How do you go about finding a healthy family-integrated church?

First of all, we recommend that you search our list of churches that have affirmed our confession for uniting church and family. It is a confession that establishes the supremacy of Christ and His Word. And it is an explanation of the way church and family are meant to function together in a harmonious way according to scripture. 

But here’s a word of caution as you go out to try to find this church. There is a danger of using our network to find a church and concluding that it is a perfect church because it is an age-integrated church. Then, after attending for a while, getting discouraged because that church from our network had flaws or wasn’t exactly what was described in the confession for uniting church and family. While we gladly promote the existence of family-integrated churches, family integration (while it is important) is not the most important thing about a church. 

Here’s how our network works: the churches on this network have not been evaluated by Church and Family Life. Our position towards the churches on our network is that you evaluate us, but we don’t evaluate you. We have written a confession that establishes the basics of what we stand for and, if a church genuinely embraces those things, we are happy to have them on our list of churches. However, we do not make any claims for the integrity of these churches or their leaders. 

Here is a seven-question checklist to determine whether a church you are visiting is a healthy church. 

  1. Does this church preach the true gospel? 
  2. Does this church place the Lord Jesus Christ at the center of everything?
  3. Is the Bible the ultimate authority in all matters in this church? 
  4. Does the pastor attempt biblical exposition or is he simply speaking out of his own passions?
  5. Is the church elder-led or is the senior pastor biblically qualified? (Ideally, we recommend you go to a church with multiple, biblically qualified elders.)
  6. Does the church practice discipline?
  7. Is the church age-integrated or substantially so? (Notice this element is much further down on the list of how to find a healthy church.) 

We do not believe that age integration is the most important matter in church life. While we do believe it is a biblical and, therefore, critical matter, it is better to be in a gospel-centered, Bible-preaching church that is not age-integrated than it is to be in an age-integrated church where the gospel is neglected, the word of God is not central, and the leaders are not biblically qualified. 

I pray that you will find a wonderful, gospel-centered church that is age-integrated but don’t be disconnected from a local church. The church is the body of Christ and it is so important that you and your family make a local church a huge priority in your life. I pray that God blesses you with a wonderful gospel-centered, Bible preaching, evangelistic, Christ-exalting, family-integrated church.  

Scott Brown