Church & Family Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of biblical church and family life. To this end, Church & Family Life produces resources for equipping churches and families. It provides a host of supportive resources including articles, testimonies, national and regional conferences, instructive audio and video resources and books. It produces resources for personal and family equipping and pastoral training. Church & Family Life is also a connecting organization for churches and families through a growing database of biblically ordered churches near you.
During the week of 9-11 (2001), a gathering of about three dozen pastors, elders and church leaders from across America met in San Antonio for the first ever ”Summit on Uniting Church and Family.” At issue was the necessity of encouraging a reformation (and praying for a revival) concerning the relationship of the family to the local church. The outcome of that summit was Church & Family Life.
Church & Family Life’s purpose is to correctly understand God’s complementary vision for church and family, rightly diagnose the problems that impede this vision, and effectively communicate biblical solutions that rebuild family-affirming churches. We do not believe that family-integration is the only—or even the primary—issue in selecting or establishing a local church. But it is unquestionably a defining issue of our day as the modern church has lost the essential familistic culture that we see modeled in the New Testament.
Church & Family Life is committed to affirming the historic faith of biblical Christianity including the precious doctrines of the sufficiency of Scripture, the priesthood of the believers, the historico-grammatical approach to interpretation, the sovereignty of God, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We offer several statements and declarations, not only as representations of our faith but as tools for the careful student of Scripture interested in understanding and communicating his faith with biblical precision.
We agree with the historic position on the sufficiency of Scripture which views the various creeds and confessions as invaluable (though not infallible) summaries of the Word of God. A creed (meaning ”I believe”) is inevitable—even the anti-creedal statement, ”No creed but Christ,” is a creed! The Christian creeds and confessions affirm the authority of God’s Word and provide the hermeneutical framework (the Holy Spirit working through His whole church) to help us rightly interpret it. All the cults profess simple ”belief in the Bible,” yet they reject the creeds and confessions. We recognize the Nicene Creed as a standard of basic Christian orthodoxy.
The Church & Family Life declaration is a statement of beliefs regarding what the Word of God says about the roles of the two greatest institutions the Lord has given us, the church and the family, and how these two institutions are to biblically relate to one another. It declares that Scripture is fully sufficient for the ordering of the church and family, that Christ is the Head of the Church and that the only hope for churches and families is in Christ and His Gospel, and more!
As time has passed since the initial writing of the Church & Family Life Confession, we saw the need to update it. Some of the language needed to be made more clear and precise, new issues have arose that needed to be addressed, and more Scripture texts needed to be added. This update is the fruit of many men’s labor, editors, scholars, theologians, and even some of our critics. To avoid making it seem like we were comparing our confession with other substantive, weathered confessions (1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.), we changed the name from a “confession” to a “declaration.”
No, absolutely not. FIC is not a new denomination or confederation of churches but rather a network and resource for family-integrated churches and families seeking them. It is a ministry to America’s churches by Christian leaders who see faithful fathers and mothers struggling to find a meaningful, family-affirming relationship with their local church. All the men who work with Church & Family Life believe in biblical church authority and are all under the oversight of their own local churches with regard to their moral life.
Church & Family Life does not view itself as the ”end all” solution to the culture-driven, age-segregated, peer-dominated modern church. Other similar ministries have proficiency beyond our own in various areas. So in addition to the resources we provide, it is our firm and constant goal to help these like-minded ministries succeed at what they do best. We also work with state and regional groups who wish to affiliate with us for local and national conferences and other purposes.
Although Church & Family Life is unabashedly opposed to the non-historical, non-biblical emphasis on pragmatic reasoning, consumer-driven marketing, feminism and the facilitating of youth culture, we are NOT opposed to existing orthodox churches. It is our purpose and privilege to serve the established churches. We exhort all Christians everywhere to give proper submission and respect to their biblically constituted churches and leaders.
Church & Family Life relates to individual Christians in three distinct way first, Christians who are members of an established church, we encourage you to graciously and winsomely try to bring about change from within through respectful appeal to your leaders. This has the potential to transform many lives, the lives of some of the people you care about the most. Second, Christians who are seeking a church, we recommend you use our Church Directory to find a family-integrated church or network with other like-minded Christians to start one. Third, Christians who are ”home churching” or spiritual nomads, this is non-normative at best and downright heterodox at worst. God requires His people to be in biblically constituted local churches with biblical preaching, biblical ordinances, biblical government and biblical discipline.
Though Church & Family Life is not a church-planting agency, one of our goals is to encourage new church plants in two ways. First, there are many unattached Christian families without an established family-integrated church nearby. Through the FIC Network, these ”seeking families” can find one another and plant new churches for the glory of God and the growth of His people. Second, we encourage growing churches to spawn sister congregations through subdivision since a local church will lose family-like intimacy and vitality when it grows too large. Statistically, church subdivision produces the greatest spiritual and numerical growth for Christ’s church.
No, the Church Directory is not a formal organization or association, but a network and resource for family-integrated churches and families seeking them. The common denominators for those registered in our database are: 1) all parties have expressed a basic, orthodox understanding of Christianity as defined by the Nicene Creed; and (2) all parties have formally testified to at least substantial agreement with the Church & Family Life Declaration on issues of unity between church and family. These are the only known points of agreement among the churches and families in the directory.
As fathers turn their hearts toward home and return to the biblical culture of family life, it is only to be expected that such faithful men will desire a local church that supports rather than supplants the family. The FIC Network has been established for the specific purpose of assisting the thousands of families and local church leaders who have contacted us expressing a desire to network with like-minded individuals and assemblies, to work for godly change within pre-existing local churches or to plant family-integrated local churches in their area.
Despite our best efforts, we cannot guarantee that any or all of the churches and families in our directory are of sound theology and practice. Consequently, the inclusion of a church in this directory does not carry any endorsement from Church & Family Life. Church & Family Life believes that doctrinal integrity is crucial to every true church and every true believer in Jesus Christ, so we strongly recommend that you act with discernment and request additional information from the church that interests you.
Churches are listed on the FIC network by indicating that the church is in agreement with the Church & Family Life Declaration. We hear from time to time of a church that may not completely reflect everything in the confession. While we wish this were not so, we encourage churches to be honest about their true convictions and practice s. We also recognize that, with the blessing of the Lord, churches are in a state of continuous reformation. They may begin by instituting various reforms that are part of a long-term process. We are comforted by the fact that when churches embrace the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture, they will continue to be reformed as the years pass according to the strength that God supplies.
The FIC Network empowers you to do two significant things: first, it allows you to REGISTER your church, group or family in the database so that ”seeking families” can find you and contact you. Second, the church directory enables you to SEARCH for a family-integrated church or other like-minded families near you.
Having received thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from Christians across the country seeking a family-integrated church, we were not surprised at the overwhelming response to the FIC Network. Launched on February 14, 2003, the new directory enjoyed over 15,000 visits during its first two weeks and registrations of over 100 churches and nearly 400 seeking families. Registrations continue to climb every week, and new family-integrated churches are being formed as a result of these connections.