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Family Ministry

Hardback|Feb 1995
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SECOND EDITIONCharles M SellThe long-awaited revision of the standard textbook on effective Church ministry to families, which Sell argues is crucial to promoting Christian discipleship. 320 pages, from Zondervan.

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SECOND EDITIONCharles M SellThe long-awaited revision of the standard textbook on effective Church ministry to families, which Sell argues is crucial to promoting Christian discipleship. 320 pages, from Zondervan.

The success of the church's mission lies in large part with the well-being of its families. In Family Ministry, Charles Sell addresses the multiple means by which a congregation can create and sustain healthy family life. In survey after survey, people say that family takes priority, yet family ministries remain scarce in the church, and family disintegration is a significant problem even in evangelical congregations. Family Ministry offers the theoretical, theological, and practical resources for developing needed ministries. This edition reflects the changes that have taken place in both society and church since the first edition was published in 1981.

28 Chapters

  • Catalogue Code 72247
  • Product Code 0310429102
  • EAN 9780310429104
  • UPC 025986429102
  • Pages 384
  • Department Academic
  • Category Church
  • Sub-Category Church Life/issues
  • Publisher Zondervan
  • Publication Date Feb 1995
  • Sales Rank 28866
  • Dimensions 234 x 193 x 19mm
  • Weight 0.671kg

Charles M Sell

Charles M. Sell (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of Christian education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has written widely on topics related to education and development as well as marriage, family, and personal growth.

  • Contents
  • Preface
  • 1.introduction: Family Ministry Is Church Ministry
  • Part One:
  • The Family Of Family Ministry
  • 2.a Diverse And Aging Unit
  • 3.a Nuclear, Isolated, And Intimate Unit
  • 4.a Troubled Unit
  • 5.a Changing Unit
  • Part Two:
  • The Theology Of Family Ministry
  • 6.importance And Form Of Family
  • 7.commitment: The Family's Foundation
  • 8.external Duties Of Family
  • 9.expressive Features Of Marriage And Family
  • 10.marriage And Family As Complementing
  • Part Three:
  • The Theory Of Family Ministry
  • 11.the Subject Matter Of Family Ministry
  • 12.methodology Of Family Ministry
  • 13.persons Emphasized In Family Ministry
  • 14.some Overall Approaches
  • 15.a Family-like Church
  • Part Four:
  • Developing Family-like Relationships In The Church
  • 16.developing The Church As Family
  • 17.intergenerational And Family Unit Ministries
  • Part Five:
  • Marriage Education
  • 18.preparation For Marriage
  • 19.marriage Education Themes
  • 20.marriage Education Programs
  • Part Six:
  • Parent Education
  • 21.parent Education Principles
  • 22.a Parent Training Model
  • Parents For Spiritual Nurture In The Home
  • Part Seven:
  • Specialized Family Ministries
  • 24.educational Approaches Toward Dysfunctional Families
  • 25.developing Therapeutic And Support Ministries
  • 26.developing Ministries To Singles And Families In Transition
  • Part Eight:
  • Administration Of Family Ministry
  • 27.designing A Family-life Conference
  • 28.steps To Family Ministry
  • Conclusion
  • Scripture Index
  • Subject-name Index

A Diverse and Aging Unit DISAGREEMENT ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE FAMILY The introductory chapter began by claiming that the family is important to us. It ended by reporting that the family is in trouble. Why do Americans have so little success with what they prize so much? Part of the answer lies in what seems to be a large gap between what we say we value and what we actually practice. Consider the findings of a nationwide survey. According to this survey, Americans believe that the greatest threat to the family is the inability of parents to spend enough time with their children. Yet while most people surveyed believe they don't have enough time with their children, they also said they would not pass up a more lucrative or more prestigious job even if it meant more time away from home. In an attempt to explain the contradiction, the report said: 'Although Americans say they place a higher priority on family than on money, we should not expect to see them cutting back on their incomes to live in accord with their values. Attitudes and behavior often diverge at critical junctures, and this is one of those instances.'1 Sociologist Norval Glenn agrees, saying, 'The truth is that many if not most Americans will sacrifice traditional family ties for activities they claim are less important.'2 Surveys offer another answer to why family is important but in trouble. When asked, people give conflicting answers about the extent of problems in families. People judge other families worse off than their own. Fifty-nine percent predicated that America's family life will be 'only fair' or 'poor' in the year 1999. Only 5 percent guessed it would be 'excellent.' Yet, 71 percent of those who rated family life 'only fair,' claimed they were 'extremely satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with their own family life.3 Some believe this shows that families are better off than supposed, and that the public in general is swayed by the media's negative portrayal of American family life. Others say that people claim their own families are better off because they want to portray a positive image of themselves. Whatever the answer, it is clear that the vast majority of Americans think that the quality of family life in the U.S. is declining, and people have a dimmer view of marriage than they did twenty years ago.4 Yet 63 percent of Americans agree with the statement: 'The family is, by far, the greatest source of pleasure for Americans.' Only 8 percent said the same about religion, and 6 percent about work and friends.5 REASONS FOR CONFUSION AMONG EXPERTS Experts who look at the same statistics about the family often differ about its condition. Some disagree because they approach the topic of family from different theoretical perspectives. Certain theories cause researchers to be more pessimistic about the family than do others. For example, much of the current concern for family deterioration began with what is called 'The Chicago School.' Social scientists of this school hold to an 'interaction' framework. They focus on the type of interaction they see in families. When they studied city families in the first part of the twentieth century, those of this school compared these families with the extended family system in Europe. Immigrants to America, they found, were departing from the extended family system they left behind. A new family pattern had emerged. Instead of being held together by law, economics, and authority, family members began to be tied together by 'sentiment': ties of close relationships and loyalty. This, they said, amounted to a breakdown of the traditional family.6 On the other hand, sociologists who held to 'structural-functional' family theory were not so alarmed. They focused on how the family relates to other parts of society. That the family was losing some of its functions was no problem. They believed these functions were sufficiently shouldered by other institutions, like the school, community, or government. What family functions remained were critical for the well-being of individuals. The home still uniquely provided an intimate context for personal emotional development. They believed social change actually made the family a stronger, not weaker, institution. From this vantage point, J. Richard Udry optimistically compared the modern family to that of past centuries: 'In many ways the nuclear family has become more important as a social unit.'7 Some disagreement about family is due to the fact that it is such a political issue. In order to support their idea that the traditional family is still very much American, conservatives claim families are alive and well. Liberals, on the other hand, point to the weaknesses of the traditional family and insist that our idea of family has changed and should continue to do so. Sifting through expert opinion and social research, we can paint a fairly accurate picture of the modern family. Doing that is the first step in devising a theory of family ministry. While we may have some idea of what we would like families to be, we have to start with what they really are. And the very first characteristic is diversity. FAMILY FORMS ARE DIVERSE There doesn't seem to be any clear-cut, typical family. Diversity is in. Normal is different. What Americans thirty years ago thought of as the 'typical family' is no longer in the majority. Typical meant a family with a husband who was the provider, a wife who was the homemaker, and several children. In 1960, 60 percent of all households were like this8 ; now, only 7 percent are.9 Even if we add to these families with one or more children in which both the husband and wife work outside the home, this still adds up to only 26.7 percent of the households in the U.S.10 For the first time in the United States, the number of married couples without children living at home, 28.4 percent of households, exceeds the number with children at home. Many of these are 'empty nesters,' people whose children have moved out. Their numbers are increasing rapidly. The number of married-couple households headed by someone 45--64 years old is projected to grow by 40 percent this decade, to 19 million in 2000.11

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