I do not (did not) have a personal objection to my children being in the worship service with me. The reality is, that our church was low in resources (people) to meet the demands for nursery and Sunday School for every age group in both the SS and worship hours. We did spend some time trying to figure out the best solution.
So, I talked about it. Quite a bit.
The conclusion that I have come to is there is not one thing inherently wrong with choosing to keep your children with you in service.
And there is not one thing inherently wrong with choosing to take your children to Sunday School or your little ones to a well-equipped nursery.
Keep in mind, that most folks who balk at the church nursery are more than willing to place their young ones in the care of friends and family on occasion.
So with that in mind, I will start with a basic introduction to this church model through the lens of Voddie Baucham. Here, in his own words, he gives an overview:
The Family Integrated Church is a church that is intentionally designed without age-segregated structures. Family Integrated Church come in all shapes, sizes, all denominations. But the one distinguishing characteristic common in Family Integrated Churches is that lack of age-segregated structures, and therefore, an emphasis on discipleship in and through homes.
So the family, the home, becomes the mechanism for discipleship within the context of the local church — as opposed to the church that would say that the mechanism for discipleship in the church is various age-group ministries: For this part of your life you disciple here, for that part of your life you disciple there, for that part of.... The Family Integrated Church is the opposite of that in its structure.
Sounds good. Makes sense. Let's break it down.
Here, Voddie gives "three basic flaws with systematic age-segregation":
1.) It's not found in scripture. He says, you can't go to the Bible and come away with this "young adults," "medium adults," "married", --you can't go to the Scriptures and come away with that kind of segregation as a church model.
2.) That kind of age segregation has proven to be detrimental to the biblical model of family discipleship.
3.) It hasn't worked. We're losing young people at a rate of somewhere between 70-80 percent by the end of their freshman year in college. What we're doing doesn't work.These "flaws" were listed in an interview with Motte Brown published in May 2008. In all fairness, I have great respect for Voddie Baucham and his passion for preaching the Word of God. The motive behind this movement was an intentional move towards reforming the church family and moreover the family in church. His experience with the church youth group and the ever-growing number of disgruntled and/or apathetic parents were a catalyst for his passion to unite the family.
Again ... all good.
But isn't there also a disdain within the Reformed Church against the evangelical Big Church for creating "niches"that are catering to a particular group of people? We are quick to hurl accusations of "pragmatism" at these churches because they are willing to compromise the actual Word of God in order to accomplish and set in place their own personal preference or agenda.
Enter - The Family Integrated Church.
To be continued...