Pastor Craig has been in ministry for over 28 years and has taught in churches throughout the US and abroad.  He has spent countless hours encouraging and helping pastors and church leaders in their endeavors to implement discipleship in their churches.  This booklet will help you to better understand exactly what discipleship is. It will also help church leaders to formulate a vision for their own discipleship strategies in their church and men's and women's ministries.

This outline has been written for the purpose of edifying the Christian church in the elements of the different components of family ministry. We have made some basic assumptions in preparing this material, such as: Most Christian churches are now performing some of the basic functions of family ministry that include pre-marital counseling, annual marriage retreats, men’s and/or women’s ministry bible study, small group home fellowship, and youth ministry. Our hope is that you will find this information helpful for enhancing discipleship of your church leaders and your flock in God’s will for the family.

What is Discipleship ?

The Lord Jesus Himself commissioned us to make disciples, teaching them to observe all things that He has taught us in His Word. One of the most important things we will ever do is tend to our family. Our families are far more important than our occupation, service and personal ambition. As a husband, a wife, and a parent, God does not want us to be ignorant of His instructions on how to fulfill His will in these important roles as His disciples.

It is our prayer that this website will minister to you and your family. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Our ministry’s focus is equipping the Church to disciple their people in these areas. If you or your church would like our help in accomplishing this, please let us know. May the Lord bless you and your family.

Do Parents Need to be Discipled in Parenting? ABSOLUTELY!

Many Christians view discipleship as a class for new believers to learn the foundational doctrines of the faith. True discipleship is not simply learning biblical truths, but becoming a student of Jesus, having the will to obey Him in all areas of our life, including in our family. Though many evangelical churches embrace the Great Commission, the condition of the families within the body of Christ reflects the reality that few Christians have been adequately trained or discipled in marriage or parenting.

Today the divorce rate within the church is equal to that outside the church. Children from Christian homes are using drugs and abusing alcohol, having sex and committing crimes. It has become difficult to differentiate the non-church kids from those who profess to believe. Statistics tell us that over 65% of children being raised in Christian homes that have spent over 10 years in some kind of church youth group are walking away from their faith after leaving their homes at the age of 18. Rebellion and disrespect toward parents and authority is now considered common adolescent behavior, even in the church. The family is in serious trouble.

We are quick to place blame for this condition on the television programs our children watch, the video games they play, the schools they attend, the influence of the kid next door, or other external influences. I believe that the real problem is not what is affecting our children from outside our homes, but from within.

Parents are not making major mistakes in raising their children because they do not love them, but because they have not been taught how to parent as God’s Word instructs. Our churches are full, but what practical help is available to the struggling families who fill the pews week after week? I do not believe that the church is intentionally ignoring the problem, but is preoccupied with other agendas and not equipped with tangible answers and biblical solutions for the family.

Why Should the Family Be a Priority?

As recorded in the first two chapters of the Bible, the family is the first institution that God created. Both the Old and New Testaments begin with family stories. The first mention of the word love in the Scriptures is found in Genesis 22:2, where we learn of Abraham’s love for his son. The nation of Israel grew from one family. In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 the Lord made it clear that in order for Israel to survive as a nation, parents must disciple and train their children, raising them according to His instructions. Our Savior came into this world through a family and performed His first miracle at a wedding. The sanctity of marriage is illustrated in Ephesians 5:25 where God compares His love for the church to a husband’s love for his wife.

In the last 25 years the church has recognized that our children and youth are in trouble and responded by hiring youth pastors and developing a host of youth groups and youth activities. It seems that the church is trying to do the parent’s job instead of equipping parents to fulfill God’s calling in their own families. Why not rather, as a priority, hire a Family Pastor whose ministry is to train, support, and exhort parents to do their God-ordained job?

The Bible is the best marriage and parenting manual ever written. I believe if our churches were equipped to provide answers and solutions to marriage and parenting struggles, that we would see families, both believing and non-believing, knocking down our doors for help. Are we prepared to provide them with the biblical tools they need? Do pastors, lay leaders, and counselors know God’s instructions for the family?

Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Why are so many Christian families hurting or in trouble?

  • Has the church lowered its standards of what constitutes a healthy family?

  • Has the church lowered it standards of what constitutes a successful church?

  • Can our churches be successful when a large percentage of our families are hurting?

  • Can our churches be successful when a large percentage of its people are disregarding God’s design and instructions for marriage and parenting?

  • Do our churches recognize that conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit and discipleship is the responsibility of the church, that includes marriage and parenting.

  • Is the church’s main purpose to facilitate the spiritual growth of the congregation?

It is my prayer that the Lord will raise up many with a calling and burden to disciple others in marriage and parenting. That the church will be the place God's people can come to receive God's instructions on being a husband, wife and parent.

In His Service,

Craig Caster

Copyright © 2014 Family Discipleship Ministries