At the most basic level, the family integrated church is one intentionally designed to eliminate unnecessary age-segregated structures from the church’s ministry. Children typically attend all of the corporate worship gatherings with their parents rather than attending a separate children’s ministry or, in some cases, even a nursery.
Intergenerational discipleship is a core value of the movement. The movement seeks to put the responsibility for disciple-making within the family primarily upon the parents (and particularly fathers), rather than relying on church programs. In fact, the movements tends to elevate family, making church extension of the family.
There are several passages of Scripture to support the family integrated church approach:
- Ephesians 6:1-3, where Paul addresses children is usually appealed to as it appears to assume that children are part of the intended audience (or so argues Paul Renfro in B&H’s book Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views). Renfro also suggests children are a part of the assembly of God’s people in Deut. 31:12.
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is another text often appealed to, notably verse 7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Other Scripture used to support this methodology include 1 Timothy 5:8,16 and Galatians 6:9,10.