SBTS announces new training model for family ministry

Communications Staff — February 13, 2009

The School of Leadership and Church Ministry at Southern Seminary has introduced a family ministry model that centers on equipping parents to biblically train their children.

Designed for future associate pastors, the new approach, called the Family Equipping Ministry Model, seeks to address a weakness in the ministry of many local churches, said Randy Stinson, dean of the School of Leadership.

‘One of our main concerns has been that over the last 20 years the discipleship of children and teenagers has not been as effective as it should be,’ he said. ‘One of the reasons that is true is because parents have either not been trained, not been held accountable, or both, to being the primary disciple-makers of their children.

‘The Family Equipping Ministry Model espouses a partnership between the home and the church where the church oversees and equips the members of their church, in particular parents, to disciple their children.’

Southern now offers a master of arts degree in family ministry as well a master of divinity with that emphasis. Students may also apply for a doctor of philosophy or doctor of ministry degree in family ministry. A doctor of ministry degree in family ministry is presently in development.

The School of Leadership, under Stinson’s leadership, developed an informal coalition with Family Life Ministries, led by Dennis Rainey, and several local churches to create the new family ministry model.

The Family Equipping Ministry Model operates with the following definition of family ministry: the process of intentionally and persistently realigning a congregation’s proclamation and practices so that parents — and especially fathers — are acknowledged, trained and held accountable as the persons primarily responsible for the discipleship of their children.

Stinson said the local church tested, and theologically grounded model differs from the Family-Integrated Church Model (FIC) that has become popular in some circles.

‘The FIC essentially does away with youth pastors and age-graded ministry,’ he said. ‘The Family Equipping Ministry Model, while advocating a restructuring of the various ministries of the church, utilizes various trained pastoral positions and does not do away with age-graded ministry.’

Stinson said an emphasis on family ministry is particularly valuable in view of the breakdown of the family in much of the contemporary culture.

‘As we train the next generation of associate staff members, we believe more in depth training in family ministry is going to be required in a culture that is pressing for the fragmentation of the family,’ he said. ‘We want to train people to bring the family together.’

For more information on the various family ministry degrees offered at Southern Seminary, call (502) 897-4813 or email kdavidson@sbts.edu.

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