Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in West Des Moines realizes that nobody spends more time with children than their parents do, so they have developed a Family Ministry program in which they want to empower parents to take more initiative in the spiritual growth of their children.
“In the last year or so, we have been moving from the traditional care of children at church to equipping parents to help minister their family,” says Senior Pastor David Dahlke. “We only get them for 40 hours a year or so. Parents have the largest impact on a child. They have the strongest relationship with them, and we want parents to be a catalyst for spiritual growth.”
To help facilitate that kind of growth, the church hired Marilyn Shults as its first Director of Family Ministry last year. Her job is to direct Sunday school, midweek and vacation Bible school ministries while having an emphasis on Family Ministry. Dahlke says she has the ability to serve people wherever they are in their life cycle and faith journey, and she is known for her caring ways, her smiles and her hugs as she supports, encourages and strengthens families and individuals.
“Her training and background is in this area and she has done a great job of helping us transition from children to family ministries,” he says.
Dahlke says that the program’s four main goals are to create daily family devotions, facilitate regular caring conversations, encourage a heart for service and to develop family rituals or traditions for faith.
“We’ve been able to do that by educating our congregation and giving families the right tools to do this on their own. We provide an example for them of how to do this with our staff and families. It’s a partnership,” says Dahlke. “We want to instill in them biblical values as provided by the church and to encourage families to follow their spiritual mission.”Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
3900 Ashworth Road
Traditional Sunday Service:
Contemporary Praise Service: Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
“Come As You Are” Service:
Saturday, 5 p.m.