Departments

Adventist Family Ministries

Our Objectives | What It is | Our Responsibilities | Our Theology | Website


The over-arching objective of Adventist Family Ministries is to strengthen the family as a discipling center. The family was established by divine creation as the fundamental human institution. It is the primary setting in which values are learned and the capacity for close relationships with God and with other human beings is developed.

Adventist Family Ministries is a ministry of grace which acknowledges as normative the biblical teachings relating to the family and holds high God’s ideals for family living. At the same time, it brings an understanding of the brokenness experienced by individuals and families in a fallen world. Thus, Adventist Family Ministries seeks to enable families to stretch toward divine ideals, while at the same time ever extending the good news of God’s saving grace and the promise of growth possible through the indwelling Spirit.

Adventist Family Ministries focuses on people in relationship. It is a ministry that provides tools for couples, parents and children, single adults, and all members of the wider family circle as they pass through life’s predictable stages and confront unexpected changes in their lives.

Our Objectives

  1. To proclaim the reviving and restorative message of the everlasting gospel within the context of family living. Christ is and must be acknowledged as the Savior and Head of every home. In Him, family members are at peace with God and at peace with each other. As they are drawn near to Him they are drawn nearer to each other, in love, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and renewal.
  2. To affirm and strengthen every Seventh-day Adventist family as a primary discipling unit. Adventist Family Ministries seeks to deepen understanding of the relational dimension of being and making disciples and to strengthen family members as disciple-makers within the family. A married couple is viewed as the primary unit of the family. The department seeks to provide couples and families with access to educational, enrichment, and counseling opportunities to enhance the development of the relational skills necessary for the effective discipling of one another and growth toward optimal Christian marriage, parent-child and extended family relationships.
  3. To enable parents and families to increase the likelihood of successful transference of Seventh-day Adventist Christian values to the next generation. Adventist Family Ministries develops materials and provides learning opportunities within church and family settings designed to enable parents to make biblical values winsome to their children and youth. The department encourages an atmosphere within homes and churches which promotes questions and on-going discussion regarding Christian values and tenets of faith among parents and children, young and old, leaders and members in an effort to foster the development of mature faith.
  4. To create a “family of God” experience in every Seventh-day Adventist church. Adventist Family Ministries fosters an atmosphere which respects and celebrates diversity within congregations and within the World Church, recognizing that unity is not found in uniformity, but in Christ, the Head of the body. Through a shared commitment to a common message and mission and a reciprocal openness, honesty, and vulnerability in relationships with one another, the oneness we have found in Christ may become a reality in experience.
  5. To empower families for winsome witness. Beyond the priority placed on the home as the most important mission field, Adventist Family Ministries helps families to discover and utilize their spiritual gifts in the community around them. The department encourages and enables families to relate in winsome ways with nonbelieving family members, to befriend their neighbors, to share the good news of life in Christ, and to support, through their prayers, offerings, and service, the mission outreach of the church.

WHAT ADVENTIST FAMILY MINISTRIES IS

dventist Family Ministries reinforces and encourages wholesome families. It helps individuals build and maintain strong family relationships because it recognizes that healthy Christian families make strong members for the kingdom of God and present a winsome witness to the community around them. Adventist Family Ministries promotes understanding, acceptance, and love within the family and in the larger family of God and fosters the reconciliation and healing between the generations promised in the Elijah message of Malachi 4:56. It extends hope and support to those who have been injured and hurt by abuse, family dysfunction, and broken relationships. Adventist Family Ministries fosters competence in a variety of interpersonal skills needed in relationships. It provides growth opportunities through family life education and enrichment. It encourages individuals, married couples, and families to avail themselves of professional counseling when necessary.

An adequate ministry to families will include: premarital guidance available to all couples before marriage; marriage strengthening opportunities; parent education, with attention given to the special needs of single parents and step-families; instruction in family to family evangelism; and support ministries to help families with special needs.

Our Responsibilities

Focusing on people in family relationships, Adventist Family Ministries reinforces and encourages wholesome families as they pass through life’s predictable stages and contend with unexpected changes in their lives. It extends hope and support to those who have been injured and hurt by abuse, family dysfunction, and broken relationships. The department provides growth opportunities through family life education and enrichment and encourages individuals, married couples, and families to avail themselves of professional counseling when necessary.

Specific tasks include preparation of resources and leadership development to equip pastors and lay leaders to offer services to the community in the areas of premarital guidance, strengthening marriage, and parent education, with attention also given to extended families, single parenting, step-families and the family needs of singles.

ADVENTIST FAMILY MINISTRIES RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. View Adventist Family Ministries from a world perspective, staying informed regarding changing family demographics and continually assessing the widely varied needs of families and the family needs of singles.
  2. Develop and maintain a significant level of expertise in the various content areas within the Adventist Family Ministries leadership training curriculum.
  3. Prepare and distribute core materials related to the Adventist Family Ministries curriculum which are suitable for adaptation throughout the world field.
  4. Monitor and evaluate Adventist Family Ministries materials and resources adapted or developed in the world divisions, and coordinate an appropriate sharing of these resources among divisions.
  5. Keep current with regard to trends and methods in family life education, enrichment and counseling and maintain significant levels of knowledge and expertise especially in the primary methodologies of family life education and enrichment.
  6. Develop and maintain relationships with Adventist family professionals and, where possible, form liaisons with non-Adventist family professionals and organizations.
  7. Working primarily with the divisions and with unions by request of the divisions, they will provide consultation, training and resourcing for Adventist Family Ministries personnel worldwide.
  8. Serve as advisors and consultants for General Conference administration and other departments on family matters.

Our Theology

Several major assumptions drawn from biblical study and theological reflection undergird Adventist Family Ministries.

THEOLOGY OF ADVENTIST FAMILY MINISTRIES

  1. God is a relational being who has made human beings for relationships (Gen. 1:26-282:18Eph. 1:4-6Rev. 4:11). God often reveals Himself to us in family terms. From Him we learn of marriage (Is. 54:5) and the parent-child relationship (Deut. 1:31John 20:17).
  2. The family was instituted by the Creator as His primary setting for human development and nurturance (Gen. 2:18-25Ps. 68:56). Since family is the primary place where the capacity for love and intimacy with God and other human beings is developed and where spiritual values are transmitted across generations, it is central to the disciple making process.
  3. The image of God is expressed in human beings as male and female. The Creator’s act of bringing the two together as equals in a monogamous, heterosexual union established the pattern for marriage. This union provides for companionship, fulfillment and the perpetuation of the human family (Gen. 1:26-282:1821-25). The relationship of the sexes in marriage has been distorted by sin (Gen. 3:16), but redeemed by Christ (Matt. 20:2627Eph. 5:21-31). Christ makes a difference in the marriage of Christians. A mutuality prevails that restores the Edenic ideal. Husbands and wives are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).
  4. Despite the high biblical ideals for marriage and the divine power that is available to enable marital commitment to endure, some individuals will not survive in marriage. Some will commit adultery in taking another partner (Mark 10:1112). Despite the heartbreak, loss, disruption and long term consequences of divorce, within the context of redemption divorce and marriage to another that may follow are not viewed as unpardonable sins beyond which there is no spiritual life and fellowship. Through repentance, confession, and the appropriate bearing of responsibility, grace can bring assurance of pardon, healing and new beginnings (1 John 1:92:1).
  5. While marriage is God’s general plan, singleness is within the divine design as well. It may be in the best interest of certain individual Christians to live singly (1 Cor. 7:7). God’s special acceptance and protection are over those who by choice or circumstances face life alone (Ps. 68:56Jas. 1:27). Friendship is a source of intimacy and of experiencing family. The fellowship of the Church, the household of God, is available to all regardless of their married state (1 John 1:3).
  6. Sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-6). Expression outside of marriage is contrary to the divine purpose (Gen. 2:24Prov. 5:1-181 Cor. 6:1516). Sexuality serves a unitive function in marriage which is distinguishable from the procreative function. Joy, pleasure and delight are intended for married sexuality (Ecc. 9:9Prov. 5:1819Song of Songs 4:16-5:1). God intends that couples have on-going sexual communion apart from that utilized for procreation (1 Cor. 7:3-5). This strengthens and protects marriage from inappropriate bonding with one other than one’s spouse (Prov. 5:15-20Song of Songs 8:67).
  7. Bearing children is an option through which couples who are able and choose to do so participate in the blessing God intended children to be (Ps. 127:3-5). While marriages generally yield offspring (Gen. 1:28), procreation is not viewed as an obligation incumbent upon every couple in order to please God. God values children (Matt. 19:14). Children help parents understand about loving and trusting God (Ps. 103:13). They encourage the development of sympathy, caring, humility, and unselfishness in families (Ps. 127:3-5Lk. 11:13). Parents are to provide, teach, and correct their children so they may come to know God, choose biblical values and be prepared for responsible interdependence with others (Deut. 6:6-25Prov. 22:6).
  8. God’s covenant love with His people is the basic principle of family life. In God’s covenant we experience love, forgiveness, commitment, acceptance, intimacy, and even sacrifice, that our deepest needs might be met. As we reflect the gospel in our families, our relationships with each other are fashioned after the likeness of the divine relationship with humanity. Christian family members are called to love, to serve one another, and to forgive just as He loves, serves and forgives us. Strength and grace from God are promised to accomplish that to which God calls us (Jer. 31:31-34Matt. 20:26-28Eph. 4:32Heb. 8:10-121 John 3:16).
  9. Broken relationships with God and with fellow humans were the tragic outcome of the Fall (Is. 59:2). Jesus’ mission restored agape-love relationships (Matt. 22:37-40John 13:3515:12). His Church is an ongoing extension of His work in restoring broken relationships. The Church will incorporate into its evangelistic mission the sound of God’s healing voice in the midst of human tragedy and brokenness (John 10:1020:21Gal. 6:2James 5:15).

Resources

Unity in Community resource book

Mission to the Cities: Family to Family

Weekly 30-minute TV show