The Seven Core Values of HPUMC: Family
As HPUMC Families continues to develop, we look forward operating under a comprehensive vision and strategy for ministry to the family as a whole. HPUMC is excited to be in partnership with the families of this community to help whole families become disciples of Jesus Christ, together.
As HPUMC prepares to move into our second century of ministry, we celebrate a long and vibrant history of ministering to the next generation.
Consider these statistics:
- Our D6 Family Ministry serves 850 kids each week and this year 950 children and 750 volunteers attended Vacation Bible School, a record for HPUMC!
- Over 260 students are currently going through Confirmation at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
- A record 400 middle and high schools students went on mission trips this summer!
As we head into this second century of ministry, we do so under a new model for ministry to families. Under construction is a new, comprehensive vision and strategy for HPUMC’s ministry to infants through high school students and their families! The details are being worked out by HPUMC church members and staff and will be rolled out for the 2015-2016 school year. Here are a few core beliefs that are guiding this process and get to the heart of what HPUMC means by Family Ministries.
The Family is God’s Plan A for Disciple Making
This is pretty simple: God’s Plan A for making disciples is the family. Granted, God often relies upon Plan B (in the form of mentors, friends, youth counselors, etc.) to make disciples, but Plan A is clearly the family - see Deuteronomy 6.
D6 Families, Confirmation, and HPUMC Youth play vital roles in the spiritual development of the next generation, but ideally we are a support staff! The key word is partnership, we want to be a church that is in partnership with the family.
One of the aspects of this partnership that I am, personally, most excited about, is the identification of 7 key components. Task forces are meeting right now to develop plans for how to teach each component with each age level, as well as how to equip parents to teach the component at home. For example: How we do talk to a first grader about the bible? At what age do we begin encouraging kids to read their bible on their own? How are we training high schoolers so that they’ll continue reading from the scripture in the 13th grade? How do we equip parents to help them make the scripture central to their family life?
We cannot make a child grow up to be disciple, but...
It took me about a week and a half as a dad to have my first pre-parent assumption shattered. I cannot, I realized at 2:08 in the morning, make this kid fall asleep. As I wandered around our house with him in my arms - in and out of rooms and up and down the hall - I began to wonder, will I ever be able to make him do anything? Probably not, I thought.
What was true, however, was that Amy and I could create an environment that made sleep more likely to happen. We could swaddle him and rock him, turn the lights off and the sound machine on, rub his back...you get the idea. We couldn’t make him fall asleep, but we could create an environment where sleep was more likely to happen.
I think the same is true for discipleship. We cannot make a child grow up to be a disciple of Jesus, but we can create an environment where discipleship is more likely to happen. Our new strategy for Family Ministries revolves around creating environments that foster discipleship. Specifically, we envision the church and the home partnering together to create three kinds of environments:
- A Family that Practices the Faith Together
- A Trustworthy Community of Family and Friends
- A Church the Whole Family Can Love.
PS - these three environments are based on Luke 2 and the environments that produced Jesus. So...they’re pretty difficult to argue with.
We can only lead someone in a direction that we ourselves are going
Paul often reminds the staff of a simple expectation that he has of us: if a guest to the church asks where something is in the building, we should not direct them to their intended destination, we lead them there. A director tells us what to do, a leader shows us what to do.
Children and teenagers need directing when we cannot lead them ourselves, such as: towards a baseball coach, piano teacher, or math tutor, when we ourselves are not experts in the given subject.
"When it comes to discipleship, children and teenagers do not need adults to direct them, they need adults to lead them."
When it comes to discipleship, children and teenagers do not need adults to direct them, they need adults to lead them. HPUMC has long had an emphasis on both helping parents to grow spiritually and on providing strong mentors for the next generation. As we partner with parents, HPUMC will continue to provide opportunities for adults to grow in Christ, as well as equip selected and trained adult volunteers to be in ministry with our children and teens.
It’s an exciting time for the families of our community. The beginning of our second century promises to see D6 Families, Confirmation, and HPUMC Youth continue their long tradition of ministry to the next generation. As HPUMC Families continues to develop, we look forward to operating under a comprehensive vision and strategy for ministry to the family as a whole. HPUMC is excited to be in partnership with the families of this community to help whole families become disciples of Jesus Christ, together.
Author: Rev. Matt Tuggle
Category: Family Ministry
HPUMC Family Ministry
Partnering with parents to help raise children and youth to be deeply devoted followers of Jesus.