I've been intrigued lately by a new approach to "doing church". It's called the family integrated church. Have you heard of it? Is this the approach your church takes to worshipping?
My friend Shawna has a post about it at her blog We Lift Our Eyes Up. The Accidental Pastor's Wife has also recently reviewed a book called Family Driven Faith that has generated a lot of good discussion in her comments. I believe the book (I haven't read it yet) talks about the family as being the first place we learn to worship and disciple other believers (ie. our kids).
The idea of the family integrated church, from what I understand, encourages family Bible reading, worship, and prayer all week long at home in preparation for the corporate (I really don't like that term but it will have to suffice for now) body worshipping on Sunday. On Sunday children do not attend Sunday School, the whole family sits together, sings together, hears the Word taught together, takes Communion together, and prays together.
What a concept! Instead of dropping your children off in seperate areas and then going into "adult" worship yourself...you stay together as a family. You hear God's word together as a family. Think about it....I mean really think about it. Instead of trying to discern from a Sunday School coloring page what your child might have heard during Sunday School you know for sure. You can go home as a family, together and discuss it, answer questions, apply the word to your lives, together.
I love the idea. And I would love to see how it is worked out practically because, of course, there are questions. What about babies and toddlers? What about early school agers getting bored? What about (gasp) youth groups? (That's another post and another soap box...youth groups I mean.)
This concept of "doing church" also begs the question, "What is the purpose of the church?" Is it there for unbelievers seeking God or is it there to grow and strengthen people who are already believers? Is Sunday School just a tradition of man? Is it what we see in the early church as described in the book of Acts in the New Testament?
A decade ago there was a lot of talk in philosophical circles, business and in the media about a paradigm shift. The American Heritage Student Dictionary (hey it was handy...we're homeschoolers ya know) defines paradigm as "an example of how something should be done or treated; a model." Is it time for the church to make a paradigm shift? Is this the shift it needs to make? Will it better equip the saints (especially our younger saints) to go out into the world and be salt and light? Will it help give our children the solid foundation of a Biblical world view? Will it help us as parents give them that solid foundation?
I know, I know, your saying to yourself, " Good golly she has a lot of questions! Does she have any answers?"
Uhhh, nope.....no answers. I have opinions. That usually goes without saying...I always have opinions. However, on this occasion I am more interested in hearing your thoughts, opinions, ideas and experiences. So take a look at some of the questions I've asked here and tell me what you think. I only ask that you please be kind and use nice language. (This is, after all, a respectable establishment.)