Interview: 'Parents Need to Be Trained in Families'

A picture of a father praying with two children
A picture of a father praying with two children (photo:
By Thomas ZhangJune 24th, 2024

"In the context of family, it's not only children who need to be educated; parents are the group who should be trained as well." A minister with years of experience in family ministry discussed his insights into building faith-based families.

Every parent needs to be re-educated to establish a family view based on the truth.

Pastor F's church is located in the central district of a major city in East China. Due to its prime location and vibrant church atmosphere, a considerable number of young and middle-aged believers were attracted.

Pastor F, who has served as a leader in diverse fellowships and departments within the church, noted that over the years, whether among believers or pastoral staff, the most frequently discussed topics invariably revolve around family issues. He said these family crises often spill over, affecting both their spiritual lives and their service in the church.

"Many of the conflicts in families stem from individual value system issues, so guiding believers to establish correct family values is crucial," Pastor F explained.

In his view, a firm faith perspective helps build a comprehensive outlook on life, which in turn fosters a biblical view of marriage, ultimately contributing to a correct view of family. "Thus, we always aim to help believers strengthen the foundation of truth, starting at the conceptual level."

In 2008, with the collaborative efforts of Pastor F and several other ministers, a parent fellowship was established with the vision of "building families that align with God's will," dedicated to renewing family perspectives through truth.

Growth through learning and walking together in practice and fellowship  

To ensure broad coverage and long-term follow-up for believers, the fellowship adopts a method of "cultivating and enhancing through weekly lessons and communicating in small groups."

Moreover, to accommodate believers at different levels of faith, the fellowship intentionally downplays more obscure theological content in its curriculum and materials, opting instead for practical, faith-based family counseling resources. The courses are periodically adjusted based on different teaching cycles.

Pastor F believes that, compared to step-by-step and in-depth training courses for believers, family ministry courses should prioritize meeting family needs and helping believers practice the truth in various aspects of their family roles. "Each person's role in the family is not singular. We have prepared extensive course content tailored to different roles, making the learning process engaging."

Pastor F explained that currently, the parent fellowship is divided into 13 groups, each ranging from thirty to eighty members, with regular gatherings of around 300 people. There are 45 volunteers capable of leading the courses, more than half of whom have been with the fellowship since its inception in 2008.

He noted that most of these volunteers were once desperate individuals whose family relationships were on the brink of collapse. "Why can our group leaders explain the teachings to life well in the parent classes? Because each of them has personally experienced tears, struggles, and brokenness in the family and has ultimately triumphed through the Lord. Therefore, when they teach new parents about building families through truth, they are not merely conveying theoretical knowledge; they are imparting the living word, which can transform more families."

Allowing every family to truly experience the preciousness of love

Over the past fifteen years, Pastor F himself has grown significantly through leading the parent fellowship. "Family relationships may seem to be just about interactions among a few members, but in reality, they're far from simple. There is so much we need to learn."

"Families must be nurtured with love and managed with principles of truth, which family members are willing to follow," Pastor F said. "You have to live it out, not just talk about it. This is the mission God has placed us in our families to fulfill, although there are many challenges."

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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