Family Ministry

Family Ministry at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church, Tampa


Foundational Biblical Convictions for Family Ministry

1. Children are a blessing from the Lord.
This blessing comes with great responsibility because the Lord desires godly offspring (Mal 3:15; Gen 18:18-19).

2. The primary burden of this responsibility falls upon the parents’ shoulders.
(Deut 6:4-25) Parents are charged by God to raise their children in the knowledge, fear, and admonition of the Lord.

3. Both parents and their children are members of the covenant community.
God gives responsibilities to both parents and children (Gen 17:7, 27; Acts 2:38-39; 1 Cor 7:14).

Both the Old and New Covenants include children in the promises, practices, and public assemblies of the people of God (Ps 103:17-18; Acts 2:39; Deut 6:6-7; Matt 19:14; Neh 8:2; Eph 6:1).

4. The church has an obligation to instruct parents in the whole counsel of God.
A part of God’s instruction concerns their duties as parents (Eph 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:1-7). The church also has an obligation to disciple parents in their faith. This includes assisting them in the practical fulfillment of their pastoral duties.

5. The church also has an obligation to instruct children in the whole counsel of God.
A part of God’s instruction concerns their duties as children of the covenant (Eph 6:1-4; Prov 1:8).

The church has an obligation to disciple children in a way relevant and applicable to their age. The church must also assist them in the practical fulfillment of their duties.

6. Children are a biblically ordained subset within the body of Christ.
They have unique ministry needs which the Scriptures address (Titus 2:5-6).

It is important for the church to remember that children share in all of its rights and privileges. This fact should be appropriately reflected in the life of the church.

Since children are a part of the larger church body, they are dependent upon it. They should not be unduly separated from the rest of the body (1 Cor 12:23-27). Just like men and women are subsets with separate meetings, but are still part of the whole.

7. Children are descended from Adam yet redeemed in Christ.
They have the same fundamental sin problems and gospel solutions as any other member of the church. Furthermore, this redemption is applied to children in the same manner as it is to adults (Acts 2:41-42).

8. The church should cultivate a heart for non-Christian children
Non-Christian children in the broader community are a missiological people-group to which the church is called to spread the gospel (Matt 28:19-20).


What This Looks Like in Practice

A common concern expressed by parents is “my children do not seem to be getting anything out of our church services.” Children are squirming in the pew, coloring, and distracting those around them.

However, we must “live by faith, not by sight.” While it appears to us that our children are profiting little from church gatherings, there are two biblical truths that we must keep in view:

First, ordinary means grow children.
Worship, prayer, sacraments, and fellowship are the primary ways any Christian grows. We call these the “ordinary means of grace” (Acts 2:42).

The Bible shows us that these ordinary means are for everyone, not just adults. For example, children are always assumed to be present in public worship (Neh 8:2; Eph 6:1).

We must believe that God will be faithful to use these means to grow our children through them as he has promised to do.

Second, our goals are long term.
We must not be short-sighted in our evaluation of our children’s growth.

Biblically, the measuring rod of success is “trans-generational.” We do not get the report card on whether or not our ministry is “working” for our children, until we see whether or not they and their children after them continue in the faith (Ps 103:17).

Building solid Christians is a life-long project that cannot be measured by how well our children seem to be paying attention in a given service. More is caught than taught.

The long-term impact of children being involved in a covenant community where they see adults worshipping, praying, and studying the word cannot be underestimated.

At HTPC we firmly believe that this is the God-ordained pattern for bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We believe by faith that those brought up in this way will not depart from it when they are older (Prov 22:6).