Family Integrated Church
What is a Family Integrated Church?
As we have already stated, Family Integrated Churches come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. There are FICs in virtually every denominational and theological tradition, and in most sections of the country. While no two FICs are exactly alike, they do have certain distinctives in common.
Families Worship Together
If you’ve ever walked into a FIC during a worship service, perhaps the first thing that struck you was the fact that there were so many babies and small children in the service. We have grown accustomed to the presence of children in the service, and the children grow accustomed to being a part of the worship experience. No one will stop you at the door if you try to enter our service with your toddler.
No Systematic Age Segregation
One of the biggest distinctions of a FIC is the absence of age-graded ministries. We do not have segregated youth ministry, or children’s ministry. Why? First, these ministries are not part of the biblical church model. The Bible is clear on whose job it is to disciple children— parents. Second, these ministries can work against the biblical mode. Parents who are relieved of their discipleship duties tend to become dependent on those who have taken over the job. And, as Dr. Alvin Reid has noticed, “The largest rise of youth professionals in history has been accompanied by a decline in youth evangelism effectiveness.”
Evangelism/Discipleship Through Homes
We teach parents to evangelize and disciple their children and their neighbors. We emphasize the ministry of hospitality, family worship, catechism, and family discipleship. Thus, instead of placing the burden on paid professionals to “do the work of the ministry,” we equip the saints to do it.
Education as a Key Component of Discipleship
Jesus said, “A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Whoever educates a child is discipling that child. We work hard to help parents see the importance of Christian education, and to help them make biblical choices as it relates to this part of their children’s discipleship.
They both go hand in hand.
Simply put, a Family Integrated Church is a church that is intentionally designed without age segregated structures.
Some Characteristics of a Family Integrated Church
While there are some common characteristics many Family Integrated Churches share, one of the most obvious is the conviction that families are to be the actual center of discipleship. Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6, seem to us plain enough in their descriptions of families— not classes, programs, or pastors— as the actual center of the spiritual training of children and young people.
And while age integration is our conviction, there are a few things we are not saying when we describe ourselves as age integrated:
- Age or family integration is not our banner. We want to be known as gospel-people, not as “the family church”.
- Age integration is not child-centeredness. While we welcome families to come all together, we want to strongly encourage parents to train their children to be a blessing to the family of God.
- Age integration is not the gospel. We are convinced on family integration, but we do not worship or put our hope in our families. Our hope is in Christ alone.
Also, it is important to note, there are opportunities outside of our Sunday Worship and Tuesday Bible Study for men to disciple men, women to disciple women and the young people to have age-appropriate discipleship. We have some of those opportunities listed below.
You’ll find no perfect families at The Church Without Walls, nor will you find the perfect church structure. But, you will find a church family – God’s Word in hand – striving together to live for God’s glory!
Won’t you consider joining with us as we strive together to live for God’s glory? *