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Christian Leadership: Family Integrated Churches End Age Segregation and Youth Groups

Don’t look for children’s Sunday school classes at Ridgewood Church in Port Arthur, Texas. And forget about scavenger hunts and water park trips: the youth ministry is no more. Sound like a dying church?

No, it’s a family-integrated church, whose leaders wanted parents — rather than Sunday school teachers and youth ministers — to spiritually train their children. 

In “Divided,” a controversial video circulating online and a related book called “A Weed in the Church,” the movement’s leaders warn that “unbiblical” age-segregated activities can lead youth away from the church.

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Driven by statistics about youth leaving church after high school, they’ve turned to the Bible as their sole educational text and shunned age-segregated structures.

The Family integrated Churches Movement is part of a broader trend of congregations struggling to respond to statistics that claim a youth attrition rate of 40-88 percent. 

Pastor Scott Brown, director of the North Carolina-based National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and author of the book “A Weed in the Church,”, said “When Jesus gathers people together, he gathers the generations,” 

Brown continued “He doesn’t segregate people by age. He’s famous for saying ‘suffer the little children to come unto me’ because his disciples wanted to banish the children. Jesus wasn’t that way.”


Ok team, what do you think? Are family-integrated churches the solution for keeping youth from leaving church as they grow up?

2 thoughts on “Christian Leadership: Family Integrated Churches End Age Segregation and Youth Groups”

  1. My kids wanted to assert their independence, be their own person, and so they left the church. I prayed, and they came back in time, to Jesus, but sadly, not to our church. Our job situation demanded we move to find work a few times while they were growing up. Thus, they had a hard time identifying with kids their own age. Sadly, they were rejected by the regulars of their own age, not being one of the old friends network, so to speak. Weeds in the congregation is a good term for this situation. Had these youth in the churches they attended been more loving as a true believer, they would not have experienced such rejection. Also, without a youth group, more mature adults would have accepted them in the fold, but this did not happen. One time my late wife went to a lady’s group meeting. It was in Oregon. One lady asked that if any one came from California, would they please raise their hand. My late wife did so, and no one talked to her for the rest of the meeting. Our membership to this church subsequently ended, and we held home fellowships on our own.
    Weeds in the congregation, it is a major reason people do not attend churches. If the fruit of the Spirit was there, people would be welcomed, but we were not. I have experienced the same rejection personally by some of the churches also. My new wife and I went to one church in which we were engaged in conversation with major leadership lay persons, and when we mentioned we lived in a mobile hope park, we were ignored for the rest of the conversation, as if we did not exist. Weeds, an ample term that is the scourge of churches, a major cause of failing membership, and they look just like the real thing, until the harvest of the fruit of the Spirit shows their true nature.

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