“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40
Family Integrated Churches come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. There are FICs in virtually every denominational and theological tradition, and in most sections of the country. While no two FICs are exactly alike, they do have certain distinctive in common.
Families Worship Together
If you’ve ever walked into an FIC during a worship service, perhaps the first thing that struck you was the fact that there were so many babies and small children in the service. We have grown accustomed to the presence of children in the service, and the children grow accustomed to being a part of the worship experience. No one will stop you at the door if you try to enter our service with your toddler.
No Systematic Age Segregation
One of the biggest distinctions of an FIC is the absence of age-graded ministries. We do not have a segregated youth ministry or children’s ministry. First, these ministries are not part of the biblical church model. The Bible is clear on whose job it is to disciple children… parents. Second, these ministries can work against the biblical model. Parents who are relieved of their discipleship duties tend to become dependent on those who have taken over the job. And, as Dr. Alvin Reid has noticed, “The largest rise of youth professionals in history has been accompanied by a decline in youth evangelism effectiveness.”
Evangelism/Discipleship Through Homes
We teach parents to evangelize and disciple their children and their neighbors. We emphasize the ministry of hospitality, family worship, catechism, and family discipleship. Thus, instead of placing the burden on paid professionals to “do the work of the ministry,” we equip the saints to do it.
Education as a Key Component of Discipleship
Jesus said, “A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Whoever educates a child is disciplining that child. We work hard to help parents see the importance of Christian education and to help them make biblical choices as it relates to this part of their children’s discipleship.
*This description of family integration was written from Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.