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Conference considers "family" as child's small group ministry

Oct 07, 2004
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will host a conference that encourages individuals to consider the “family” as a child’s small group ministry. A one-day event for pastors, Christian educators, parents, teachers, counselors, and anyone interested in family ministry, Family: A Child’s Small Group Ministry is the latest in a series of popular offerings co-sponsored by the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries at Louisville Seminary. The event will be held at the Seminary on October 22.

“Congregations struggle with how to help families who are seeking to provide spiritual nurture for children in an increasingly busy world. At the same time, churches are discovering new vitality in their ministries through the formation of small groups.,” says Martha Miller, a Certified Christian Educator who is Associate for Family and Single Adult Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has teamed up her office with LPTS Professor J. Bradley Wigger, director of the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries, to present this interesting concept for nurturing a life of faith in children.

Miller believes that the same small group principles in congregational life can be “tools for our families because the family is the child’s small group.”

Wigger and Miller have enlisted Martha Bettis Gee, a Certified Christian Educator for the Presbyterian Church (USA) who is a writer, editor, and consultant in educational ministry, to help identify the specific tools for helping to visualize and transform the family into a center for faith development.

“We will look at elements essential to the success of small groups and how they might translate to the child’s small group and examine how we can recognize and intentionalize the practices of our faith that emerge in ordinary family life,” says Miller.

Specifically, these elements will include looking at the connections between the family and faith; learning how to pray with children without being an expert; exploring family rituals and traditions; providing pastoral care in everyday family life; finding ways to be intentional and enjoy surprises; considering everyday spirituality.

The conference will be held October 22 at the Laws Lodge, on the Seminary campus. The fee, only $35, includes lunch plus a copy of The Power of God at Home (Jossey-Bass 2003) by J. Bradley Wigger and "Forming Ministries with Families," a guidebook produced by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

For more information, contact Laura March at 502.895.3411, ext. 365, or register online at www.lpts.edu/Families. Laws Lodge is located on the campus of Louisville Seminary at 1044 Alta Vista Road. Overnight accommodations are available by calling the Lodge directly at 502.992.9220.
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