15 November, 2007

The Family Disintegrated Church

HARTFORD, CT – Much attention has been made of late about Family Integrated Churches (FIC). In this model, families remain together whenever the church gathers. Regardless of occasion, there is no splitting up of the families for any reason. The FIC model even has its own spokesman in Voddie Baucham.

Many see the FIC model as just a different way to do church. However, others see it as an affront to what the church is trying to accomplish. Pastor Lew Matthews of Corinth Presbyterian (PC-USA) Church told TBNN, “People of all different ages have diverse types of needs as far as discipleship and ministry are concerned. For example, children learn far differently than their parents do. Because of this, they need varied types of instruction. To think that keeping everyone together would benefit anyone is simply silly.”

Assistant Pastor Nelson Wills proudly informed us that the Corinth model is entitled, “The Family Disintegrated Church (FDC).” According to Wills, "We base our model on I Corinthians 13:11, where Paul writes, 'When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.' Also, one of the prophets wrote, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder.'"

Pastor Matthews and the other leaders at Corinth Presbyterian have taken their beliefs about church to new levels. A Sunday morning at Corinth goes something like this: When a family arrives at the church building, they are greeted by FDC “facilitators.” These folks promptly give everyone a color-coded badge based upon their age groupings. Sunday School age breakdowns are birth-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, 15-16, 17-18, 19-22, 23-25, 26-30, 31-33, 34-36, 37-39, 40-43, 44-46, 47-49, 50-53, 54-56, 57-59, 60-63, 64-66, 67-69, 70-73, 74-76, 77-79, 80-83, 84-86, 87-89, and 90-death.

The FDC facilitators immediately assist the different family members to their various Sunday School classes. Infants and toddlers are taken from their parents in the parking lot, placed in a church stroller, and transported to the nursery building. Older children, youth, and adults all stream out in numerous directions to different class rooms in the other three buildings on campus.

After Sunday School, the different pastors move into position to lead their own services. Seven worship services take place at the 11 o’clock hour. “Giggle Church” fills the needs of the birth-five age range. For kids 6-11, “Fun Time” fits the bill. The youth (ages 12-18) meet in their own building to worship in song and drama. They simply refer to this service as “Word.”

Corinth offers adults 4 different services based upon their ages. Members in their 20s-30s attend “Not Enough Time.” Folks in their 40s-50s go to “Empty Nest.” If you are in your 60s-70s you attend “Nearing the End.” For those in their 80s and above, the service is entitled “Take Me Home.”

After the services conclude at noon, family members meet in a large central area between the church buildings named the “Rendezvous.” When parents arrive, FDC facilitators have their infants, toddlers, and older children waiting for them. Youth gradually migrate from “Word” toward the reassembly point. After the family is all joined back together, they are off to the restaurant.

Pastor Matthews summed it all up, “We strive to meet the needs of all our members. We believe this is done best by meeting them at their age level. We also believe that people who are trained to deal with the needs of specific age groupings are far more successful in both instruction and ministry than parents ever could be. I mean, can you imagine if parents tried to teach their teens about the bible? We know that’s not going to happen. By disintegrating the family for a few hours on Sunday mornings, we ultimately do our families a great deal of good. We are all about family here at Corinth Presbyterian.”


DT said...


I wonder how many people fit into the right end of that spectrum - a church with ghost members!

Brother Slawson said...

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

I never did like the modern translations. I prefer the original:

"Fonder doth growth in the heart maketh."
Josiah 12:7

G. F. McDowell said...

Question: Would someone who has a doctor certify that he has six months or less to live be shuffled in with the 90-death group, or will there be a separate "terminal disease" grouping? But then, would you place children with terminal diseases with adults? There is a substantial blind spot in this model, and a need for more clarity in your disintegration. Enquiring minds need to know.

Jacob Douvier said...

Voddie Baucham is awesome. 'Nuff said.

theMangoTimes said...

it's sad when satire parallels reality...i can't wait for "graduation sunday" next spring when i get to join the forty year olds...

Darrin said...

I push my kids away all the time - why would I want to train or worship with them? And I don't care who teaches them, as long as they don't brainwash my kids with that Piper sovereignty of God junk!
(Piper did make that stuff up, didn't he?)

John said...

Sounds just like the church I attend. (Except the children are kept by several month increments.)

eric sparks said...

Wow! This article could have been in the NYTimes. Check out this paragraph from this article.

"High Desert Church holds three different large services over the weekend for three different age groups, with music tailored to each audience: Seven (so named for the number’s positive associations in the Bible), the 18-to-30-year-old set that made up Mr. Day’s audience; Harbor, the 30-to-55 group; and Classic, for people 55 and over. The church also maintains even more bands for services at the junior high, high school and elementary school levels. Each band carefully calibrates its sound toward the pop culture disposition of the target age group."

Jim Pemberton said...

I guess I'm doing my kids a disservice by reading the Bible with them in the evening.

Actually, I'm 41 and my wife is 32. Would we be forced to go to separate services?

Rev Jacobs said...

I actually didn't laugh at this one because it does not sound like satire. Sadly, this piece reflects reality in a lot of churches.