Department of Family Ministries
General Conference & North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
Did you know that that the Department of Family Ministries has over a century of rich history in the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Much has changed over the past 100 years, but through it all, the Department of Family Ministries has been there to support families.
100 years ago, families drove their Model T’s on family outings, the word “teenager” did not exist, the size of the average family was 5, and the rate of divorce was 1 out of every 1,000 couples. The first rotary dial telephones were installed, and the pop-up toaster and zipper were invented. About half of all families lived on a farm, and the most popular media products of the time were the player piano and the phonograph.
It’s true that things are very different today; but it’s also true that we still catch the best glimpse of God through the family. It is His design, His masterpiece, and it is in the family where we see God’s character revealed by the ways in which we love, communicate, and forgive each other.
As we strengthen our marriages and disciple our children, we realize what a powerful mission field we have and what an amazing tool for evangelism our own families can be as others may also be drawn to Him by what they see in our homes.
Most of us can repeat the words of the gospel commission, “Go ye into all the world…” But that mission field territory begins in our homes with our own families. Many years ago, Ellen White wrote in The Adventist Home, “Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home.” In fact, she emphatically stated, “There is no missionary field more important than this” (White, The Adventist Home, p. 35).
But then she took it a step further when she wrote: “Our time, our strength, and our energies belong to God; and if they are consecrated to His service, our light will shine. It will affect first and most strongly those in our own homes, who are most intimately associated with us; but it will extend beyond the home, even to “the world” (White, Reflecting Christ, p. 167).
In other words, God created families, your family, to be a vehicle to advance the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission! That’s why the over-arching objective of the Family Ministries Department is to strengthen the family as a disciple-making and evangelistic center.
This ministry, centered on the family, started 100 years ago, in 1919, with the husband and wife team of Arthur and Maud Spalding, who developed a series of leaflets dealing with different phases of home life.
During the next three decades marriage and family life programs were promoted by Parent and Home Education Secretaries.
In 1975, a husband and wife team of Delmer and Betty Holbrook were elected as directors of the Home and Family Service. They organized and conducted training seminars for administrators, pastors, and laity in every world division.
Family Ministries continued as a strong emphasis in the world church and in 1988, Drs. Ron and Karen Flowers took over the helm and served for the next 22 years. It was during the tenure of the Flowers that an infrastructure of Family Ministries Directors was elected at the Division, Union, and Conference levels.
In 1995, Dr. Willie Oliver was elected as the first Director of Family Ministries of the North American Division, serving until the year 2010, when he and his wife, Elaine, were elected to serve in the General Conference (photo at left).
In 2010, Drs. Claudio and Pamela Consuegra were elected to serve as Directors of Family Ministries for the North American Division, becoming the first full time employed husband and wife team (photo at right).
As we embark on the Family Ministries centennial year, we want to invite you to join us as we celebrate what God has done through the years, and what He continues to do through Family Ministries in the North American Division.
We invite you to join us as we celebrate this centennial year in 2019, and give God the glory for what He has already done and continues to do through all levels of the Family Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
For additional history and ways to join the celebration, visit http://www.family.adventist.org/