WHAT IS A FAMILY INTEGRATED CHURCH?
A family integrated church is simply a church that seeks to worship and minister as much as possible with families together. We believe age segregation tends to hinder and impede spiritual growth and maturity. The family is the first institution ordained by God in Genesis, and is a critical building block of the Church of Christ . Today’s modern churches in their ministry approach separate families; and although their desire may be to strengthen families, this approach undermines them. We believe the primary responsibility for Biblical training has been given to the spiritual head of each household. We encourage men to teach God’s Word in their homes every day (Deut 6:6-9, Eph 6:4).
The doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture leads us to look to the Bible not only for theological issues, but for methodology. Much of the methodology used in the modern church comes from the last 50 to 100 years of church history, and is based on traditions of men and humanistic philosophies. Another way of explaining family integrated churches is to compare them to old fashioned country churches where the focus is on preaching the Word of God, and families are encouraged to “live out the gospel”.
WHAT DO THE CHILDREN DO DURING THE SERVICES?
The children will worship God with their parents. This does pose challenges to parents who are not used to worshiping or attending Bible studies with their children. We believe that the modern church culture has underestimated the ability of children to learn from a young age. Even very young children, who cannot understand everything, learn when they worship with their parents and see God working in their parent’s lives.
We realize that this is not always easy, but God’s way is not always the easiest way, and with patience this will bear much fruit. Parents will be encouraged to elaborate on the teachings each Sunday, and to make the teaching relevant to the lives of their children and families.
WHAT KINDS OF CHURCH PROGRAMS WILL YOU OFFER?
We believe age segregated programs are detrimental to the family, the church, and even the unsaved in many ways. Here are some examples:
· Programs separate the family during their time at church.
· A church with many programs also keeps the family separated during the week by requiring evenings away from home.
· Programs directly and indirectly take up a large percentage of a church’s budget. Expenses can range from the curriculum needed for all the different ages to the “need” for new buildings and classrooms to house the programs and activities.
· The scriptures illustrate the home as being the center for hospitality, evangelism, discipleship, prayer meetings and other ministry opportunities. Today’s approach is to minister “at church.”
· Children miss the blessing of learning from their parents. This privilege and responsibility is often passed on to the church staff or lay leaders.
· Also, spontaneous opportunities for ministries are often neglected by a busy, program oriented church. For example, if one has to be at church three or four nights a week, the desire and energy to be able to minister and meet a need in one’s own neighborhood is usually avoided because of the many commitments to church.
WHAT ABOUT YOUTH GROUPS?
We believe that the modern (20th century only) practice of separating children from their parents is producing poor, unfruitful results. For example, there is a documented high rate of promiscuity in youth groups. It has also been documented that a very high percentage of those active in youth groups do not stay in the church after they leave the youth group. The largest group of people missing from the pews of American churches today is the 19-29 age group. If the youth group approach is a false hope and the results (or lack their of) prove this.
The modern myth of “adolescence” is just that, a myth. Children do not have to go through a stage of rebellion. The word teenager is a recent, modern term. It was never contemplated until modern humanistic principals (in the last 50 years) sought to challenge the biblical view of children staying under the authority of their parents and learning to honor and obey them.
The Bible also teaches that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; that a companion of fools will be foolish; and to flee youthful lusts. Youth groups tend to encourage and foster immaturity, peer dependency, a spirit of rejecting parental authority – all in the name of ministry. This results in young people who are more concerned with being accepted by their peers than they are of being taught and trained by their parents
Age segregated teaching also clearly has its origin in evolutionary, humanistic, and non-biblical methodology. Instead of placing our youth into a peer group separated from their older, wiser parents, we believe in adhering to the biblical model. This scriptural teaching is found in Deutoronomy 6, where fathers are responsible for the ministry to youth. And if you read that passage, you’ll see that it should be a ministry that occurs seven days a week. This is one of many examples of the danger of the Church not recognizing its jurisdiction. Whenever jurisdiction is overstepped, it either creates conflict, or causes one party to nullify their responsibilities within that jurisdiction.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN A FAMILY TO ATTEND?
All persons are welcome at Heritage - single, married, grandparents, youth, young adults and children. In fact, with the Bible’s emphasis on multi-generational vision, we look forward to diversity in age in our congregation. Those young people who do not have an active father in the family are welcomed too. Our church families are encouraged to open their homes to them, bring them to church, and to disciple them, as they should do with anyone God brings into their life. Psalm 68:6 says, “God setteth the solitary in families…”
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE OF WORSHIP?
Heritage is a distinctively conservative Bible believing church that believes that the worship service should be centered on God, and the expository preaching of the Word of God. This means that we will be first of all Christ Centered. We have communion every Sunday. We also believe that the worship service should be a sanctuary from the world. We sing primarily hymns, traditional and modern. The music with which we worship will reflect those concerns, with the purpose of directing us toward God, and away from ourselves and the world.