How does a family integrated church minister to youth or young adult singles who don’t have believing families or any family at all?
The modern church creates programs to reach a variety of sub groups, such as youth groups and singles ministries. In a family integrated church model, these types of programs are non-existent so it is imperative to address the issue of how to minister to people who don’t attend with their family.
Scripture is sufficient to answer this and provides direction on how to minister to people in any stage of their life. The answer is simple but the implementation is challenging. The challenge is not because the solution is logistically or financially difficult, but because it will take effort from every member of the church to minister rather than relying on professionals or programs to do so.
The first place to begin is to assess what situation the person is actually in when they attend the church. Do they have a family at all? If not, then the Bible would classify them as “fatherless”. In Psalm 68:5-6a it says “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families…” This verse makes clear that God places singles into families and we should do the same with those that attend family integrated churches. The life of Job is a great illustration of this as it says “For from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father…” (Job 31:18a). The challenge is for families of age-integrated churches to reach out to the fatherless people among them to develop a relationship and seek to disciple them. The family integrated youth or singles group is other families in the church.
What if the person has a family but they are unbelievers? The first approach should be to encourage the families of the church to be hospitable to the person’s family and use this opportunity as a place for evangelism. What better than to see the young person’s family come to Christ and then begin to function as a Biblical family! In parallel, families in the church should “spiritually adopt” the person and help disciple them in the context of a Biblical family.
Additionally, as the young person grows and matures God may bring them a spouse to then begin their own family for the purpose of raising up godly seed over many generations.
As you can see the solution is simple, however the implementation will be challenging in our modern age of programs. We are so use to programs being used as “solutions” to problems rather than relationships; and relationships are hard. May we seek the Lord for the courage and strength to reach out to the fatherless in our midst and any lost families of our young people.