What Is Family Integrated Church?

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.


Prominent Advocates of the Movement

Scott Brown is Director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches. This organization produces books, DVDs and other media defending FIC. It also organizes conferences and is present at many events, particularly those associated with homeschooling. The documentary film Divided is perhaps their most prominent product.

Voddie Baucham may well be the highest profile Christian leader within the movement. Baucham’s Family Driven Faith is an apologetic on the need for family integration—that children are not fully part of the church in the segregated view. Here’s how he puts it in a Boundless interview from 2005:

…in Family Driven Faith, I’m dealing with the front end of the problem. Why are these people leaving in the first place? And one reason that they’re leaving is because they’re not part of the church. They’re part of a systematically segregated subculture in the church. And when they graduate from the high school ministry, where do they go now? Do you go to the big church? “I’ve never been a part of big church. You know, it’s never been real to me before.” They’ve got nothing, you know.

Paul Washer, Joel Beeke and Jeff Pollard are regular speakers at NCFIC events.