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Take this survey about your family’s spiritual life!

Sojourn parents, please take some time to take this quick survey for my friend Dr. Timothy Paul Jones.  Just follow this link:

http://www.familyministrytoday.com/

Dr. Jones is asking church ministry leaders at various churches to conduct this survey.  I’ll publish the results of the survey once he finishes compiling them.

Memory Monday (07/06/09)

Psalm 100:1-3

(Scripture memory for
the School of Word and Art)

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

What is “Memory Monday”? Each week I’ll post Scripture and/or Bible doctrine memory work from the previous Sunday’s children’s Bible lessons. Here is the challenge! Learn the memory work together as a family. Then, kids, come to our Sunday gatherings next week and recite the memory work to Mrs. Kelsey Barnes (St. Matthews campus), Mr. David Kidd (Germantown campus) or me to receive a reward.

Join me at the The Gospel, Counseling, and the Church conference!

Mark Prater is a pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church of Glen Mills, PA, part of the Sovereign Grace network.  He’s also one of the featured breakout speakers for our upcoming conference The Gospel: Counseling & The Church.  Mark is part of the leadership team for the gospel-centered, family-equipping ministry to children and students at Covenant Fellowship.   In the video below, Pastor Mark shares why he feels you will benefit from this conference.  I’ll be live blogging these two break out sessions here at the SojournKids site.   Come join me as I learn from these leaders in family ministry.  For more info about the conference check out http://counseling.sojournchurch.com.

Thursday Book Club: The Family Integrated Church

Tuesday/Thursday Book Club:
Perspectives on
Family Ministry

The Family Integrated Church, chapters 5-6

Paul Renfro, Minister of Discipleship at Grace Family Baptist Church, writes as an advocate for the family-integrated model.  He quotes his pastor, Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr., when defining the FIC movement:

The family-integrated church movement is easily distinguishable in its insistence on integration as an ecclesiological principle. … Our church has no youth ministers, children’s ministers, or nursery. We do not divide families into component parts. We do not separate the mature women from the young teenage girls who need their guidance. We do not separate the toddler from his parents during worship. In fact, we don’t even do it in Bible study. We see the church as a family of families (Family Driven Faith, 191-95).

Rather than gathering arond age-directed meetings, Renfro describes the FIC gathering weekly for integrated worship and a family meal.  At Grace Church, the structures are kept simple to allow families time to practice hospitality during the week–along with the integrated services there are weekly integrated small group studies and a monthly men’s meeting (for men ages 12 & up).

Three distinctives unite all family integrated churches: (1) a commitment to age-integrated ministry, (2) a commitment to evangelism and discipleship through the home, and (3) a commitment to calling church leaders who meet the biblical qualification of managing their home in a godly way.

What are the advantages of the family-integrated model?perspectives-on-family-ministry

The model avoids the dangers of perpetuating immaturity and prolonging adolescence that often haunt more traditional “youth group” models.  In addition danger of accentuating a generation gap in the church is also avoided.  Church leaders rely heavily on families (and particularly fathers) to be the primary disciplers of their children.  Moreover, the FIC does “simple church” at its finest.  What a blessing to free one’s people to grow as families and do relational neighborhood evangelism.

What are the disadvantages?

Renfro admits that one of the great difficulties of FIC is transitioning a church to this model.   But those who criticize this model wonder whether or not the difficulty of transitioning could be due to poor ecclesiology.  A church is not a “family of families” but in reality the “family of God.”  Moreover, it seems that the FIC model blunts gospel-centered missional ministry to those steeped in contemporary youth culture.  The abundance of home-schooled families attracted to the model testify to its inherently separatistic bent.  What is missed is that every church “contextualizes” and even “segregates” (Grace Church’s men’s only meeting), but the gospel calls us to a more flexible missional posture.

So, what do you think?  What are your opinions of the FIC?

More Practical Help and Encouragement:

School of Word & Art–Can you help with a few remaining needs?

Here are a few of the remaining needs for our VBS/School of Word & Art.  Please email vbs@sojournchurch.com if you can help out with these immediate needs:

  • Snacks: We’re looking for a community group or group of ladies to adopt the snacks station on one or two days of VBS.   This will involve preparing snacks for the kids and the adult workers and cleaning up afterwards.  You will be reimbursed for supplies.   It won’t involve being at VBS the entire time.  Some days have already been adopted, so sign up quick to get your choice.
  • Crafts: We need a team of 5-10 people to help prepare crafts every day. The greatest need will be immediately before and after the VBS day—setting up and getting prepped for the next day’s work, but we’ll welcome anyone who wants to stay for the craft time as well.
  • Floaters: We also need 5-10 people that could serve as floaters during the week—lending a helping hand in classes where we have larger numbers than expected or our regular teachers need a break.