Ron Hunter Jr. is the executive director & CEO of Randall House, a Christian publisher that promotes generational discipleship through curriculum, books and events. Hunter helps church leaders, parents and grandparents live out the disciple-making principles of Deuteronomy 6 through D6 Family Ministries and as an author, conference speaker and leadership consultant. Previously, Hunter served for 11 years in ministry in Florida and Tennessee.
Ron Hunter Jr.
Hunter will be the keynote speaker at the first event of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Faith at Home Network Fall Conference Series on Aug. 29 at Lakeview Baptist Church in Hickory. Hunter will address what family ministry can look like in the church. Hunter recently took time to answer some questions about his ministry and what he’ll be sharing.
Q: From your perspective, what is the current spiritual state of the family in the United States?
A: For the past three decades, parents have delegated the responsibility of spiritually developing and discipling their kids to the church. Research reveals the problem arises when a child’s primary influencers (traditionally his or her parents) do not engage their kids from a biblical perspective.
Parents cultivate their child’s passion for sports, music and other hobbies but fail to disciple. It is not that parents do not care about discipleship; they have simply not observed good models nor been taught how to engage their kids in the way Deuteronomy 6 directs. The family unit is often non-traditional and faces brokenness, pain and guilt. The only true answers come from the scriptural mandate to have the church equip the saints (including parents and grandparents) to teach their kids how to put on the whole armor of God and see discipleship as way of life, not an event.
Q: You lead a ministry called D6 Family, which is focused on aligning the church and home to accomplish God’s design of generational discipleship. What does Deuteronomy 6 tell us about developing faith within the family?
A: Deuteronomy is the second most quoted book by Jesus, and Deuteronomy 6 has always been held in such high regard for God’s people, even to this day. But many Christians stopped practicing the simple formula given in Deuteronomy 6. God actually commands us … to look for teachable moments in the home.
Parents and grandparents do not need to add anything more to their schedule if they simply spend time in the Word daily and use the counsel of scripture to shape the decision making ability of their children. The idea of writing on the doorposts provides a lasting reminder to live, outside the home, what the home biblically teaches. The “impress them on your kids” suggested an ongoing effort to establish a biblical worldview rather than just teaching a single lesson. The former requires commitment, while the latter provides just knowledge.
Q: D6 focuses on the home as the primary vehicle for imparting faith to the next generation. How should churches and families work together in this effort?
A: Churches are the on-ramp, equipping place and training venue for how all ages should live, act and believe when not at church. So, why have so many American families compartmentalized the church and home, dividing the efforts? If the church recalibrated efforts to help parents continue to teach what begins during the weekly service, then the biblical lessons would stick and transform families. The goal is consistency in church and home between parents and kids.
The church can teach lessons or teach people – teaching people creates cultural change. The church can provide tools to help parents have Deuteronomy 6 conversations outside of church which help kids understand their parents really do believe and practice biblical values. D6 believes in an age-graded discipleship plan where every age is on the same page learning at different depths. Family-aligned devotionals keep the family connected through the week, allowing conversations to flow more naturally. The church equips and trains parents and grandparents so they can spiritually coach their kids and grandkids.
Q: Why do some pastors and churches struggle to prioritize, incorporate and implement a comprehensive family ministry plan into their current ministries? What encouragement would you share with them?
A: This one is so simple but not at all obvious to ministry leaders. Senior pastors and the staff form the greatest trained leaders America has ever had. As a result, the family has trusted everything to church leaders and expect the discipleship to occur only at church. When the ministry leaders come to realize that all their efforts cannot go into what happens at church, then time and attention can be directed toward what happens outside of church.
A church service is an event, and one cannot become a healthy disciple from an event approach. We like to say it this way, “Discipleship is not an event; it is a way of life.” Church should be executed with excellence, but not in such a way that parents think they can never measure up to what ministry leaders do. The not-so-obvious solution is to spend less time planning the weekly worship hour and more time planning what the families will do with the lessons taught during that hour throughout the week.
Q: What do you hope attendees at the upcoming Faith at Home Fall Conference Series might take away from your presentation?
A: My prayer is that attendees find a renewed focus on helping dads get real wins connecting to their kids spiritually, even if imperfectly; that ministry leaders recognize the single moms struggling, but show them how they can give to their kids what really matters – a contagious walk with Christ.
My prayer is that ministry leaders learn how to begin working on a change in the church that teaches Deuteronomy 6 in such a way that families become stronger, biblical worldviews lead our actions, and our culture reflects more of Christ. Church is not a performance; it is a launching platform for everyday life that still takes daily effort.