If Tribes Really Matter
One day I was standing in our lobby, welcoming families as they came in, and a question came to me from a parent that stopped me in my tracks. A family that was newer in attending our church came and asked: “We are new around here and want to help. What can we do?” Basically, this family wanted to take their first steps to get involved. My mind began racing because I didn’t have a single step to point them to. I wanted to say a multitude of things ranging from attending different events, coming to meetings, etc.—the list went on and on.
Then it hit me, exactly what a family’s first step should be with our ministry. I called the family later in the week, and asked a very blunt question: “Do you know your child’s Small Group Leader?” The answer was one that I expected: “Well, we have met him, but we have no idea who he is.” My response: “Get to know him.”
Recently, we have been talking about the idea of “tribes” or “places to belong.” The two most logical adult entities to invite kids into a tribe and help them be known are the parent and the Small Group Leader. It really comes down to those two and how they facilitate. The two tribes that can make them feel known are the home and the church.
“If tribes really matter, then parents and small group leaders should meet.”
The best thing we can do for families is give kids a consistent Small Group Leader, organizing the children’s ministry around group. I want these two tribes to meet. When the Small Group Leader and the parent know each other and connect, it stacks the odds in favor of the child.
I’m also prepping the Small Group Leader, when a parent comes to you, this is how you can help connect them.
In the world I live in, I have to build a bridge between the two most important tribes—the church and the home. This process doesn’t happen naturally or easily because it goes against the historical grain of what has happened in churches over time. But even though it isn’t easy, it is essential to the future.
We think that if the leaders of the two tribes—the family and the small group—meet, it could maximize the influence of each tribe, over time.
Adam has been involved in family ministry for over a decade. He completed a language arts and public relations degree from the University of Toledo and then went directly into full-time ministry in southeast Michigan. He is currently the minister to children and families at First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale in southern Florida. Adam relocated in November of 2008 from Michigan to help lead FBCFL through their Orange transition. In the summertime, you’ll find Adam hosting and teaching at Camp KidJam. He and his wife, Katelyn, spend their free time fueling their obsession with all things Disney.