The strength of the church is based in the spiritual life of its members and families. God expects families to have mutually satisfying relationships (Mal. 4:6). He desires that husbands and wives experience unity (Matt. 19:5, 6); that parents “do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
The guiding principles of the Bible direct that Christians nurture the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs of the individuals, couples and families who constitute the fabric of fellowship in the church. When the church ministers to the needs of families as Christ did, they are restored to wholeness. Families who feel complete, and have harmonious relationships, are more likely to be dedicated to God’s goals (Col. 2:10).
Family crises cannot be the only motivation for family ministry. Healthy family functioning is a primary goal. A family should provide for the transmission of values, and be a witness for God in the world of His power to unify and engender the happiness of each person. The family is the ordained place where human beings can experience love to its fullest extent—romantic love, friendship love and redemptive love.
Families need to be taught the meaning of love. Love fosters health and decreases stress. “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred” (Prov. 15:17).
Families need to develop stable relationships patterned after God’s relationship with us. He has declared, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). God’s love is unconditional, enduring and responsible.
The family is probably the best illustration God has of what He is like. A family that is spiritually healthy will manifest characteristics of humility, patience, hope, and loving acceptance.