We recently changed our name from Randall House Publications to D6 Family Ministry to reflect our broader mission. Describing D6 Family Ministry feels less like one organization and more like managing a theme park. Most theme parks combine multiple parks and experiences in one place. Some theme parks have multiple branded parks where one ticket allows you to visit whichever park you desire.
Like a multi-park ministry, people are often amazed by the many ways D6 Family Ministry serves churches and families: discipleship curriculum, books, Vertical Three Conference, Truth & Peace Student Leadership Conference, Youth Evangelistic Team, D6 Podcast, Top Reads for Busy Leaders, two U.S. D6 Conferences, and six global ones. While there are no perfect metaphors, grab a park pass and hang on through this roller coaster of comparisons.
Most people grew up with fond memories of loading the car and visiting a theme park with castles, flags, aquatic creatures, or stages. No matter the park, they all created great family memories. Hopefully, this article will provide an entertaining and educational comparison between those theme parks and D6 Family Ministry, including characters, kiddie parks, and prices, and we certainly cannot overlook the fireworks. After serving Free Will Baptists and the greater Kingdom of God for nearly 70 years, we are not mousing around.
Theme parks often provide characters—people dressed in themed costumes to create a magical story. D6 teaches about biblical characters who seem larger than life. But the magic is not make-believe; it’s transformational. We want people of all ages who encounter our discipleship resources (our primary mission) to understand the story of the Bible, not as a distant historical book, but as the living, breathing Word of God revealing His redemptive story. Christ will always be our featured “character” who loved us, died for us, and desires His will for us. We provide the discipleship material churches choose for generations!
When it comes to theme parks, some people want to ride the latest roller coaster while others go for their nostalgic favorite, the one they hope never goes away. Whether it is to eat, laugh, scream, or buy the t-shirt or keychain, people visit theme parks for many reasons. D6 Family Ministry, like your local church, offers many age-specific ways to serve people and bring them closer to Christ.
While we understand people who always want the latest coaster may continue to jump from theme park to theme park, we seek to serve those who want to create a legacy through quality, repeated experiences for their families. Our church and home curriculum does not follow the latest trends. While our award-winning design feels comfortable and fresh, the biblical content will always be deep and foundational.
Loving parents and grandparents want to look back on connected conversations centered around enjoyable experiences like attending the same church, having familiar dinner table routines, and sharing devotional studies that anchored their interactions. Strategic-minded churches will care enough to offer a well-thought-out, family-aligned curriculum creating generational connections. If you attended theme parks the way some churches do small groups, members of the same family would never be in the same section of the park, and probably not even visit the same park at all. In their opinion, the desire to “ride our own rides” outweighs the need to be together and make spiritual memories along the way.
Speaking of specific sections of the park, why do theme parks have a kiddie section? Most people think it was designed to squeeze a couple of additional tickets out of mom and dad. That’s not true. The park has a longer-term strategy than you realize. They want those children to become patrons for life, looking forward to the day they are tall enough to ride the “you-must-be-this-tall” roller coasters. We borrow from this playbook when we recognize church nurseries are not for babysitting; those little ones can learn! Young parents will notice your teaching nursery and family-equipping approach, and your church will begin to become much more multi-generational. D6 Family Ministry can help your church feel the connection between your children, youth, and adult ministries when you become strategically intentional rather than letting everyone ride separate attractions.
Theme parks are not cheap. The price of theme park meals today cost nearly what admission cost when I was young. Admittedly, theme parks cost far more than we think they should, yet people still fill these parks, understanding that value requires investment.
How much of your annual church budget is directly invested in developing people and equipping families? Just as a family must budget for a vacation or even groceries, you show your leadership priorities by investing in your congregation. At a theme park, parents spend far more than the price of admission to take home the memories: shirts, hats, food, and gadgets. Just like those theme parks, your church must show families how to take discipleship home with them.
Nothing of value comes without a price. If spiritual development comes only from what you get at church, the odds of your kids staying true to their faith is about 34%. But the percentage shoots up substantially for those who say the church provided a springboard into family conversations through aligned daily devotional studies.
D6 Family Ministry offers curriculum for the church, but don’t miss out on the devotional study guides that extend what they learn at church throughout the week. I recently heard a dad say, “At the end of our time at the theme park, I loved seeing the reflection of the fireworks on the faces of my kids; they were in awe.” That dad understood his investment in memories (though costly) had become an investment his kids will never forget.
The word “fireworks” can also describe mayhem or trouble. When you minister to a group as broad and diverse as Free Will Baptists, not everyone will like the preferences of others. I know some people who cannot stand certain rides at the parks—upside-down coasters or water rides. Not everything has to be for everyone.
D6 offers a wide variety of resources to meet the needs of our denomination. But while we may not always meet everyone’s preferences, we will never stray from the gospel and our core evangelical and denominational doctrines. Any “fireworks” from our products have resulted from preferential and not doctrinal differences. What does that mean? It means you, as Free Will Baptists, cannot find another curriculum that more closely teaches what you believe than D6—not one!
For decades, theme parks existed only for the entertainment of families. Sadly, in recent years, some parks have become political powerhouses attempting to influence unbiblical, non-family values. When parks push an immoral agenda, the “glass slipper” breaks and the park ceases to be a Cinderella story.
To be transparent, D6 Family Ministry also has an agenda. It’s called a mission statement, and it says simply: “helping you build believers through church and home.” Our mission is biblical, rooted in Genesis 1, with principles derived from Deuteronomy 6, described in Nehemiah 8, and reinforced by Paul in Ephesians 6. So, if D6 Family Ministry is not like Disney, what theme park best represents us?
I know, the title gave it away. While there is no perfect comparison, we would argue that LEGOLAND shows the value of tiny building blocks that result in strong, beautiful structures.
Like LEGOLAND structures, D6 equips teachers and parents with the everyday building blocks founded in Scripture, which will determine the stability of one’s faith and life trajectory. We teach people how to be part of the body of Christ within a family setting, just like a LEGO build is less about individual blocks and more about the collaborative way blocks connect to create something substantial. We can continue to divide into smaller pockets of people who build our own small structures, or we can work together, combining our Scripture-guided efforts to build God’s masterpiece.
D6 Family Ministry provides the generational discipleship resources you need for life. As a church, maybe it is time to get all your families a D6 multi-pass for life.
*Article originally published in the October/November 2023 issue of One Magazine. To learn more, visit D6family.com.
About the Author: Ron Hunter Jr. has a Ph.D. in leadership and is CEO of D6 Family Ministry. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.