Blended Family Ministry

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Forty percent of families in the U.S. today are stepfamilies. Chances are, there is a significant portion of your congregation that is made-up of blended, or step, families. Ron Deal, author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, walks through some of the unique challenges faced by blended families, sharing how your church can equip them to build homes of redemption.




Ron acknowledged many pastors and church leaders are hesitant to begin any sort of blended family ministry because they are fearful of being seen as condoning past divorce. He quickly dispelled this fear by pointing out that many of these same churches are quick to provide post-abortion care, substance abuse recovery programs, etc. Celebrating recovery is not the same as celebrating addiction. In the same way, equipping blended families to succeed is not the same as sanctioning divorce.

Have you wrestled with the type of hesitancy Ron spoke about? How does Ron's response help you quell any of your own hesitancy, or that of other members or leaders in your congregation?
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Do you have specific ministries, small groups, or classes designed to equip blended families for the unique and difficult circumstances they face? In what areas do you feel you are serving those families well? Where do you think you can serve them better?
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Ron noted that step-couples are often a tough audience to get into a room because of internal shame, worries about what others think, etc. List a few ways you could intentionally instill a welcoming culture to divorced and remarried couples in your church.
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Ron pointed out that a common mistake for those seeking to minister to blended families is to give "first family" answers to stepfamily questions. Have you ever experienced that? If so, what did you learn about the unique nature of blended families? If not, when do you think you might be prone to give a "first family" answer?
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Do you currently have a special system for counseling couples before a family-blending marriage? If so, how is it unique from premarital counseling for first marriages? If not, what steps can you take to better equip couples who are preparing for the unique challenges of a blended family?
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How can you seek to best equip those in your church who do pre-marriage counseling (whether that is yourself, other staff members, or lay persons) to guide couples entering a step-marriage?
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Ron made a compelling case for the importance of Blended Family Ministry. The presence of intentional discipleship of stepfamilies is not an endorsement of divorce, but a display of God's grace and his redeeming power. It is a ministry grounding in the hope, as Ron said, of redeeming not only this generation, but the next. 


For more information about Blended Family Ministry and practical resources: