Monday, February 19, 2007

More on a Family Integrated Church Start

I have realized that there is an inherent problem with reading blogs, other than finding the time. The problem is that in general unless you have started reading a particular blog from the beginning you end up reading from the end of a stream of thought to the beginning. This may cause misunderstandings with such things as describing what I see a Family Integrated Church looking like. If someone started at my last installments they may wrongly assume that the main focus of the church is to be the family. While the family is very important, as God designed it, it is not the most important aspect of a local church. The most important thing one is to do when gathering together is to worship God and glorifying His name in all that is done, whether prayer praise or proclamation of His word.

So, I place this post here to encourage any that may misunderstand this to go back to the first article and read forward. Any church that places man first or for that matter any aspect of man’s activities has greatly failed to understand the overall message of the bible. The message of scripture from beginning to end is about Christ and redemptive history. Man has a part in this but only as God has designed him to be and man’s primary purpose is to worship God. Just as with the Israelites in Exodus 7:16, 8:1 & 20, 9:1 & 13 as well as 10:3 God desires us today to serve Him and going to church, the local gathering of believers, for any other reason is missing the point of worship.

Now this said how we live and act is also worship so another aspect of the church gathering is to equip believers to better worship God in their daily lives. This is where the family comes into play as scripture does not delegate the nurture of families to the church but the church is to equip the families to disciple their own members with the father to generally take the leadership role in this(Eph 6:4). So for us to worship God in a manner that glorifies his name we must also disciple in a manner that is in accordance with God’s word and that is primarily through the family.

This focus on the family as the main discipling entity of the church often leads to another mistaken understanding regarding the Family Integrated Church, that it is only for “typical” families. While I cannot deny that the family today falls far short of God’s desire that does not mean that a family that has been hurt by sin, as truly all families are, cannot still function as a family. I would even say that singles can function as part of a family in a local church and thus are not left out of this process. Probably one of the biggest differences in an FIC and other churches is that the goal is not for the church to do the discipling, per say, but for the church to equip the people to disciple their families as God has put them.

While much of worship would appear the same with some other orthodox biblical churches the difference you would see is everyone from the youngest to oldest worshiping God together and encouraging and exhorting each other. The elder teaching the younger and the younger serving the older in such a manner to further give God glory. Through this multigenerational aspect of worship I believe a much richer fellowship will be developed that brings greater glory to God.

I hope it is clear that even though I may refer to a “Family Integrated Church” it is only so as to differentiate a way of doing church that I think is the most biblical. I wish there was no need to even use such terms as FIC because it was accepted and every church worshipped God in this manner but it is not so and thus terms are often used to distinguish how one goes about worshipping God.

Past Posts on the Family Integrated Church

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Church Start Part 1

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