Just a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of unveiling Ninth & O’s Phase Ministry. The Phase Ministry will launch in 2019 and is our church’s attempt to lovingly and effectively come alongside parents as they fulfill their role as the primary discipler in their children’s lives. To help get everyone acquainted with Phase Ministry I’ve written this post in two parts. First, I’ll explain why we believe Phase Ministry is an essential addition to our church by briefly highlighting two biblical teaching. Second, I’ll give a quick overview of the five phases that make up NAOBC Phase Ministry.
Why Phase Ministry Matters
First, Phase Ministry is essential because God has called his church to equip its members for the work of ministry. In Ephesians 4:11–12 Paul writes, “And [Jesus] himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” Pastors and teachers are not instructed merely to do ministry; they are instructed to equip others for the work of ministry themselves.
Second, Phase Ministry is essential because God’s design for families involves parents taking up the ministry of disciplining their children. Just a few chapters later in the book of Ephesians Paul writes, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Paul’s words echo those of Moses hundreds of years earlier, who wrote, “these words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7). God has specially commissioned parents to instruct their children in the ways of the faith.
Since God has called the church to equip its members for ministry, and God has given parents the ministry of disciplining their children, we as a congregation have an obligation to help equip families for discipleship in the home. Phase Ministry is Ninth & O’s attempt to do just that.
How Phase Ministry Works
When a young child has been added to your home, you’ve entered the dedication phase. As with all the phases, the dedication phase involves both a training class and a church ceremony. The class introduces families to the biblical teaching on parenthood and provides practical instruction on caring for a child during their first year of life. Also, any family who has completed the class is invited to participate in the Parent-Child Dedication on Sunday morning.
Phase 2—Starting School
A student entering school is a significant milestone in a family’s life. To match the significance of this phase, we have developed an entire Wednesday Adult Equip class for parents dedicated to equipping parents for this season of life. In addition, students and families are invited to attend the Bible Presentation Ceremony. This ceremony provides an opportunity for parents to reinforce the centrality of God’s word by presenting their child with a Bible of their own to use through their elementary years.
Phase 3—Middle School
As a child enters the sixth grade, parents are invited to attend a special one hour, Sunday morning class, which will introduce them to the Youth ministry and provide an overview of several critical issues related to the early teen years. Aside from the Sunday morning class, the Youth and Kid’s ministry will host a Family Cookout at which parents will have an opportunity to pass on wisdom and encouragement to their child on their way to teenhood.
Phase 4—High School
Entrance into the ninth grade begins a students transition from the Youth ministry and the home. Similar to the Middle School phase, a special Sunday morning class will be available to help prepare parents for the challenges and opportunities of the later teen years. Additionally, we invite students and parents to join us for a trip to the Creation Museum. The trip will serve as a celebration of the families transition into this phase and involve a recognition of the students as leaders in the Youth ministry.
Eventually all students must leave childhood behind and enter into adulthood. Because this phase is such a special and significant time in the life of a family, we have set aside a one-day retreat designed to equip students, with the help of their parents, for the challenges of being a Christian in the workforce or on a college campus.
That, in a nutshell, is NAOBC Phase Ministry. We hope that all of Ninth & O will join us in praying that through the Phase Ministry, Ninth & O Baptist church can lovingly and effectively fulfill our obligation to help equip families for the work of discipleship in the home.