If you are not sure what a Family Integrated Church (FIC) is I would suggest you listen to this MP3. There are many that may claim some form of Family Integration but being Family Integrated is much more than the name that is used. I have found that since we started our FIC, Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship, I have found many that misunderstand what we are about. There are those that mistakenly see this as simply about having everyone in a service together and having a disproportional focus on the family. Others simply do not get it and don’t like the concept as it does shake up the current segregated paradigm church has been in for some time. Then there are churches that see a need to use the moniker of being Family Integrated but do not really understand the motivation, direction and mission that many of those that seek a change in the church that would hold to being family integrated as Scott reveals. So, again, the following is a short overview of Scott’s talk and I would pray that you would listen to his talk and learn what being an FIC really is.
WHAT IS A FAMILY INTEGRATED CHURCH
The church is the body of Christ and we are to act as such and to do that which most glorifies God. So the idea of Family Integration is only one element of the church, or as Scott says it is one piece of the puzzle. I would have to say it is a piece sorely missing and one that needs to be restored to make the church all it can be. The “foundation and preservation of the FIC is fidelity to the Doctrine of Scripture.” That is to say this is not about new ideas, it is not, but it is about being true to what scripture proclaims and not adding to it as seems best to us.
Scott then gives 14 characteristics of an FIC and any comments I make will be italics underneath each point:
1. It is an orthodox church that is faithful to biblical theology and practices.
- Key here is that the goal is that the church would not only practice orthodoxy (right doctrine) but also orthopraxy (right practice).
2. The FIC seeks to see families worship together.
- It has been claimed that the FIC is only about families and some of that may be a perception from the name as well as the fact that FICs probably do preach on families more than other churches.
- This is not due to an inordinate focus on families by most churches so this does make FICs seem like they speak more on families.
- But it is true that we do as FICs seek to see families reunited in the worship of God in the corporate setting as well as worshipping together in private.
3. Singles are incorporated into the full spectrum of church life. (1 Cor. 7)
- FICs do have a place for singles. It may not be as the other churches see it by segregating them. The plan for the FIC is to match up singles with families so they can grow and learn about God’s plan for them with regards to families
4. Fathers are being equipped to be spiritual leaders of their homes.
- This is one of those areas that is most missed by the segregation of the families
- By taking the responsibility of discipling away and giving it to “trained professionals” we have helped to diminish and in some places eradicate the role of fathers that scripture reveals
5. Biblical roles and jurisdictions are in order. (Rom. 13)
- The church has roles and order in them and the goal of all churches should be to seek these out and follow them in both the church and in the civil realm.
6. Children are not isolated but incorporated as full participants in the life of the church.
- This is probably clear already that children are to be treated as an integral part of the church and to participate as they can in the group setting and not simply among their peers.
7. Biblical youth ministry is implemented.
- This is not youth ministry as the world sees it but it is ministry that fathers are equipped to do and then allowed to do
8. FICs seek to see wives functioning according to their biblical complimentarian roles as helpers to their husband and nurturers of the children in the home.
- This is again about God’s order for the family and not man’s idea of how things should be.
- We are to seek to have women, and for that matter men as well, to fulfill their God given roles as all of scripture reveals them to be.
9. Biblical offices and biblical requirements for church leaders are applied.
- The FIC seeks to again follow biblical guidelines in being led by such offices as Elders and Deacons as God’s word describes them
10. Family integration as a principle guides programs for equipping and evangelism. (Acts 21)
- The idea of being a FIC that does things differently than other ministries and churches does not negate that discipleship and evangelism is done. It may look different but it is accomplished as God’s word shows it to be done.
11. The household and hospitality are the center of community ministry.
- The family becomes a source of hospitality to the others in the church and to the world and thus is a vital ministry that is missed in churches that segregate the church.
12. The ministry is not primarily programmatic but relational.
- This is not about programs but about the relationships that form in families and between others in the church family, of all ages. What forms is truly a multigenerational church family that if the church today was honest is missing.
13. The fatherless are brought into the mainstream of church and family life. (Job 29)
- A large part of the FIC ministry is to bring fathers back to their biblical roles as family leaders
- For too long the church has, although often unwittingly, enabled men to vacate their positions as leaders of their families by supplanting their role
- The FIC seeks to equip men to regain their place as the leaders of their families and in biblical leadership in the church
14. Multigenerational faithfulness is promoted.
- Lastly this point covers many of the previous points in that while the name Family Integrated rightly shows a focus on family, church and individual, the true picture of the FIC is that it is multigenerational in both the church family life and the family life of the individual church members
I pray that you can see that in each of the characteristics above the FIC is to seek out God’s word as being sufficient to reveal what His church is to look like for His people for all time. The FIC is the “result of the architecture of God’s church” and not man’s ever changing whims. So whether you may or may not agree with the Family Integrated Church I would hope you would better see that this is simply a movement to seek out how God desires His church to be built. I also realize that in any movement that sees God’s plan for his church in one way that is opposed to another person’s method there is conflict. But I would pray that in all things the goal is to be as faithful to all of God’s word as we can be. My conclusion after much prayer, study and reflection is that while not perfect the FIC is truly attempting to be the church God desires to have worship and glorify him.
I pray that you would not simply take my thoughts on Scott’s talk but would listen to it yourself as he does an excellent job of proclaiming what we in the FIC are truly trying to achieve: God’s Glory. Here is the link to the MP3 again: What is a Family Integrated Church?
Thanks to my wife, Donna, for writing down the points as I listen to much of what I hear while driving to and from work and it is not only hard but unsafe to to takes notes at that time.