Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Update - Family Integrated Church

In June 2008 I wrote THIS POST
about what our Family Integrated 
Church looked like.

Yesterday I went back and read that post
again.  It fascinated me to read it knowing 
that when I wrote it
we were just learning about and beginning to 
experience this intentional style of worship.

Now, as I write, so much has changed.
For one thing I am no longer defensive
of our choices.
I am humbly grateful for what God has done. 
I would erase every bit of defensiveness from 
that post were I to write it again.

At that point we were a congregation of about
twenty-five people with a few young children,
Several teens and no babies.

We are now seeing an attendance of 50 to 
60 nearly every week.  We have many children
and young people.  
It has been a nice paced growth allowing
us to get to know each family as they 
have joined us.

What has not changed is anything of what I wrote
about how we worship.
We still do all of our Sunday School and Worship
together as families.  It is not uncommon to hear a 
little voice pipe up in answer to a question from 
Pastor Mike.  Children also occasionally
pray out loud during our corporate prayer time.
I actually got in trouble with one little boy
for praying for "his" prayer request.
He wanted to pray for it himself!
So cute!
And I thought I was doing a good thing....lol.

When volunteers are asked for to read during the 
Sunday School time it is often a young person
who raises their hand....their input is welcome too.
Anthony(15) gave a report not too long ago that related
to our topic at that time.  He put a lot of time and study
into this.  Currently, Pastor Mike is seeking
volunteers to make videos of the stories of 
Paul's Missionary Journey.  
These will then be shown as we get to those
points in his journey.  
Interaction and involvement of those
of all ages. 

This is the goal.  
This is our reality.

A recent development has all of us excited.
The men had just started meeting after our 
Fellowship Meals to share and pray together.
As heads of households they have concerns and 
burdens that only they can relate to.
They understand each other and are lifting each 
other up in encouragement, advice and prayer.

Some of the women felt that this might be a great
thing to do as well.  So...we had our first meeting
two weeks ago.  It was so wonderful.  
Sharing from
the heart about our joys and concerns.  
Then a wonderful time of prayer. 
I just know that this
will bring us closer together 
and help us to understand
where each of us is coming from.  
We have a better
idea of how to pray for those we worship with.
I am looking forward to our next time together
on Sunday afternoon.

As you know Missions 
are very important to us
 as a church.
We continue to prayerfully support those
from the congregation who have 
opportunities to go to the mission field
as well as involve the children in projects
relating to our Compassion Child from Indonesia.
Recently they colored pictures to send to 
young Herman.
Families take turns
writing and sending photos
to him.

We continue to work together
to teach music to interested
young ones.  
Piano lessons, Voice lessons
and working together with instruments.
Most of this 
happens during the afternoon 
after Fellowship Meals.

I am excited about the opportunities for 
Dads with talents in various areas to 
share during this time with the boys and teen guys.
Maybe some time to learn the basics of 
automotive maintenance or other such 
practical things.
 Moms have talents
to share, as well.
Sewing?  Knitting?
Canning?
Sharing skills with each other.
A very good thing.
I often observe Kelly and Lindsay
sharing with each other as it relates 
to photography.
I think they are so good for each other!
Conversations on gardening are common.
One family set another up with 
chickens this past Fall to see
if they enjoyed it.
They did.

Many of our families drive more than a 
half an hour to get to church so we make
the most of the times we are together.
Sundays tend to be that time...
all day.

I could go on and on about all that 
God is doing in our tiny fellowship.
Suffice it to say that
we are not disappointed with the
path we chose.
God has blessed us greatly
with a closeness of fellowship
that we desired.

Pastor Mike is preaching from 
2 Corinthians.
His sermon on Sunday dealt with
being "Bound Together"
in the good and the bad of life.
Paul set the example 
in his love and care for 
those he ministered to.

Praise be to the 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion 
and the God of all comfort,  
who comforts us in all our troubles, 
so that we can comfort those 
in any trouble with the comfort 
we ourselves receive from God.  
For just as we share abundantly 
in the sufferings of Christ, 
so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  
If we are distressed, 
it is for your comfort and salvation;
if we are comforted,
it is for your comfort, 
which produces in you 
patient endurance of the 
same sufferings we suffer. 
And our hope for you is firm, 
because we know that just as 
you share in our sufferings, 
so also you share in our comfort.

Praying that we can follow Paul's
example and really 
live this out.

It is not always easy.
People are not perfect.
I am definitely not perfect!
But, with God,
it is definitely possible!

8 comments:

Mrs.Rabe said...

Oh yes, God is doing amazing things!

Our fellowship is not perfect but it is so sweet.

I'm looking forward to Sunday too!

Vee said...

It is good to read about a church where the people are happy to be together and where they just want to follow where the Lord leads. Sounds wonderful to me.

(I am sitting here enjoying a certain candle... :>)

Susy said...

I love the intimacy of your fellowship. It's so important to do life together; it promotes growth and accountability. I come from a congregation of 8,000. We have to be very deliberate about joining a small group, or we'd never meet anyone!

Persuaded said...

Your church sounds wonderful Becky☺ Ours isn't officially a family integrated church- our Sunday school classes are separate, and we do have a children's church option for the preschool kids and we have a nursery too... for folks that want to use it. I would say that it leans a bit into the family integrated church direction in that these things truly are optional. No one is pressured the slightest bit into using them (which has not been the case in some of our previous churches.) Also kids are expected to join the adults for worship once they hit kindergarten age. I have been particularly pleased with our youth group over the years... it has been very serious and study based, not silly and entertainment based like many. Sadly, there are some folks who are thinking it's time to jazz things up a bit in the youth department... make things "relevant" and so on. Like I said, I'm really sad about that, especially as Noah is getting to the age where youth group will be a part of his life. Not sure exactly how I'm going to handle all of this (suggestions are welcome!)

Mary said...

I too attend a young church (3yrs in July) and it is wonderful to see how God has worked in this small group of people. What started out as a prayer meeting for 3 couples in a living room has grown to a membership of 150 in our own building. (Rented)...I would love to visit Family Intergrated Church, it sounds like a wonderful place to worship....Our God is sooo good...

Dawn E. Brown said...

Sounds like you have a good thing going on.We should look forward to our gatherings each Sunday.You are very blessed. Would love to observe your church.We vacation in Lancaster County each July with our family for a week, perhaps we need to look you up and visit.Thanks for this sweet posting. Dawn E. Brown

Becky K. said...

Dawn,

We would welcome your family's visit!
Please do get in touch.

We also have the church web site with service times and things....
www.sonrisechristianfellowship.org

Melissa G. said...

I love hearing about your church! It sounds like a great place!