“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives.  His preaching will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
I believe this sums up what to look for in any ministry. God’s plan is to work in children’s lives through the parents. Anything that tries to do otherwise is wrong. Don’t let anyone rob you of the joy of leading your child to Christ, or training your teenager in spiritual matters, or being the wise counselor for your adult children. Find a church that understands this. Luci West so aptly expressed this in the Dudley Baptist Church Children’s Ministry Statement: “partnering with parents to lead their children into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ”. This is done by making sure the parents have the resources and the training they need to lead their children.
Not only does Malachi point out that the preacher was to turn the parents’ hearts to the children, but it is just as important to turn the children’s hearts toward the parents. For example: the Youth director should not be getting the youth to rally around him, but should be continually pointing them toward their parents, just as the pastor’s goal is not to have the people dependent on him but to continually point them to a personal daily relationship with their Heavenly Father.
The message in this Scripture appears to be very serious in God’s eyes. Look at the consequences of not turning parents and children toward each other – a curse on the land. Hmmm.