Family Integrated Church Movement

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Ne Oublie

Puritan Board Sophomore
Amen, Curt!

I commented on the blog post Shawn mentioned for my 2 cents.

The philosophy is really not far from Anabaptist, Fundamental Baptist, why not use the references there to show historical precedence? AUTONOMY!

The sufficiency of Scripture is cited much, but the interpretation/hermeneutics is the issue here. Rhetoric and eisigesis is used to manipulate the agenda, as always.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Shawn, one aspect of your post-blog post dialogue that I appreciate is your attempt at properly framing the debate. It bothers me that those who speak on behalf of the NCFIC accuse those they disagree with of misinterpreting their words (both published and spoken). Why is that?

sent from my most excellent Motorola Atrix.
 

Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
would recommend the author spend a bit more time researching the reasoning behind those who are proponents of age-inclusive worship and education before attempting to debunk the notion with a simplified essay.

"So, in answer to your question, overall, the description was accurate and I greatly appreciate all the references. Some have slammed us and not even attempted to prove that it was so."
--Ryan Glick, current part-time worker for NCFIC, member at a church plant of Scott Brown, one-time intern for Mr. Brown and showed my essay to Mr. Brown as well. See comment section of my essay at Wes White's site.
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
Shawn, I apologise for not returning to this. I have been very busy and really have only ducked into the PB for a few moments at a time when I had a spare bit of it. Perhaps the Lord will allow me more time and I can address the issue to which I was referring, to wit: the root of modern age-segregated education. (Just so you know, I am not a proponent of the Patriarchy Movement, am not a hardline NCFIC sort, but I do agree that the age segregated education as it has developed is unwise at best and is often un-Biblical.) Note: I did not merely refer to modern age-segregated education in the church, but the principle over all.

Historically age-segregation in the church was not the warp and woof of discipleship as it has become. It was only after adopting the same reasoning as secular educational institutions that it began to become entrenched in the church. The contrast between the origins of Sunday School and what they are today is a good illustration.

I agree that your article is one of the better ones I have read. I sincerely appreciate the tone of the article. It was refreshing to read a rebuttal that was charitable. In the end I, even though we may disagree, we are still brothers. That is often lost in many debates / discussions. I commend you for your love and concern for Christ and his Bride.
 
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Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
Lawrence,

Thank you for your kind reply.

I had looked around in the archives here but found little among the debates on this issue that is relevant to what I wrote. This is important because I think I have brought something germane and important to the table with my paper. I think if the leaders carefully read it and the follow up comments they would re-evaluate their rhetoric and even the language of their confession and still maintain a strong stance in favor of parental nurture and against abuse of nurturing tools.

When you state, "Historically age-segregation in the church was not the warp and woof of discipleship as it has become" that is the kind of public reasoning that is winsome and helpful. And I agree with that statement. All my counter-examples were against the broad-sweeping language of not merely the quotes offered (which were but representative of the broader range of articles and speeches) but the confession itself. Age-segregation is best used if understood only as a tool to whittle down large groups of youth for smaller class sizes [the thinking of some during the 19 century] or for broader distinctions of development in general cases (eg. 5 year-olds not learning about sex-ed!)--and then, as with any enculturation tool, to be used or not within the context of familial and churchly strengths and weaknesses. In other words, just the same as all other things in Christian liberty.

If that is what NCFIC is saying, then they are failing at communicating those facts.

I would be greatly interested in what you think the roots are and specifically what you think age-segregated education really is [again, something not clearly and consistently offered by NCFIC except in two instances I could find and those definitions seemed so negative as to exclude more than they probably intended]. I have studied the history of Christian education, now with over 124 articles, essays, magazine, bibliographies, histories, autobiographies, collections, specialty histories, encyclopedia and almanacs. That does not mean I know it all! But I have so much in my head I would like to test it against alternate views of those with a winsome disposition such as yours.

I hope to write a positive piece explaining the historical practice of youth nurture. Maybe that will bring divided parties closer together.

for the peace and unity of the church,
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
As one friend said to me, "If someone wants to help me in teaching my children the Bible, why should I turn them down?"
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]

This rests on the assumption that a church without age-segregated services and ministries is poorly equipped for the education of children. I think the NT church would beg to differ. The question is not, Are the children taught?, but, How are the children taught? Some churches think it can be done better with parental teaching at home and a combined service on Sundays.

Bear in mind that the Church at large has an 85% apostasy rate among church kids. Whatever we're doing, it isn't working. The argument has been made (and I think it's a good one) that separating kids from the worship service (and also giving the youth their own worship services) teaches kids that "Church isn't for me. It's for old, boring people. It's not interesting and has nothing to say to me." They grow up being taught this by practice, and then their parents are surprised when they still believe it after 18.
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]

This rests on the assumption that a church without age-segregated services and ministries is poorly equipped for the education of children. I think the NT church would beg to differ. The question is not, Are the children taught?, but, How are the children taught? Some churches think it can be done better with parental teaching at home and a combined service on Sundays. Bear in mind that the Church at large has an 85% apostasy rate among church kids. Whatever we're doing, it isn't working.

I have no problem if a parent seeks out a church that does not have age segregated education- I think that that doing so as a preference is fine. My point was with the idea that churches ought not to offer this for the children of members-as if it were somehow unbiblical. Is the 85% apostasy rate among Reformed churches or mainstream?
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
That 60 - 85% rate cuts pretty much across the board with those churches that use age-segretated discipleship programmes. Granted, not all churches will be that high, some are much worse.
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
That 60 - 85% rate cuts pretty much across the board with those churches that use age-segretated discipleship programmes. Granted, not all churches will be that high, some are much worse.

Where can I read these stats? Is it online? I know in our own Presbytery I have not seen it-quite the opposite actually.
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
The reason I think it is important to ask where the stats come from is because I have confidence that how children are instructed in a reformed church does differ from how they are instructed in an Armenian church. I found this statistical resource which I find illuminating to the discussion only partly-it does not tell us from which kind of churches these kids come from.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I don't trust these stats. All they do is tempt Christians to compare themselves with others. Suffice to say that apostasy is high among professed child believers because of a number of mitigating factors. The fact that there is a number of parents that use programs as an exstention of their parenting is well established. But on the flip side are those parents who run a tight "family integrated" ship. I'm sure quite a few children rebel against such "regimentation." The Christian family is not about best practices, it's about raising children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

sent from my most excellent Motorola Atrix.
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
That 60 - 85% rate cuts pretty much across the board with those churches that use age-segretated discipleship programmes. Granted, not all churches will be that high, some are much worse.

Where can I read these stats? Is it online? I know in our own Presbytery I have not seen it-quite the opposite actually.

Esther, the stats are from many sources. They are fairly consistent, too. Barna has done them. Gallup has them. Lifeway has them. I have seen some by various denoms as well. Having said that it is not about statistics. There are, as Bill said, many factors in why children apostatize, leave church, drop out, or whatever else one wants to call it. The real point is the philosophy behind age-segregated programs and how they are operated in most churches today is very new, has no precedent in Scripture, and is not producing stable disciples on the whole. Parents are ultimately responsible for their children and must labour in that responsibility. It will look differently in every family. The church should support not supplant that task.
 

Damon Rambo

Puritan Board Sophomore
[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]

This rests on the assumption that a church without age-segregated services and ministries is poorly equipped for the education of children. I think the NT church would beg to differ. The question is not, Are the children taught?, but, How are the children taught? Some churches think it can be done better with parental teaching at home and a combined service on Sundays.

Bear in mind that the Church at large has an 85% apostasy rate among church kids. Whatever we're doing, it isn't working. The argument has been made (and I think it's a good one) that separating kids from the worship service (and also giving the youth their own worship services) teaches kids that "Church isn't for me. It's for old, boring people. It's not interesting and has nothing to say to me." They grow up being taught this by practice, and then their parents are surprised when they still believe it after 18.


As a youth minister, I say phooey. This is not what happens at all. What actually happens, especially with church's that do not have youth/children programs, is the youth end up trying to take a leadership role in something simple (such as playing a contemporary worship song during the service), and they get scowls from a bunch of people, because they aren't doing it "their" way.

The segregated system is not the problem. Education NEEDS to be segregated. The Church is already stupid enough. The majority of the people in most churches, even reformed churches, are completely theologically ignorant. Now you would like us to dumb down the message MORE to a 6 year old level? I don't think that is a good idea. You don't teach a 6 year old Algebra...nor do you try to teach them the complexities of the eschatological debate, or presuppositional apologetics. Adult believers, on the other hand, SHOULD be learning these things.

No question the parents should be more involved. They should be holding the people teaching their children accountable. They, along with the elders of the church, should be closely examining, and providing oversight over, the children's classes. And of course they should be instructing them at home.

One last thing; comparing the first century church to the modern church, is really unhelpful. First, there is no evidence that the children were not instructed separately. That they "gathered together" could just as well be the same way we gather together at my house...and yet the children are still doing their own thing. An argument from silence does not a biblical law make.

Again, the problem is not the methodology, the problem is content. Too many Youth and children's minister's make Sunday School/Worship about "fun."
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]

This rests on the assumption that a church without age-segregated services and ministries is poorly equipped for the education of children. I think the NT church would beg to differ. The question is not, Are the children taught?, but, How are the children taught? Some churches think it can be done better with parental teaching at home and a combined service on Sundays.

Bear in mind that the Church at large has an 85% apostasy rate among church kids. Whatever we're doing, it isn't working. The argument has been made (and I think it's a good one) that separating kids from the worship service (and also giving the youth their own worship services) teaches kids that "Church isn't for me. It's for old, boring people. It's not interesting and has nothing to say to me." They grow up being taught this by practice, and then their parents are surprised when they still believe it after 18.


As a youth minister, I say phooey. This is not what happens at all. What actually happens, especially with church's that do not have youth/children programs, is the youth end up trying to take a leadership role in something simple (such as playing a contemporary worship song during the service), and they get scowls from a bunch of people, because they aren't doing it "their" way.

The segregated system is not the problem. Education NEEDS to be segregated. The Church is already stupid enough. The majority of the people in most churches, even reformed churches, are completely theologically ignorant. Now you would like us to dumb down the message MORE to a 6 year old level? I don't think that is a good idea. You don't teach a 6 year old Algebra...nor do you try to teach them the complexities of the eschatological debate, or presuppositional apologetics. Adult believers, on the other hand, SHOULD be learning these things.

No question the parents should be more involved. They should be holding the people teaching their children accountable. They, along with the elders of the church, should be closely examining, and providing oversight over, the children's classes. And of course they should be instructing them at home.

One last thing; comparing the first century church to the modern church, is really unhelpful. First, there is no evidence that the children were not instructed separately. That they "gathered together" could just as well be the same way we gather together at my house...and yet the children are still doing their own thing. An argument from silence does not a biblical law make.

Again, the problem is not the methodology, the problem is content. Too many Youth and children's minister's make Sunday School/Worship about "fun."

As a guy involved in college ministry, the stats are not “phooey.”

Education does not need to be segregated. There is no rule that states that they can not learn with a mixed age. The mixture of age groups could actually help reinforce positive learning in a “one-school-room environment.” Plus with more adult present then that encourages even more positive behavior and learning.

The reason why children and adults are so dumb is because their not being taught the scriptures, period. Many churches have turned children’s church and the Sunday school hour into glorified play time, without any church oversight and accountability. If things are taught then they are not the gospel. Typically it just something moral like “no sex before marriage,” “don’t smoke,” you need to believe “creationlism”, invite people to church, and “ give your testimony because there no way someone disagree with your experience.” By the way I have major issues with the latter statement because of the subjective nature of testimonies, but that besides the point. There is little gospel that goes on and I specially see it in the SBC. Other denominations are just as guilty based on the fact that the MAJORITY of incoming MDIV students cannot pass a basic Bible exam. The fault overall the lack of knowledge of these kids and their parents falls to us as teachers and ministers of the Word. There is little theology that is actually taught from the cradle to the grave, which reflects the reason why so many kids have left mainline churches across the board.

Things that must be taught are textual criticisms, outlines of entire books of the Bible (there no excuse for a kid to grow up in the church and not have the entire Bible taught to them), the Proverbs and Psalms, basic systematic theological categories and their application, church history from Acts to the present, and lastly Apologetics. The most important thing being able to communicating the gospel. The biblical languages would also be nice.

The lack of what being taught in our churches communicates to the young people that theology is not important. Especially when parents are not engaged in learning it.

I also think creating a children’s service, a children’s church, is dangerous because it purposely during the worship of God divides the unity of the ages to worship God. The worship service is just as much for the 3 year old and the seven year old as compared to the 77 year old. They can learn from the adults how one worships, which includes the hearing of the sermon, and if they didn’t understand the sermon then the child’s father must explain the sermon. If the father did not understand the main points then he needs to talk to the pastor so he can understand and be able to teach his children.

And for the folks that complain about kids making noise in church, they need to learn how to be gracious and interact with the kids.

The result of the segregation of children from church will result in the segregation of teenage and young adult worship services. And if you think this isn’t true, then let me say this. It is already happening. I can name in the SBC and in non-denominational churches where that the case is actually occurring.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
The last two posts make my point. Thank you for saving me from wasting vowels and consonants. Children can be adequately taught in both church models. Re-engineering a church from segregated to non-segregated (or vice versa) should not be the goal. What is important is to declare the whole counsel of God. I don't think either side is against the authority the father in the home. The issue is one of ecclesiology. Is there no room for charity on this issue or is every retort in this thread worth falling on one's sword?

sent from my most excellent Motorola Atrix.
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
That 60 - 85% rate cuts pretty much across the board with those churches that use age-segretated discipleship programmes. Granted, not all churches will be that high, some are much worse.

Where can I read these stats? Is it online? I know in our own Presbytery I have not seen it-quite the opposite actually.

Esther, the stats are from many sources. They are fairly consistent, too. Barna has done them. Gallup has them. Lifeway has them. I have seen some by various denoms as well. Having said that it is not about statistics. There are, as Bill said, many factors in why children apostatize, leave church, drop out, or whatever else one wants to call it. The real point is the philosophy behind age-segregated programs and how they are operated in most churches today is very new, has no precedent in Scripture, and is not producing stable disciples on the whole. Parents are ultimately responsible for their children and must labour in that responsibility. It will look differently in every family. The church should support not supplant that task.

I can only speak to personal experience- In our presbytery I am not seeing statistically high numbers of youth going apostate. If you are going to make the claim that it is due to "segregated Sunday School classes" then the stats are important and relevant to making that claim-especially if we apply mega mainline churches to reformed churches (I suspect the stats I posted are not in any way relevant to reformed churches). The most obvious reason children are apostate is God's call on their life in this particular age of history. I am certain that mainline teachings like "Jesus loves the sinner and not the sin" or "what would Jesus do" types of emotional and works focused teachings have taken there toll. In reformed churches legalism does just as much damage. The problem in my opinion is not segregated Sunday Schools- but bad Sunday Schools.

---------- Post added at 06:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:43 PM ----------

[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]

This rests on the assumption that a church without age-segregated services and ministries is poorly equipped for the education of children. I think the NT church would beg to differ. The question is not, Are the children taught?, but, How are the children taught? Some churches think it can be done better with parental teaching at home and a combined service on Sundays.

Bear in mind that the Church at large has an 85% apostasy rate among church kids. Whatever we're doing, it isn't working. The argument has been made (and I think it's a good one) that separating kids from the worship service (and also giving the youth their own worship services) teaches kids that "Church isn't for me. It's for old, boring people. It's not interesting and has nothing to say to me." They grow up being taught this by practice, and then their parents are surprised when they still believe it after 18.


As a youth minister, I say phooey. This is not what happens at all. What actually happens, especially with church's that do not have youth/children programs, is the youth end up trying to take a leadership role in something simple (such as playing a contemporary worship song during the service), and they get scowls from a bunch of people, because they aren't doing it "their" way.

The segregated system is not the problem. Education NEEDS to be segregated. The Church is already stupid enough. The majority of the people in most churches, even reformed churches, are completely theologically ignorant. Now you would like us to dumb down the message MORE to a 6 year old level? I don't think that is a good idea. You don't teach a 6 year old Algebra...nor do you try to teach them the complexities of the eschatological debate, or presuppositional apologetics. Adult believers, on the other hand, SHOULD be learning these things.

No question the parents should be more involved. They should be holding the people teaching their children accountable. They, along with the elders of the church, should be closely examining, and providing oversight over, the children's classes. And of course they should be instructing them at home.

One last thing; comparing the first century church to the modern church, is really unhelpful. First, there is no evidence that the children were not instructed separately. That they "gathered together" could just as well be the same way we gather together at my house...and yet the children are still doing their own thing. An argument from silence does not a biblical law make.

Again, the problem is not the methodology, the problem is content. Too many Youth and children's minister's make Sunday School/Worship about "fun."

I have yet to be in attendance in an OPC that tries to make Sunday School for children only about being "fun". And never has an integrated Sunday School been "dumbed down" for children who are in attendance.
 

Damon Rambo

Puritan Board Sophomore
[FONT=&quot]The idea that someone would become a member of a church that was not equipped or poorly equipped to teach their children makes no sense to me. It seems at odds with the notion that said concerned person would, after becoming a member, insist that children not be separated from them. If indeed they are careful enough to have a concern for what is being taught would they not refuse membership to a church that was not equipped to handle God’s word adequately for their children?[/FONT]

This rests on the assumption that a church without age-segregated services and ministries is poorly equipped for the education of children. I think the NT church would beg to differ. The question is not, Are the children taught?, but, How are the children taught? Some churches think it can be done better with parental teaching at home and a combined service on Sundays.

Bear in mind that the Church at large has an 85% apostasy rate among church kids. Whatever we're doing, it isn't working. The argument has been made (and I think it's a good one) that separating kids from the worship service (and also giving the youth their own worship services) teaches kids that "Church isn't for me. It's for old, boring people. It's not interesting and has nothing to say to me." They grow up being taught this by practice, and then their parents are surprised when they still believe it after 18.


As a youth minister, I say phooey. This is not what happens at all. What actually happens, especially with church's that do not have youth/children programs, is the youth end up trying to take a leadership role in something simple (such as playing a contemporary worship song during the service), and they get scowls from a bunch of people, because they aren't doing it "their" way.

The segregated system is not the problem. Education NEEDS to be segregated. The Church is already stupid enough. The majority of the people in most churches, even reformed churches, are completely theologically ignorant. Now you would like us to dumb down the message MORE to a 6 year old level? I don't think that is a good idea. You don't teach a 6 year old Algebra...nor do you try to teach them the complexities of the eschatological debate, or presuppositional apologetics. Adult believers, on the other hand, SHOULD be learning these things.

No question the parents should be more involved. They should be holding the people teaching their children accountable. They, along with the elders of the church, should be closely examining, and providing oversight over, the children's classes. And of course they should be instructing them at home.

One last thing; comparing the first century church to the modern church, is really unhelpful. First, there is no evidence that the children were not instructed separately. That they "gathered together" could just as well be the same way we gather together at my house...and yet the children are still doing their own thing. An argument from silence does not a biblical law make.

Again, the problem is not the methodology, the problem is content. Too many Youth and children's minister's make Sunday School/Worship about "fun."

As a guy involved in college ministry, the stats are not “phooey.”

Education does not need to be segregated. There is no rule that states that they can not learn with a mixed age. The mixture of age groups could actually help reinforce positive learning in a “one-school-room environment.” Plus with more adult present then that encourages even more positive behavior and learning.

The reason why children and adults are so dumb is because their not being taught the scriptures, period. Many churches have turned children’s church and the Sunday school hour into glorified play time, without any church oversight and accountability. If things are taught then they are not the gospel. Typically it just something moral like “no sex before marriage,” “don’t smoke,” you need to believe “creationlism”, invite people to church, and “ give your testimony because there no way someone disagree with your experience.” By the way I have major issues with the latter statement because of the subjective nature of testimonies, but that besides the point. There is little gospel that goes on and I specially see it in the SBC. Other denominations are just as guilty based on the fact that the MAJORITY of incoming MDIV students cannot pass a basic Bible exam. The fault overall the lack of knowledge of these kids and their parents falls to us as teachers and ministers of the Word. There is little theology that is actually taught from the cradle to the grave, which reflects the reason why so many kids have left mainline churches across the board.

Things that must be taught are textual criticisms, outlines of entire books of the Bible (there no excuse for a kid to grow up in the church and not have the entire Bible taught to them), the Proverbs and Psalms, basic systematic theological categories and their application, church history from Acts to the present, and lastly Apologetics. The most important thing being able to communicating the gospel. The biblical languages would also be nice.

The lack of what being taught in our churches communicates to the young people that theology is not important. Especially when parents are not engaged in learning it.

I also think creating a children’s service, a children’s church, is dangerous because it purposely during the worship of God divides the unity of the ages to worship God. The worship service is just as much for the 3 year old and the seven year old as compared to the 77 year old. They can learn from the adults how one worships, which includes the hearing of the sermon, and if they didn’t understand the sermon then the child’s father must explain the sermon. If the father did not understand the main points then he needs to talk to the pastor so he can understand and be able to teach his children.

And for the folks that complain about kids making noise in church, they need to learn how to be gracious and interact with the kids.

The result of the segregation of children from church will result in the segregation of teenage and young adult worship services. And if you think this isn’t true, then let me say this. It is already happening. I can name in the SBC and in non-denominational churches where that the case is actually occurring.

brother, if you read back over my post, I agree with much of what you said. You and I agree more than you think.

However, making a 6 year old sit through an adult sermon, is either #1 A complete waste of time for the child, or #2 The sermon is so dumbed down and basic, that it does not actually instruct the adults.

I agree with you that children need to be heavily theologically and biblically educated. But it works just like teaching anything else; you start with the basics, and build upon it. You don't throw a 6 year old in a class full of College Algebra students. It is a waste of the child's time. Nor do you take a group of College algebra students, and put them in a class with kindergartners learning basic addition. Each group needs instruction at their level.

The best methodology for this, is to have separate classes based upon their level of development. The answer then, is not to just throw everyone in together, and eliminate the children's classes. The answer is to change the focus of the class. Quit making the classes about games and fun, and start making them about Biblical truth (and yes, absolutely an understanding of the Gospel!).
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
However, making a 6 year old sit through an adult sermon, is either #1 A complete waste of time for the child, or #2 The sermon is so dumbed down and basic, that it does not actually instruct the adults.

You are obviously not a preacher. This statement is so foolish as to be nearly unbelievable.
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
brother, if you read back over my post, I agree with much of what you said. You and I agree more than you think.

However, making a 6 year old sit through an adult sermon, is either #1 A complete waste of time for the child, or #2 The sermon is so dumbed down and basic, that it does not actually instruct the adults.

I agree with you that children need to be heavily theologically and biblically educated. But it works just like teaching anything else; you start with the basics, and build upon it. You don't throw a 6 year old in a class full of College Algebra students. It is a waste of the child's time. Nor do you take a group of College algebra students, and put them in a class with kindergartners learning basic addition. Each group needs instruction at their level.

The best methodology for this, is to have separate classes based upon their level of development. The answer then, is not to just throw everyone in together, and eliminate the children's classes. The answer is to change the focus of the class. Quit making the classes about games and fun, and start making them about Biblical truth (and yes, absolutely an understanding of the Gospel!).

The sermon alone, is not what children are being taught on, when they sit in worship. They are also learning to sit still and that God is deserving of our attention and respect-they learn how to worship God in prayer; praise; and admonition-they learn how to tithe. They are learning to be served as they watch the Lord's Supper being given and their pastor serving them God's Word-they are learning how to be a corporate member of the Body of Christ. I support segregated Sunday school but segregated worship-no way.
 

Damon Rambo

Puritan Board Sophomore
However, making a 6 year old sit through an adult sermon, is either #1 A complete waste of time for the child, or #2 The sermon is so dumbed down and basic, that it does not actually instruct the adults.

You are obviously not a preacher. This statement is so foolish as to be nearly unbelievable.

Actually I am. And I have seen children sit under some of the best reformed preachers today, and asked them afterward what the preacher was speaking of...and they couldn't tell me. I am NOT saying that children cannot understand these concepts. I have taught my children catechisms, my little girl can even explain some pretty complex doctrine. But she didn't do it listening to John Macarthur.

And I cannot believe you would make such an offensive statement. Please do not belittle me because I don't agree with you.

---------- Post added at 09:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:02 PM ----------

brother, if you read back over my post, I agree with much of what you said. You and I agree more than you think.

However, making a 6 year old sit through an adult sermon, is either #1 A complete waste of time for the child, or #2 The sermon is so dumbed down and basic, that it does not actually instruct the adults.

I agree with you that children need to be heavily theologically and biblically educated. But it works just like teaching anything else; you start with the basics, and build upon it. You don't throw a 6 year old in a class full of College Algebra students. It is a waste of the child's time. Nor do you take a group of College algebra students, and put them in a class with kindergartners learning basic addition. Each group needs instruction at their level.

The best methodology for this, is to have separate classes based upon their level of development. The answer then, is not to just throw everyone in together, and eliminate the children's classes. The answer is to change the focus of the class. Quit making the classes about games and fun, and start making them about Biblical truth (and yes, absolutely an understanding of the Gospel!).

The sermon alone, is not what children are being taught on, when they sit in worship. They are also learning to sit still and that God is deserving of our attention and respect-they learn how to worship God in prayer; praise; and admonition-they learn how to tithe. They are learning to be served as they watch the Lord's Supper being given and their pastor serving them God's Word-they are learning how to be a corporate member of the Body of Christ. I support segregated Sunday school but segregated worship-no way.

In our church, we have three services per week. Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, and a Wednesday night prayer service and Bible study.

In the Sunday morning worship, everyone is together for the music, tithing, and when it is done, the Lord's Supper. During the actual sermon, everyone is together except for nursery age (0-3) and very young children (Kindergarten, first grade), who go to Children's church.

In the Sunday evening church, everyone is together for all of it.

In the Wednesday night service, the classes are completely divided according to age groups.

This model, to me, seems ideal. The children get some of everything.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
To clarify, I would not assert that age-segregated ministries in their various forms are the direct cause of a high falling out rate. What I meant (and should have said) was that the mindset toward church that many of these environments create and foster (in mine and others' experience) is a mindset that contributes heavily to the problem. That's all.

I'll admit I'm very unfond of the concept of having youth worship services and a youth minister, partly because of the above problem and partly because I do not see them as warranted by Scripture, however, I do not know if this is what you do, Damon, so I am in no place to speak to your position. I know that model is common in the SBC (where I grew up) and I have seen the damage it tends to do, but if you are redeeming the situation and discipling youth well then godspeed! I was only speaking of overall trends.

I am not so interested in convincing people to eliminate age segregation in every form. What I care about most is the worship service. THAT, at the very least, should be for everybody. My main concern here is to make sure we don't throw out long-standing traditional worship practices (where they have better Scriptural warrant) as a reaction to the extremes of a particular organization.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Damon, you made a dogmatic statement. Fred was within bounds in his response. You certainly are entitled to your opinion but you are not the authority on the topic. For that matter.neither am I. However, your statement slammed the door on any child who sits through a sermon at their church. Perhaps you.didn't mean to come across that way but that's how it's been received.

sent from my most excellent Motorola Atrix.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Damon, I am not against age appropriate education, but you be surprised what a child can learn in the service if you allow them to engage with the adults in corporate worship (keep in mind the high level of education one could obtain in the one room school house model, which would be superior to modern approaches to education). The education is not just theological, but also in regards to appropriate behavior. So that they learn worship is not about themselves, but God. This is a major issue that many adults need to learn, and it must start with the children. Besides the preacher should not be preaching with just adults at a particular maturity or age in mind, but his entire audience which would include teens and young children. And if a child does not get a point then the parents must instruct him, which implies on the Lord’s Day the parent is examining and discussing the sermon with the child/children. I can almost guarantee that in most homes such a discussion is not taking place in our homes, instead its social time with eating a Denny’s, watch sports, or some other non-religious and non-educational activity.
 
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Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
The sermon alone, is not what children are being taught on, when they sit in worship. They are also learning to sit still and that God is deserving of our attention and respect-they learn how to worship God in prayer; praise; and admonition-they learn how to tithe. They are learning to be served as they watch the Lord's Supper being given and their pastor serving them God's Word-they are learning how to be a corporate member of the Body of Christ. I support segregated Sunday school but segregated worship-no way.

In our church, we have three services per week. Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, and a Wednesday night prayer service and Bible study.

In the Sunday morning worship, everyone is together for the music, tithing, and when it is done, the Lord's Supper. During the actual sermon, everyone is together except for nursery age (0-3) and very young children (Kindergarten, first grade), who go to Children's church.

In the Sunday evening church, everyone is together for all of it.

In the Wednesday night service, the classes are completely divided according to age groups.

This model, to me, seems ideal. The children get some of everything.

I understand having a nursery for young children and nursing moms. Your basic set up sounds reasonable- Wednesday prayer is great-so long as it is not being used as a more convenient substitute for worship. Children need to learn how to worship God. The best way for them to do that is by being in worship. Our pastor is good at directing at least a portion of almost every sermon to the children and youth. Children do not get everything that is being taught, but that is where after church on the drive home or over lunch we as parents bring up the sermon and find a way to make it relevant to our children, so that they do get it.
 

Damon Rambo

Puritan Board Sophomore
To clarify, I would not assert that age-segregated ministries in their various forms are the direct cause of a high falling out rate. What I meant (and should have said) was that the mindset toward church that many of these environments create and foster (in mine and others' experience) is a mindset that contributes heavily to the problem. That's all.

I'll admit I'm very unfond of the concept of having youth worship services and a youth minister, partly because of the above problem and partly because I do not see them as warranted by Scripture, however, I do not know if this is what you do, Damon, so I am in no place to speak to your position. I know that model is common in the SBC (where I grew up) and I have seen the damage it tends to do, but if you are redeeming the situation and discipling youth well then godspeed! I was only speaking of overall trends.

I am not so interested in convincing people to eliminate age segregation in every form. What I care about most is the worship service. THAT, at the very least, should be for everybody. My main concern here is to make sure we don't throw out long-standing traditional worship practices (where they have better Scriptural warrant) as a reaction to the extremes of a particular organization.

Thank you for your gracious reply brother. In all honesty, I am not sure of my feelings on my own position. I know the separate Youth services on Wednesday night allows me the opportunity to preach, allows the youth an opportunity to be trained in leading worship, and allows the youth a voice that I think they would not otherwise have.

Of course, services other than the Lord's day services are additional, anyway.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
However, making a 6 year old sit through an adult sermon, is either #1 A complete waste of time for the child, or #2 The sermon is so dumbed down and basic, that it does not actually instruct the adults.

They get it. They can handle it. Wasn't the WSC written to teach children their catechism? If that is not too tough for a 6 year old, then surely a sermon wouldn't be. A lot depends on the environment at home. A lot.
 
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