I am the pastor of an urban church in which a large percentage (I'm tempted to say the majority, but I can't be sure) are single and the vast majority either do not have children or have children who are married and have their own children. We have very few kids in our church. This is partly the consequence of being an urban church in a context in which the conventional wisdom is that it is bad/dangerous to raise children in the city.
In contrast to this, we are part of an amazing group of families in our neighborhood who have banded together to create a charter school for our children. The diversity among this group of families is mind-blowing and it has again reminded us that one of the crying needs in our community is befriending families in the process of being a family and especially raising children.
But the minute I start thinking about how our congregation might engage the community in a conversation about children and families, I am deeply aware of how co-opted this language is in Christianity. The very fact that I am a Christian (and a pastor at that) talking about family is deeply suspect. So, my question is this:
In a culture in which the language of children and families has been coopted by the Religious Right, how can a Christian church talk with the community about raising healthy children and healthy families?
A corollary for you to think about is this: If you have children (or even if you don't but might some day), what are the top 3-5 values you would like your children to embrace?