Sunday, December 03, 2006

More on Family Integrated Church

As I continue to think over what a family integrated church looks like I think it is imperative that the “Family Integrated” part is seen as how one does ministry. I was listening to the recent Uniting Church and Family Conference and a talk by Voddie Baucham where he made a good comment with regards to a regular objection he hears. That objection deals with people saying that if one focuses on families it will alienate those not in families or what are perceived as families. Well first of all the focus of the church, as it is with any church, should be the equipping of the members through the preaching of God’s word. Thus, not every sermon or teaching will be on the family. Where families come into things is in how ministry is done. So one could walk into a service and things may seem no different that in some other services. What would be different is that families will be worshiping together and people would not be segregated by age. There will probably be more activity in the service with children there but apart from this the teaching is to revolve around God’s word as it comes up in the text.

Another thing is that while there may be Family Integrated churches that, as Voddie mentions, are cloistering themselves from the world this is not to be the norm. No, the Family Integrated church is to seek first to be steeped in God’s word and then seek to worship in a biblical manner which involves people worshiping as a family, a household of households. The single person in the congregation is adopted into an existing family so they can see how a family is to function. Those that are single mom’s are mentored by other women in the congregation and thus are seen as a family and helped in areas they need help in. Other men in the congregation can help to mentor sons of single moms just as women can help with girls of single dads. So I hope you can see that the idea of a Family Integrated church is to be seen as a biblical model of doing ministry in church and does not take away from the word which is to remain central to all that is done.

So the focus of a Family Integrated church is to seek to do what is necessary to equip the members to understand God’s word more clearly. Included in this is for families to see how they are to function as families so as to best glorify God. I suppose this model of ministry is far from the norm today but as one of my past posts showed it is not new. In the past the family was seen as God’s means of discipling and ministering but as the world has changed the church has also changed, and I say for the worse. But it is not too late to reverse course and seek to have biblical congregations that seek out the Lord as a Household of Households and thus build up not only strong families but stronger believers better equipped to glorify God,

I have found that the church today, even those that say they desire and are not afraid of change, are wary of following a model (I really do not like the word model) of church that is so different but should not a church look different than the world? If we do ministry as God calls for us to do in His word we will look different. Our goal should not be to look like the world but like what God desires. As I have said before a church that wants to move toward this model will have to do it through the preaching of God’s word and to do it slowly as change is often difficult for most people. But, through the Spirit of God change can occur and the Church of Jesus Christ can return to the the biblical moorings it is called to have.

I will be continuing to work this all out and look at some more particulars about how Family Integrated church functions.

Here are some churches that are Family Integrated that have info on their sites in reference to how their particular churches function:

Grace Family Baptist Church - Spring, Texas
Baptist Church- Wake Forest, NC
Community Church - Magnolia, Texas

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