Sunday, January 14, 2007

What does a Family Integrated Church look like to me - PT 3

I keep thinking that I should be to the part of my thinking on a FIC that relates to the family integration part but the truth is that while I feel that a multigenerational church is the most biblical form of church there are other aspects that are just as important if not more so. The whole concept of keeping different generations together is very important to the life of the church but if a church focuses too much on this they may neglect other aspects that are also important.

So I would like to look at some ministries of the church that are absolutely necessary. One of these is the “Ministry of the Word.” In today’s church this is one aspect that is either overtly minimized as archaic or in other instances minimized in not so overt ways. Paul in Romans 10:10-15 reveals the importance of preaching in the revealing of the Gospel to the unconverted. Throughout scripture believers are admonished to know who false teachers are and to denounce them and how can this be done unless one knows what correct teaching is. Thus is imperative of the elders of a church to preach and teach the word of God to its fullest. Scott Brown wrote a good article entitled: Preaching the Word in the Family Integrated Church that speaks on how we need to make sure that the Word of God does not lose its right place in the life of the church even in a Family Integrated Church.

As I mentioned in the last post on this one of the nine marks of a healthy church was expositional preaching. It is in expositional preaching that not only does the congregation learn the true meaning of particular scriptures but it is also expositional preaching that holds the preacher accountable to the text. If one simply seeks after topics to preach the nature of man will lead him to avoid those texts that are difficult or may simply be controversial. When we preach sequentially through scripture we cannot avoid those areas we may otherwise avoid. This said there are times and situations that may call for topical sermons but they can be done expositionally. Even so the best way to teach scripture is to go through it as it comes and deal with the text as it is presented by God.

Another ministry that is often neglected in the life of the church is that of the “Ministry of Prayer.” In our hurried and busy life we all too often have little time for meaningful prayer. When I say meaningful prayer I am speaking of prayer that is not simply words spoken with eyes closed but prayers that flow from a heart owned by God. I know that this is an area that I sorely need to develop more in as I too often offer up prayers that while sincere are devoid of revealing a heart focused wholly on God. This is an area that I have learned much from the Puritans. When I began reading Valley of Vision and the many prayers and devotions of the Puritans I began to see what can come from a heart that was sold out to God. Prayers that are full and meaningful flow from one who has spent time with God and knows God as more than simply a vending machine that is sought after when we want something. I also think that ones prayer life can be directly affected by how diligent the “ministry of the Word” is done. There is an intimate tie in between prayer and preaching because if we are taught well and completely our prayers can also be more complete.

Yet another important ministry would be the “Ministry of Service.” When I speak of service I am not speaking of the seeming endless list of things churches attempt to do but I am speaking of the heart of the church being to serve. So as with prayer service flows out of a heart that is correctly positioned before God. Service is not the sole job of the deacons as we are all called to serve. We are to serve God first, not because He needs our service but because hearts turned towards Him will desire to do so and as fully as possible. We are also called to serve others rather than to simply be served. The church all too often is filled with people seeking how to be served and with this attitude there is no service done at all. The truth is that if every believer was intent on serving others then everyone’s needs would be met. So the “Ministry of Service” is imperative to the health of the church and needs to be nurtured.

These are very general areas of ministry and there are probably more that I have not mentioned but will probably come up as I continue along. A biblical church needs to function in a biblical way and I think these three ministries are a mainstay of any church. If one is to have a biblical multigenerational, Family Integrated, church we need to make sure it has a firm foundation in God’s word. We also need to make sure that people do not simply seek a multigenerational church because it is a fad or cultural need but because it is what God desires a church to be, as I think it is. We need to be in prayer as to how God desires us to function as a church and how to live daily as a church so prayer is very important to church life. Lastly it is when we are truly willing to serve each other that true church life will take place. So again, these three areas are vitality important if one is to have a vital Family Integrated Church.

Many other areas will flow out of these three such as; evangelism, discipleship, fellowship and many other possible areas. I say they will flow out of these three because it is when we are immersed in the word dedicated to prayer and intent on service that we will do the many other things we are commanded to be by God.

I think the next installment will touch on what the multigenerational aspect of church looks like, or at least looks like to me, in more specific terms.


Caleb Michael said...

Just leting you know that I'm still reading your blog. Thanks for the insight!

Tony said...

Thanks for checking in Caleb. It is just interesting to see who is reading ones blog so again thanks for reading. I pray your flying is going well.

Grace and Peace,