(Stuffed animal-integrated church)
This same reasoning also goes for senior adults. I understand that seniors like to get together sometimes, that's great. But, what I fear is that seniors are too often separated into their classes and not encouraged to fellowship with younger couples or singles. They say the generation that fought in World War II was the greatest generation. If that's true, isn't there something they can teach us? Why aren't we more eager for them to help shape us into a great generation? The FIC encourages families to reach out to older couples and singles for their mutual growth and edification. Family-integrated churches provide opportunities for everyone in the church to fellowship with one another, no matter their age or marital status. Again, I'm reminded of the little country church in Little House on the Prairie where everyone is sharing one another's burdens as well as celebrating with one another in good times.
What about kids who go to church without their parents? Usually these kids have been invited by a friend and the FIC would encourage this family to reach out to their child's friend. Again, hospitality plays a huge role in ministering to this child. Showing this child what a Christian family looks like on a Saturday afternoon, or a Monday evening is going to be more powerful in the long-run than providing a class full of other kids for this child to attend twice a week for an hour. Showing Christ to this child in daily life, like Jesus did with His disciples, is the Biblical way to love and nurture him in the Lord. Again, relationships are hard, but this is what we're called to do. The church in Acts 2 shared everything in common with one another. They were involved in one another's lives daily. True ministry is something we can't pull off on Sunday morning.
We have a Titus 2 Women's Bible study that meets in our home on Tuesday nights. I am so blessed to have those ladies and I'm so grateful that we are not cookie cutters. We are of all ages, even my 8 year old daughter participated last week, and are better able to learn from one another that way. If all the ladies were my age with my age kids, we might have lots to talk about, but how much could we actually encourage one another? I need ladies that can remind me that the time I pour into my children now is an investment which will reap rewards later. They can only share this if they're kids are grown and serving the Lord. I need women who are working full-time to remind me of the gift I have of being home. I need women who have been married longer than I have to encourage me to be a godly wife. There's nothing wrong with having friends your same age, but it's such a blessing to have fellowship with women of all walks of life. Together, we build one another up in the faith. The FIC encourages this type of discipliship commanded in Titus 2.
I find it ironic, that in our effort to take into consideration every possible life circumstance and translate it into a church program, from Divorce Care to AA, we've ended up excluding these church members from fellowship with the rest of the church. The family-integrated church may at first glance appear to neglect these individuals, but in reality FICs offer Biblical fellowship and discipleship that minister through relationships, not programs. I think special programs are fine, if they are in addition to fellowship with the rest of the church, and not a substitution for it. God has brought us all together to be a part of His body. We each have a part to play in one another's lives and in order to do that we need to know and love one another. We cannot know and love one another when we are segregated from one another. I love that the FIC strives to bring the church into family-like relationships for the purpose of edifying one another.