Monday, July 23, 2007

Family Driven Faith – Chapter 10 - A Radical Departure From the Norm

Voddie ends Family Driven Faith by revealing what he feels is in the future with regards to the gathered church and the practice of Family Driven Faith. He reveals how he came to struggle with the church and the paradigm that it was and is still in. A paradigm that was not equipping parents to parent as God decrees but in reality was in many ways unhealthy for families. I would add that the paradigm of the church today has a proclivity to advertise itself as “Family Friendly” but at the end of the day is truly anything but. He also deals with what is termed “family-based” ministries and how while they are a step in the right direction there is still a gulf between what they propose and what a family-integrated ministry would propose as methods and practices of ministry.

He sets out to describe some distinctives of the Family-Integrated Church. From personal experience I have found the title. Family-integrated, is often misunderstood or misapplied so I think Voddie’s desire to set out some distinctives is a good way to end this book. The first of those distinctives is that in Family-Integrated Churches (FIC) “Families Worship Together” and this is through all age groups. While the church today sees “corporate worship being a largely adult affair” the FIC sees worship as being most glorifying to God when it is multigenerational and when families are brought together to worship rather than separated.

The second distinctive is that in the FIC there is “No Systematic Segregation.” A hallmark of the modern church is the belief that people are best ministered to by being segregated into some form of age or life situation group. The FIC seeks to keep people together simply because it is first biblical and secondly since it is biblical God uses the multigenerational aspect to help all believers grow. It is here that Voddie makes sure that he reader understands the difference between the FIC and the family-based Youth ministry and he does so not just by conjecture and observation but also by quotes from those that propose this type of youth ministry.

Thirdly, a distinctive is in seeing “Evangelism and Discipleship in and Through Homes.” This probably irks many in the modern church that has so programatized evangelism as this will sound too easy for it to be effective. But, Voddie points out that if we do not evangelize our own children we have missed our primary calling. The church needs to equip men to lead families to disciple and this would in and of itself radically change the church.

Another distinctive is the FICs “Emphasis on Education as a Key Component of Discipleship.” Voddie speaks on the fact that while the FIC is not designed for Home School families it is often a natural fit as many of the reasons people homeschool are many of the same reasons for the FIC. In this chapter he also touches on the schooling of our children and this will probably not sit well with some but I would challenge anyone that disagrees with Voddie to not only listen to what he has to say but to really listen what scripture has to say about the education of our children.

Next, Voddie gives some “Guiding Principles of the Family-Integrated Church”. First is that the FIC is to “Promote a Biblical View of Marriage and Family.” We need to head the church away from its secularization of the family and marriage and see it through God’s word and not the world’s view of things. We need to teach from scripture so that instead of families deciding how many children to have by pragmatic principles that instead the church would see children and families through God’s word.

The next principle is that the FIC needs to “Promote Family Worship/Discipleship.” For me this is the one that I, as Voddie confesses to, have been negligent of for far too long. We need to get back to seeing the training of our children to be more than simply sending them off to Sunday School but that we would take the time and effort to accept our God given responsibilities.

Thirdly is that the FIC needs to “Promote Christian Education.” As with one of the distinctives above the area of training our children in a secular world is one we take far too lightly. In some ways this can go for homeschoolers as well as often many simply school at home and not homeschool so that the motives and drives of the world are still evident even in some Christian homeschooling.

Another principle is that the FIC should “Promote Biblically Qualified Leadership.” This speaks of not just finding men that are trained and skilled in preaching and teaching but ones that also meet the requirements of eldership by having their household in order. As Voddie shares, all too often the household of the pastor is the last place that is looked at when seeking to find a leader for a church.

Voddie finishes the book by sharing what is a very important piece of information, which is that the ideas he is proposing are not new and unique. They are simply practices that have been lost over time and replaced with more pragmatic and seemingly successful models. He quotes Richard Baxter from the 1600” who says:

You are not likely to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise future increase.

I would highly recommend this book and while at times Voddie may push a button or two I think they are buttons that need to be pushed. This is not simply a model of church to follow but a paradigm to return to. If I would have one thing to add and that would be one should not simply “do” Family-Integration” because it is novel. One should strive to be a FIC because it is biblical and what, to me, best exemplifies what God has called the church to always be.

Read and Enjoy: Family Driven Faith

Previous chapter reviews:
Chapter 1- The Lay of the Land
Chapter 2- A God with No Rivals
Chapter 3- Learn to Love
Chapter 4- Give Him Your Heart
Chapter 5- Teach the Word at Home
Chapter 6- Live the Word at Home
Chapter 7- Mark the Home as God’s Territory
Chapter 8- Enjoy the Gifts Without Forgetting the Giver
Chapter 9- The Coming Revival: Is the Church Ready for Family Driven Faith?

No comments: