Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples
by Timothy Paul Jones
For the life of me, I cannot remember how I was first exposed to the writings of Dr. Timothy
Paul Jones of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.1 Regardless, I’m very thankful to
have been made aware of a piece of this man’s role in Kingdom expansion.
A few years ago, I believed that I was being called to go back to seminary to pursue a more
family ministry focused degree. In that process of exploration, I somehow stumbled upon this
book. I’m not a fast reader, but I could not put this book down. About a year later, I signed up
to audit a class at the seminary I graduated from. When I saw the syllabus, I was overjoyed to
see that we would be working through this same book as a class. Not long after that, I
became a full-time student again, and have been assigned this exact book four different times by four different professors. Why is that important? It’s important because all of these different professors, from two different seminaries, thought this book valuable enough to assign it to us family ministry students, and I couldn’t agree more. Just recently, I was assigned this book again for what could be the final time. However, my old copy had barely anymore room for highlights or margin notes. So, I jumped on amazon to pick up another copy. While this book may be of primary interest to church staff members, I highly encourage Christian parents everywhere to read it. You will not regret the decision. Here are my top 5
quotes from this important book:
1. “The overwhelming majority of Christian parents are not actively engaged in any sort of
battle for their children’s souls. When it comes to the process of discipling their progeny,
most Christian parents—especially fathers—have abandoned the field.” (25)
2. “The kind of family ministry that I am envisioning is a movement toward equipping
Christian households to function as outposts of God’s mission in the world. Through
family ministry, families become contexts where Christian community is consistently
practiced with the goal of sharing the good news of God’s victory far beyond our
families.” (59)
3. “…I want God’s Word to be so deeply engraved in my family that those future generations
will not be able to escape its implications. I hope to start something in my family that I
cannot finish, because it will outlast my time on this earth.” (87)
4. “Family-equipping begins in the homes of the leaders in your ministry—in the pastors den,
at the deacon’s dining room table, in the youth minister’s car. You can’t lead a family
ministry with any degree of integrity unless you become a family minister in your own
household. Be before you do.” (138)
5. “If any family ministry fails to reach the spiritual orphans all around us, such ministry is not
family ministry at all; it is family idolatry. And the idolization of family is no less despicable
in God’s sight than the Asherah poles of Iron Age Israel or the pantheon of ancient Rome.”
(169) Choosing only five quotes was a difficult task. There are many more that I would have loved to
include. However, I joyfully recommend ordering a copy for yourself today.2
In a perfect world, I would recommend that every church staff and all key leaders in a given
church, work through this book slowly and carefully. Stopping all the time to compare each
chapter with their current experience and pray to see how God might use the material to see
a slow but seismic shift in the way parents and kids are ministered to. Although the family-
equipping model of family ministry is proposed in this book, it doesn’t advocate programatic/
pragmatic implementation as a cure for all the ills of a given church. No, we’re considering a
culture change for the health of the congregation when we examine the claims of this book.
I pray that this book will challenge and inspire you in the way in continues to do so in my life. I
pray that the application of its principles will contribute to the health of your family and your
church in a way that leads to lasting change.
Frank Trimble,
Director of Training and Consulting
Family Time Training