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.
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?