“The focus of family ministry is to help Christians live their faith in and through their families.” With this declaration, Diana Garland, university teacher, parent and grandparent, embarks on a widely-researched and documented exploration of the Christian family and faith formation. She uses biblical and contemporary frameworks to arrive at a “three-pronged approach to family ministry” which includes: 1) developing families grounded in Christian faith, 2) helping families live the teachings of Jesus with one another, and 3) equipping and supporting families as they live lives of service beyond themselves. This comprehensive handbook considers four broad facets of family life which, taken together, offer a comprehensive view: Context of Family Life, Family Formation, Processes of Family Life, and Leading Family Ministry. Each section contains multiple sub-topic chapters. The author provides explanatory bridges throughout, showing how one section leads to another. In addition, there are summaries, conclusions, and statements of ministry implications that provide quick access to otherwise expansive material. Section four, Leading Family Ministry, is perhaps the most practical, with chapters on congregational life, knowing the neighborhood, planning and evaluation, and programs and services. This desktop reference and practical guide is addressed primarily to ministry professionals.
Reviewed by Marie F. Fleming