Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Family Integrated Church

http://www.allposters.com/
I thought that I had nothing to say today, until I went bowling. See, bowling has a greater purpose than just the physical exercise it affords. For me it is a place to connect with my fellow homeschool moms, a place of encouragement and sharing. Today was like that. A friend who was there was sharing some of her struggles. Is she doing enough with her kids, comparing herself to a relative that homeschools, working alongside her pastor husband to bring about change in their church. Her husband has been lead by God to desire a family inclusive service. He didn't even know there was a "name" for it - he found that out as he was doing research online.
I had to smile. I am always amazed by God. He lead my husband and I to desire that about 10 years ago, and since then we have kept our kids in the church service with us. I can be a difficult thing, especially at around 18 months old for children. They don't realize they shouldn't talk to you or their siblings! It is also difficult when your church feels like children should be in the nursery and children's church. Why would you want your kids in the church service with you? They don't get it. I know that they have good intentions. Some people who might bring their children into the service, do not teach their children to sit quietly and pay attention. (This really hurts the rest of us who do) They don't want the noisy kids to be a distraction, and we all know they can be. However, what about the teens chatting away or the adult who is determined to open that mint at all costs!!!
For thousands of years people have worshipped God together as families. In the Old Testament is speaks of all the people standing at the entrance of their tents, to hear from Moses, the Word of the LORD. It specifically states, young and old, children and nursing infants.
I stand in awe to see how God works in families to bring them to this place. We know about 5 or 6 families, who have been lead by God to this, each in their own time and in God's way. We didn't all attend the same church, we are from different denominations even.
Family integrated churches seek to have the family worship together. To have the children see their parents sitting under the teaching of the Word. To hear the Word together. To encourage father's in their role as leader of the home, to teach their families during the week as well.
Our family stays at the dinner table while Tim reads the Bible. We discuss it, ask questions. It is a good time - but not fussy or formal.
We do not go to a family integrated church. Maybe we never will. But I believe that God has placed us in the church we are at, for a purpose.
I wrote this post because of how awed I was at the way God had lead my friend and her family. How God lead my friend Becky and her church to make their fellowship a family integrated church. I don't really want to argue about it, but I am willing to have thoughtful discussion.

4 comments:

  1. It amazes me to see how the Lord has been leading. He has used you to help me understand what it is that I have been hungry for. We have ended up coming to this conclusion after years of seeking His will for our congregation...imagine my pleasant surprise to find others who were being led the same way.

    I loved the conversation today with our mutual friend. I hope she and her husband find peace in the journey of leading a church together.

    Becky K.

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  2. My parents have adopted 3 kids (18, 17 and 10) and they have church at the local nursing homes - all together. No special classes for the kids. And the kids get just as excited and my parents do over the saving of just one soul! Even though my husband, kids and I attend a church and the kids do go to their respective classes, I still think that a family sitting together for services can be a great thing. My 10 year old has a difficult time connecting with the kids in his class so, unless we are teaching his class, he usually sits with us. I applaud your commitment! Blessings... Polly

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  3. Hi Aunt Deanna,
    I just found this artical on family church...

    http://rubies.articledirectoree.com/articles/family-life/should-children-be-in-church-60.html

    You may have already seen it but i thought i'd send it to you just in case you hadn't.

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  4. I say a "hearty" amen to this article, Melissa!

    We have seen remarkable difference in our children. An early maturing, that is in part to them being in the church with us.

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