Growing Believers into Missionaries to Our Community
Through
Worshiping God
Being Family
Learning the Bible

Who Invented the Family?

God, of course.
 

Who invented age segregation?

Man.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have age segregation in our churches. Age segregation has always been around.

But so has sin. That doesn’t justify it being in the church. We need to discern what is really in God's will.



Let's Define Our Terms

“Traditional Church”- or TC- is where the family walks into the building and the children go to Sunday school, children’s church, and youth ministry while the adults go to the sanctuary for “real church.”

“Family Integrated Church”- or FIC- is where the entire congregation worships and learns in the same room, at the same time.

A TC sorts people according to age.
A FIC sorts people according to family.

A TC needs a sanctuary, fellowship hall, kitchen, bathrooms, and a classroom for each group (often more than 50% of the needed square footage of the facilities) as well as a Sunday School curriculum budget.
A FIC needs a sanctuary, fellowship hall, kitchen and bathrooms. Their “educational groups” meet in their own homes.

A TC assigns a “staff member” to teach each sorted group (class).
A FIC assigns the parents to teach each group. (Or more accurately, acknowledges that God has assigned the parents to teach the children.)
 

Both train and equip their teachers to do their job.

In a TC, you don’t know who is teaching your child or what they are teaching them. It may not be the same thing you believe.
In a FIC, you know exactly what your child is taught in church because you are sitting right next to them. And you know exactly who is teaching them.

In a TC, many people (often new converts) miss the sermon and worship because they are babysitting, uhhh, teaching the children.
Not so in a FIC. The whole family is worshiping together. Further teaching is done at home.
 
There is no direct biblical support for TC, and any indirect support is iffy at best.
There is a great deal of biblical support for the family to be the main educational unit in a child’s life and for a child to receive an exclusively Christian education;
  • Deuteronomy 6:7, “Teach [My Words] unto your children talking of them when you do your errands in town, rest in the evening, get ready for the day, and do your day’s work.” (In other words; Every Waking Moment.)
  • Ephesians 6:4, “Parents, don’t frustrate your children but bring them up in the education and culture of the Lord.”
  • Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, … And teach [My Laws] to your children and your grandchildren,”
  • Deuteronomy 11:19 “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
  • Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
  • Jeremiah 10:2 “Thus says the LORD: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;…” (Don’t even know about what goes on in the unsaved culture)
  • Psalm 1: 2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates DAY AND NIGHT.” (This includes school hours).
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing EVERY THOUGHT into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” (Even math thoughts)
  • Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
  • Luke 6:40 “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained (finished with his schooling) will be like his teacher.” (and if his teacher isn’t a Christian…)
  • Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, …
  • Matthew 16:23 “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not MINDFUL OF THE THINGS OF GOD, but the things of men.”
  • Colossians 3:1 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
  • Matthew 22:37-38 “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment.”

The Affects of Non-Christian Associations

  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (Christian kids do not bring their unsaved peers to the Lord very often. Not even in Sunday School)
  • Proverbs 13:20 “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Remember that “the fool says in his heart there is no God.” Ps 14:3-1 So anyone who walks with, or spends time with, someone who doesn’t acknowledge God is on the path to destruction.)
Can't tell you how many heartbroken moms talk about losing their children to the world through the influence of unsaved kids in the youth group.

The Content of True Education

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (What more do you need from an education?)
  • Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (True education BEGINS with the fear of God; the fear of God is its foundation. But atheists despise true knowledge.)
  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” (The foundation of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Our schools are lacking the very foundation of wisdom or knowledge.)
  • Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;”
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
  • James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
  • Psalm 119:97-101 “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.” (The Bible is what makes us wiser, not degrees on the wall)
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
  • Matthew 6:33 “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS (including a good education) shall be added to you.”

Children Belong to God

  • Ezekiel 16:21 “that you have slain MY CHILDREN and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire?”
When asked whose image is on the tax coin, the people answer (Matthew 22:21)
“ ‘Caesar's.’ 
 Then saith He unto them, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”
Caesar’s image was carved on the money. Render the tax coin to Caesar.
Our children are carved in the image of God. Give them to God, not Caesar.

We can not be surprised when we send our children to Rome for their education and they come out Romans.

We can not be surprised when we use Rome’s methods in our Sunday Schools and we find our churches to be ineffective.




God charges parents in these verses with providing His children that He has entrusted to their care a Christian education and culture.

The church is charged with helping the parents, not taking their place with Sunday School and not ignoring them when life prevents them from homeschooling. It is the church’s job to help the parents achieve God’s commands in their lives.
 

Look at the Numbers

Children who grow up in Christian homes, TC, and public school have a retention rate of 15%. (15% stay in church into adulthood)
Children who grow up in Christian homes and FIC have a retention rate of 80%.

Children who are homeschooled have a retention rate of 96%

Combine homeschooling and FIC and you get very close to 100% who stay in church.
 

Why?

1. God is capable of speaking to our children without a Sunday School teacher’s help. We don’t need a high priest anymore. We can go straight to God ourselves and that holds true for our children, too.

Children treated like adults, by being left with the adults to worship like adults, will grow up with an adult faith.

Children taught on a “child’s level” will always have an immature faith, if they even stay in church.


2. When we do things different than God’s plain spoken will, God will not bless it.

There was a time when every believing family had devotions at breakfast and suppertime everyday. The USA was born in these households.

Then came TV. 
Now we “don’t have the time."

And anyway, "their youth leader/Sunday school teacher is doing that stuff.”

It is the church’s responsibility to teach the parents and the parent’s responsibility to teach the children.

Doing it God’s way makes the parents learn better and faster, bonds the family together and has more lasting results.




3. Children’s programs remove the father from headship over the children. In fact, since most of these programs are staffed by women, it feminizes them making our boys see religion as a “girl thing.”

No wonder our churches are now mostly women!




4. Age-segregation creates adult-a-lecents; “children” who never grow up.

It creates its own subcultures within each age group and looses the wisdom of the previous generations. This is why the increase of people in their 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s still living with Mommy.
 

History

“Sunday School” was invented in the 1800’s.

In England at this time, there were no compulsory school attendance laws. Since they did not have the history of literacy given to us Americans by the pilgrims, this meant that the children of the poor often worked instead of going to school and their parents were too illiterate themselves to teach them.

Methodists began teaching READING on most poor children’s only day off- Sunday. This allowed them to read the Bible for themselves.

It was a wonderful ministry and resulted in a vast increase in the Christian church.

They brought “Sunday School” to America where it quickly spread also, making a real difference in the lives of illiterate immigrants.




It was about this time that America began to pass compulsory attendance laws. Before this, it was the norm for a truly Christian family to read the Bible, sing hymns, and pray together every day.

Also, since most parents simply taught their children themselves (with a 98% literacy rate, compared to today’s official 85% [but suspected 75% or lower] rate), they would use the most important Book in the house as their main textbook (Since the average book at this time cost more than a week’s salary, it may even have been the only book, though eyewitnesses of the time claim the majority of homes also had a Euclid’s Geometry and it wasn’t unusual to find a law book or two).

Penmanship assignments would be copying Scripture on slates.

Memorization would be verses, (One family I read about required one verse be memorized every DAY! That’s nearly 4000 verses memorized by the end of a ten-year education!)

And each child would have an actual Bible study to do every day, often learning Greek and Hebrew in order to research the original meaning of the Word,




With the new school laws, these children were forced into schools- against their parent’s wishes (often at gun point)- during their best hours of the day.

The schools continued the Bible studies and the parents, not wanting to overwork their children, quit theirs at home.

By the next generation or so, radio was invented and families would gather around it instead of the Bible after meals. After all, the children were learning all the Bible stuff at school and more and more churches were having Sunday schools, which were teaching the Bible now, instead of reading.

In this way, the children were being taught that it was the church’s and school’s job to teach the children, especially the Bible. These children became the next generation of parents and grandparents.

Then came TV and the court rulings removing prayer and Bible from the schools.

Today, we honestly think a parent has fulfilled his job of “bringing up his child in the culture and education of the Lord” if he doesn’t steal, cuss or cheat and drives his child to church once per week for a one hour Bible class.

Classic divide and conquer tactics.

Satan did a good job of it, didn’t he?
 

How Our Church Works

Everyone worships together (From our 94 year old grandma to the babies). Then someone gives a basic Bible lesson to the children, but in the sanctuary with everyone else (many adults need these lessons as much or more than the children).

The parents bring quiet toys or books for the littlest ones to use during service and diligently teach them to be still.

Older children are encouraged to listen and take notes on the sermon.

Youngers learn from olders, olders get perspective from youngers.

Singles, marrieds and retireds aren't that different. They all are learning how to serve God to the best of their ability with what they have, helping each other.




Regular fellowship outside the church is encouraged (“I'm going out to eat and then the park after church. Anyone want to come?” “I'm renting movies Friday. Why don't you come over and watch them with me?” and of course “Sister Smith needs her front lawn mowed and her house painted. Let's go do that Saturday.”)

The church is structured like a family and functions like an extended family. This provides more cohesion in the church and more accountability to individuals. There is more available wisdom to all of us, and more security that we are loved and not just an assignment.

It is the difference between a fast food restaurant (TC) and a community (FIC).

Family devotions are encouraged.

 
It is the parent’s duty to teach their children.
The church helps parents to learn to teach their own children at home.

After all, even the best Sunday school program can’t counter in one or two hours everything a child picks up during thirty or more hours of school plus time in front of the TV, (though we also strongly encourage parents to take full responsibility for their children’s education through homeschooling.)

What about new converts who don’t know enough to teach their children?

It doesn’t take a theology degree to read a chapter out of the Bible and pray each evening. We teach new converts that they should come to church regularly and tithe. We just need to add “read your Bible to your children every day.”

The family can learn together.

What about children who come without their unsaved parents?

They can be “adopted” during the duration of the service by one of the established families in the church.

They can learn from the same sermons and songs as everyone else and be encouraged to start reading the Bible daily for themselves (as we all should anyway).

They are encouraged to ask questions and are given resources as needed. Honestly, this makes us work even harder to connect with the parents and get them to God.
 

Won't Children Disturb the Service?

“Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

When we exclude the children from “real” church, we are also excluding the Kingdom Of Heaven.

Very young children can be taught to sit still in service. After all, they are expected to sit still for a whole three-hour kindergarten class and often sit through two-hour movies. They are capable of doing the same in church. They just have to be taught.

Additionally, the congregation needs to become more tolerant. Children are part of God’s kingdom.

Conclusion

Children who grow up having family devotions, learning the Word at the feet of their father and worshiping with their families have a more realistic view of God’s relationship to the church.

When children grow up with a Christian education, they grow up knowing that God is in every aspect of life.

When children grow up worshiping and learning with adults, they grow up knowing that religion is for adults.

They also grow up knowing how important God and the Bible is.

When we follow God’s plan, we get godly children.