What is Family Ministry? (Part II)

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

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WHAT IS FAMILY MINISTRY? (Part II)
By Rev. Father Alexander Goussetis

Love

Giving of ourselves sacrificially through genuine mutuality.

  • As family ministry leaders, read 1 Corinthians Chapters 12 and 13 together. Which aspects of the body of Christ or the essence of love stand out for you? How can these aspects assist us in our ministry to families?

  • Can you recall recent examples of self-denial and sacrifice that parish family members have shown to one another?

  • Which examples of Jesus's Ministry and interactions with other help you to better comprehend the virtue of love?

  • What are practical ways of expressing sacrificial love and mutuality to our neighbors, our community, our parish, our school, our place of work?

Trust

Assuring others of our mutual respect, dependability, collaboration, faith, and shared vulnerability.

The Greek word for faith implies not only faith but also trust. To have faith in Jesus is not only to believe in Him but also to put one's trust in Him. In our relationship with others, we might express the difference between believing a person (what he/she says is reliable and true) and believe in a person (entrusting yourself to that person). Can you see the difference? On a personal level, consider the following:

  • Who are the people in your life that you trust? What did they do to earn that trust from you?

  • When did another person betray your trust? What lesson was learned and applied in the future?

  • Do you consider yourself to be a dependable person, with a reputation of being trusted by others?

  • How and when should be vulnerable with others? What are the dynamics necessary to share your thoughts, feelings, and history in a safe setting?

  • How can we work to build trust among our parish family members?

Learning

Growing in and sharing the knowledge of the Orthodox Christian Faith and our particular fields of expertise.

The Orthodox Church practices infant baptism. Some criticize this tradition, suggesting that only an adult can make such a faith decision. Our response is that baptism represents only the first step in our relationship with Christ and His Church. We are invited to grow in our knowledge of the faith, to use God's blessings to serve others with our gifts and to share the message of the Gospel with others. The Orthodox Christian faith demands an active response to the love of God, growing in grace and wisdom.

  • In what ways do we help parish family members expand their knowledge of the teachings and practices of the Orthodox Faith?

  • What parish study groups do we offer to promote this growth? What resources do we share for further enrichment with our parish family members (podcasts, webinars, books, websites, etc.)? 

  • Is our parish a welcoming environment that invites people to want to know more about our faith?

  • Does our parish support and highlight missionary activities in the Orthodox Church, both locally and internationally?

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There is much to consider in responding to the question, "What is family ministry?" For parish ministry leaders, this question needs to begin with self-reflection on the role these core values have in our lives. We cannot lead people to grow in Christ unless we are working to grow closer to Him ourselves.

[Rev. Father Alexander Goussetis is the Director of the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.]

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George