Wondering how to better minister to married young adults and those with young families?
Jeri Lauren Lambert will be facilitating a workshop session on Children and Family Ministries this weekend at the Young Adult Ministers’ Gathering. Come join us!
Hi, my name is Jeri Lauren Lambert and I live with my partner, Sam, and our two children on the Lambert Farm, 230-acres of hay and cattle in a 140-year old farmhouse in Southern Illinois. I work part-time for International Headquarters as a Children and Family ministry specialist and part-time as a therapist for Children’s Home and Aid in Herrin, Illinois. I am ordained to the office of Elder and my passions include learning and teaching, reading, cooking and kids!
Have you heard of FOCCUS? Maybe you have experienced the power of examining your relationship with this inventory tool or maybe you have a friend or relative who has.
One aspect of my work as a Children and Family ministry specialist has been to introduce into the Community of Christ culture the FOCCUS inventory for marriage preparation. It is my deeply held belief that if we prepare adequately for sacramental experiences, those participating directly as well as the faith community witnessing the sacrament will be enriched and transformed. Toward that end, I work with couples in marriage preparation and offer FOCCUS facilitator trainings. The trainings are open to everyone regardless of priesthood or Community of Christ membership. Participants have the opportunity to become equipped to utilize the FOCCUS inventory, which assesses 15 areas of marital life and outlines strengths and growth areas in the relationship. FOCCUS may also be used with same-sex couples who are considering a long-term commitment.
There is a companion piece for couples seeking a marriage enrichment experience. REFOCCUS examines multiple areas of marital life for couples who have been married for four years or more. REFOCCUS may be used by a couple and does not require a trained facilitator. This inventory tool may also be used in a marriage enrichment retreat or a family camp/reunion experience.
Connect to more Marriage and Relationship Resources
More about FOCCUS and REFOCCUS
Christian Education for Parents
Another aspect of my work as a Children and Family specialist has been to assess Christian Education curriculum. To address the need for material for individuals who are currently parenting, I piloted a Sunday School class titled, “Parenting and Faith” in the Tunnel Hill, Illinois CofC. The goals of the class have been to increase scriptural literacy, examine the points of intersection between faith and parenting and create community. What began as a class four years ago has become a core group of YA made up of members and friends of the church who regularly contribute to the life of the congregation. And not surprisingly, when parents’ needs are met the children attend too. My goal is to create an outline of the course and make it available and accessible via the YA webpage.
Teaching on topics of Pastoral Care, Ministerial Issues, and Learning to Teach
Among my responsibilities for work at IHQ, it has been a pleasure to serve the church in multiple teaching roles. I am an instructor in Pastoral Care for MEADS, LEADS and ALS. I have also taught “Learning to Teach” for a LEADS course in Southern California. In addition, I am adjunct faculty for the Community of Christ Seminary in the areas of Pastoral Care and Ministerial Issues. While MEADS and the other leadership training courses are face-to-face, the seminary courses are taught online and I continually work for better ways to translate the energy of the face-to-face setting into an enriching online experience. It is a learning curve for me and I am grateful to my students for everything they have taught me through the years.
Teaching opportunities have taken me all over the United States, from the Carolinas to California, and in 2011 I was invited to teach Pastoral Care in Tahiti. While I was a C+ French student at best many years ago in my high school studies, I was graciously received and very capably translated by my new family of faith in French Polynesia. It was rewarding and memorable, from the fantastic singing and bright, beautiful people to the deep sharing around the pain that affects our everyday lives and our pastoral response to suffering.
Glad to be in touch
Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my story with you. If you have any questions or would like to know more about Children and Family Ministries please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to meeting you the next time our paths cross!
Look for more resources and information about Children and Family Ministries from Jeri Lauren Lambert later this week!