Abstract: Family ministry advocates claim that Christian parents are abdicating their responsibility and that restructuring church life to re-engage parents will build lasting faith in children. Recent research on religious parenting shows that Christian parents already see themselves as primarily responsible and do not look to their congregations for help as much as they should. Meanwhile, the firmly and nearly universally held cultural beliefs that shape how Christian parents approach the task of passing on their faith only partially support biblical discipleship. In order to achieve its goals, the family ministry movement must devise strategies to address these cultural beliefs.
Thomas E. Bergler, Ph.D., serves as professor of Christian Thought and Practice at Huntington University where he has taught theology, youth ministry and discipleship courses for 21 years. He is the author of The Juvenilization of American Christianity (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) and From Here to Maturity: Overcoming the Juvenilization of American Christianity (Williams B. Eerdmans Publishing Company).