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Note: If you have found this blog and don't know me, I am still tweaking the layout of the blog but would welcome any comments you have in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thoughts about Christmas

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I wanted to direct you to a few interesting posts about Christmas.

I've written about Christmas Traditions and generosity at The Clever Mom's site.

Nicole has some great posts about Christmas if you look through the Dec archives at her site 168 hours

Any others you'd like to suggest? Let me know in the comments...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

6 ways to nuture the marriages in your church

Yesterday I talked about the pressures that having children place on the marriages of young couples. Today I want to give some practical suggestions of ways you can minister to these families and in turn bring them into the life of the church (if they are not there already).

1. Run regular parenting seminars. Toolbox and Focus on the Family offer some great ones.

2. Run The Marriage Course regularly at your church.

3. Encourage formal and informal mentoring with older and younger married couples. My husband and I have an older couple in their 60s who we are friends with and look to as a great example of marriage. Even with both our parents being happily married after 29 and 36 years we really appreciate having a couple outside our families whom we can model ourselves off.

4. Encourage (suitable) members of your church to view babysitting as a ministry, giving parents the occasional night out together without the added cost of a babysitter.

5. See your ministry to kids as a ministry to the family. When you run socials see if you can schedule them so they give the parents a break, even if it's only for an hour or two.

6. Run a ministry to women at home with kids during the day. A Biblestudy that helps them connect with God's word and each other and to see how the two are connected is invaluable!

These are my "top 6" suggestions. What else do you do or want to suggest as ways to help nuture the marriages of young families in your church?

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Marriage and Children: How the church responds. Part 1.

I was reading Melbourne's Child the other day and found myself reading and article called the Parenting Paradox by Arthur C. Brooks when I came across this paragraph

The main way in which kids dent their parents' bliss appears to be the effect they have on marriage. Multiple studies show that the quality of a marriage, which is critically important for life satisfaction, falls precipitously low after the birth of a couple's first child. The lowest point for a marriage is - no surprise - when the children are adolescents. On the bright side, marriages tend to get better quickly after this point, and rise in quality all the way through to old age.


I was stunned to read this. Did you know this? My first thought was "What does it mean for the way we do ministry?" I have seen the truth of that paragraph but had never realised this was a normal phenomenon.

Let's think about the implications of this: Marriage is going well. Couple decide to have a baby. Quality of marriage falls "precipitously low" after the birth of the couples first child.

That's bad right? I thought so, until I read the next sentence. Marriages reach their lowest point when children are adolescents. There's a lot of time that's passing between a new baby and adolescence a lot of time where things maybe aren't picking up. Maybe, for lots of couples, things don't improve until their kids are all grown up and gone...and for many couples the marriage is well and truly over by then. We just have to look around any room we are in to see that reality.

If you haven't caught where I am going yet, this has major implications for the way we minister to families. If we want to share the message of love and grace with them then we also need to care for their practical needs (where have we heard that before?!)

In my experience as a Children & Families Minister and in my own experience as a new mum I have see the opportunities presented to share the gospel with other Mum's. The whole process of bringing life into the world and then watching these little children grow and dealing with their inquisitive nature seems to lead parents to want to find answers, answers to the questions their children bring forward - both in their very being and in the thing they say.

Churches can be there to address this spiritual questioning but in order to do this they NEED to be there to support and nuture families practically, helping them form good foundations for the marriage into the future.

How good a job do you think your church is doing at meeting this need? Stay tuned, we'll get practical tomorrow when I give you some of my suggestions.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The Ministry Matters blog was born when I read an article the impact children have on the quality of a couple's marriage. You can read more about it here. As someone with a new baby and having been involved in Children & Families Ministry for a few years I thought to myself "Does the church know this?"

Before having a child of my own I didn't really understand the impact parenting can have on a marriage, even a solid one, despite working with families for years and I felt this urgency to make sure this information was getting out. That the right people were getting the right information. Information that would help them think about the way they do ministry to be effective in the 21st century. So I began this blog. I share bits of relevant info that I find around the place, encouraging discussion about why and how we do things and sharing the 'tidbits' I find along the way.

This blog is exists for the Glory of God, the building up of His church and the sake of the Kingdom.