History of Family Ministry, Part 1: The Reformation & the Home as a Little Church

UncategorizedJared Kennedy1 Comment

Children were brought up in the Lord through the teaching of their parents. There was little if any training for children by the church as an institution.  Pastors trained fathers, and fathers trained their children.  There was no youth ministry, children's ministry, or Sunday School, but church leaders championed the home as a place where fathers taught their children about God:

  • Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 21-25 (1539)“Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children… in godliness.  Therefore such a house is actually a school and a church, and the head of the household is a bishop and priest in his house.”
  • Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor (1657), chapter 2, section 1.4

    “Get masters of families to do their duty, and they will not only spare you a great deal of labor, but will much further the success of your labors.  If a captain can get the officers under him to do their duty, he may rule the soldiers with much less trouble, than if all lay upon his own shoulders.  You are not like to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.”

    “Go occasionally among them, when they are likely to be most at leisure, and ask the master of the family whether he prays with them, and reads the Scripture, or what he does?  Labor to convince such as neglect this, of their sin; and if you have opportunity, pray with them before you go, and give them an example of what you would have them do.  Perhaps, too, it might be well to get a promise from them, that they will make more conscience of their duty for the future.”