The aim of the article is to reflect on the necessity for
family ministry in the church today, and to explore different models and methods for doing
it. This article must be understood against the backdrop of the challenges facing mainline
churches, of which the decline in numbers, the lack of support for programmes and initiatives
on behalf of families, and the apparent inability to minister effectively to young people, are
the most pressing. Since the early church there has been a close relationship between church
and home. Not only did rituals and liturgies spill from the gathered congregation into homes;
metaphors from family life also provided images and language to the early church. In the last
few decades there has been a rekindled interest in the home as the primary incubator for faith
formation. Several books, articles, organisations, programs, consultants and churches have
described their approach as ‘family ministry’. From a practical-theological viewpoint, there
must be a set of criteria by which these approaches could be evaluated. This article aims to
contribute in this regard, and to critique different approaches to family ministry.
This article is a revised version of aspects of the PhD thesis of Dr Thinus van Staden with Prof. Yolanda Dreyer as promoter.