hospitality, teach our children to serve, all the while keeping our focus on our God-given roles and responsibilities? I know that you have so many valuable things to share- I eagerly look forward to reading your comments!

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  1. I’ve found that one of the best ways I can serve others right now, especially neighbors and others nearby in need, is to help them out with childcare. This is especially true when someone is going through a time of change whether it be a move, new job, or a health situation. I know how helpful it is to me when others help me with the care my children. I’m happy when I get the chance to do the same for others.

  2. I’m enjoying the conversation on this topic at your blog and Lindsay’s blog. This is an important thing for me, and I am the fruit of family ministry in a lot of ways.

    My parents hosted a small group/bible study for many years, and one of the ways we contributed as a family was helping the other couples out with childcare. Kids certainly weren’t excluded from the meeting, but frankly it wasn’t as interesting 😉 so while the adults were discussing adult things, us older kids had fun teaching the younger kids a bible verse or simply just playing with them. We also helped our mom make snacks.

    As a family, we’d also put on concerts for nursing home residents, served at a homeless shelter, and helped my Dad as he pastored a church plant. I ran the children’s department for about a year and a half there. 🙂

    My mom and dad had a heart for service, and an attitude of it as well. And it was obvious. They also treated US that way…looking to serve or help or meet our needs. As they blessed us, we desired to bless them and bless others. 🙂 So, there was heart behind the hands. Service wasn’t borne of obligation, but of joy. 🙂 It was a natural outflow, a natural step, not a burden or even always a conscious thing.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s good to cultivate acts of service, but when you cultivate a HEART of service, the acts should follow naturally. 🙂

  3. Being a Navy wife I often times have Hubby invite the young single sailors with no family over for dinner and for holidays. I also like to bake for them and have hubby take it to work for no particular reason. When I see homeless people I try to give them whatever change I have and have even at times went and bought them food taken it back to them and asked if they need to make a phone call to call family or if I could make arrangments for them at a shelter. *Although my husband does not feel that this is safe for me and wants me to stop* I also try to pray for everyone that I hear of going through hard times and I pray for a way to help lift their spirits, or help them in some way. It took me and my husband a long time to realise that we can help others but not to the point of letting our own family down. We have I belive found a very happy medium.

  4. I have tried a few similar things over the years. I make cookies or muffins for the neighbors at Christmas, have hosted a small group, have been working on inviting new people for dinner. Because I stay home with the girls, we don’t have contact with a lot of lost people. I have found my husband’s coworkers to be my best ministry to the lost. I have made muffins to send with him to work and made meals for the ones who were sick or just had babies.

    I also host a girls night at Starbucks once a month on a Friday night after my girls are in bed. Sometimes all the girls are believers, sometimes not. The conversation is sometimes funny, sometimes serious. It’s a great opportunity to reach out and have those discussions we would never just call on the phone and have.

  5. I forgot one… I’ve made it my mission to start with family. My mother-in-law is not a believer so I’m using every opportunity to love her as well as I can. I e-mail pictures, answer the phone whenever she calls no matter what else I’m doing, have her for dinner, buy her gifts when I think of her, let her feel involved with the kids, etc. And I pray for her salvation daily.

  6. I was discussing this with my Oma some time ago. She is 79 and has served for a very long time. She reminded me that I have a lot of serving to do in my own home right now – my husband and 4 children. Then she said something that stuck with me… Do whatever the Lord puts in your path that you are able to do. For me this is translating into… helping a fellow church member who suffers from depression and has a hard time taking care of her family, making meals for those who could use them, bringing meals to an older neighbor, sending cards to members of my congregation who are ill, grieving or dealing with issues in their lives, inviting people into my home for a cup of coffee or supper. I’m not sure that someone who has small children at home has to go looking for opportunity to minister more. Do what God places in your path (on the other side of the coin, one mustn’t avoid opportunities to serve either) I find my plate very full with what I have. Anything else would take my focus off of the family that God has given me to raise, clothe, feed etc.

  7. Awesome post! This is a question I deal with a lot… we’re very active in our church and I wonder if I should be more careful about choosing ministries that don’t require so much time away from home and family…

    Thanks for the ideas and food for thought! 🙂

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