July brings the fifth anniversary of our marriage and relationships ministry, Family Fire. It began with a question, “How can we care for marriages and families where people are already spending their time online?” It launched in July 2010 as a Facebook page to encourage families in being fueled by the Holy Spirit. Steven and Deb Koster, the editorial team for Family Fire, recognized that Facebook could itself be a ministry field, and developed content that connected well with social media users. “Our first posts went out to a little crowd of around 30 people,” shares Deb. “Today, 34,000 people follow our Facebook page, we get hundreds of prayer requests, and we minister to people all over the world.”
Long before Family Fire hit the streets, the Kosters were leading marriage-enrichment seminars in local churches. “We’ve long had a ministry goal of supporting families spiritually as the foundation of people’s lives and personal ministries,” notes Deb. When Steven became Director of ReFrame Media, Bob Heerspink, the late Director of Back to God Ministries International, encouraged the couple to pursue their ministry to families using media. Family Fire’s Facebook page expanded rapidly on the rising swell of social media, connecting with people in real time. They also launched a website as a deeper resource for information, encouragement, and advice about the spiritual, emotional, and physical facets of our most fundamental relationships. Articles and devotions, from a diversity of authors, offer unique perspectives in family ministry: a focus on God’s sovereignty in every aspect of life.
As Family Fire grew, Steven and Deb also began traveling the country to lead marriage and parenting seminars in partnership with local congregations. Churches plan the events and the Kosters provide the teaching, and everyone involved is encouraged. The message is the same as it is online: we never struggle alone in our most intimate relationships; God’s Spirit gives us power to love, persevere, and build up. These retreats have become another way that Family Fire is giving back to the churches. Deb notes, “We love the opportunities to let the scripture speak into how we live life together.” Steven also commented, “Marriages and families are the essential building blocks of healthy churches and communities. We want to play a part in building Christ-centered homes.”
ReFrame Media receives thousands of prayer requests each year from all over the globe, which we distribute to more than 1,200 prayer team members. Some of the most urgent and heart-rending are those that come through Family Fire, because they pertain to the most intimate places where brokenness can produce the most intense suffering. In many cases, Deb reaches out personally. “It’s humbling to be invited to grieve with someone who is trying desperately to regain custody of her kids. Or to help someone make sense of the suffering that his family is going through. I have answered questions about dating and about parenting from all over the world. I have emailed with spouses whose marriages are falling apart, and with desperate parents whose kids are walking away from faith.” She points out that many people in the Facebook community respond in prayer when they see the stories shared by other readers. “I personally love seeing them commenting on each other’s prayer requests and praying for each other!”
A new Family Fire website will soon launch the ministry into its next season. Faster, responsive, and better organized, the site will put the resources that set Family Fire apart at readers’ literal fingertips. Readers can also subscribe to receive email updates whenever a new article or devotion is posted to the website. We thank God for His calling on this ministry over the last five years and for the fruit His Spirit has borne for His people all over the world.