Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There is Nothing New About Family Integrated Worship

I was contemplating the other day how often I have to define what a Family Integrated Church (FIC) is. This usually stems from either a misconception that the church is only for families or that that is all that is taught about. I assume that there are probably FICs out there that do teach primarily on the family, possibly at the expence of other areas, and that may make those that do not have the ideal family unwelcome but I do not know any of those personally.

What came to mind was that the whole idea of the FIC is not a new concept but an old one. Up until not many years ago most churches would not contemplate segregating families. But, as with many things, we as a culture have so assumed the world’s view of generations needing to be separated that what was once normal for centuries in the life of the church is now seen as some new idea. What truly should be happening is that people should have to explain, from a Biblical perspective, why church is to be segregated rather than those that worship multigenerationally explaining their stand to no end.

When I speak to people about worship services that include children and that I do not favor youth groups the persons eyes widen as this is usually seen as going too far. How can one worship with little children squirming in their seats, do they really squirm more than most adults, and with the possibility of interruptions is what crosses their minds. When the topic of Youth group arises the same incredulous look arises as Youth Groups have become so much the norm that I think people must think Jesus went to youth group and that Paul started as a youth leader.

I say all of this simply to say that the whole idea of Family Integrated worship is not new, is Biblical, and I feel most emulates how we will worship in heaven. When Jesus returns and calls us home we will not be ushered into heaven simply to be divided up by age group, life situation or some other category but we will all worship God together. Should we not strive to do so now? Should we not strive to experience the Kingdom of God as we are able now in anticipation of the culmination of the Kingdom of God when Christ returns? Let us not let the world and the culture it creates dictate how we worship our God and creator but let God dictate how we worship Him.


Paulette said...

Hi Tony,

This is so true. I think we also underestimate our children's understanding at an early age. Katie was to sing at her school's church service Sunday AM, the kids were also to stay for the whole service! What no children's service? These children are ages K-8th grade, how will they be able to sit in an "adult" setting for 1 1/2 hours? (Some of us might ask). To tell you the truth, I didn't know how Katie would do, you know Katie! I was so pleased that when the service was over she said she really liked the message the Pastor gave! Wow, now that is the Holy Spirit working. We should not underestimate God's message or Words spoken. Katie also said she would like to sit in church with us instead of going to her Youth Class! Again, wow!
I enjoy your blog.

Tony said...

Hi Paulette:

Thanks for the comments. It is so true that we as adults so often under estimate what children understand. Another issue is we somehow think that if children do not understand as clearly as we do then having them there is a waste of time. If all that children got out of worshiping with adults was to learn by observation how to worship, I think they get way more than that, it is still beneficial for them to worship with adults.

Again, good to hear from you.