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!
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.
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
Families take turns
writing and sending photos
We continue to work together
to teach music to interested
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
Moms have talents
to share, as well.
Sharing skills with each other.
A very good thing.
sharing with each other as it relates
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.
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...
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
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!