Illinois Church Focuses on Family-Integrated Worship

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Family of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Monee, Ill., has no Sunday school, no GEMS or Cadets programs, no Coffee Break Bible study, not even a nursery.

And that’s the way they like it.

Some female members of Family of Faith church recite the scripture verses they have memorized.

“We put a high premium on family-integrated worship,” said Rev. David Feddes, the church’s part-time pastor. “We don’t have a lot of segmented programs.”

The church, which began meeting officially in 2001, draws people from up to an hour’s drive away, most of them homeschooling families looking for a church that matches their whole-family approach to life.

Family of Faith calls their approach “home discipleship.” Each week, the members read from a suggested Bible reading plan. On Sundays, the pastor usually preaches from a passage that they have studied at home, which helps the many children in the sanctuary to understand the sermon.

“At the heart of our approach is encouraging daily time alone with the Lord and worship as a family, with prayer, a hymn, and Bible reading,” said Feddes. “It’s not fancy but increasingly rare and challenging nowadays.”

After church, everyone stays around for one to two hours to chat. Once a month, they have a potluck and scripture memory recitation by gender (participation is optional.)

Karie Blair used to attend a Christian Reformed church in her town and was invited by a friend to try Family of Faith, which is a 20-minute drive away.

“I never really like all the programs [at other churches] because I always thought our kids should be with us in church,” said Blair, who homeschools and has seven children. “It was very natural to come here. I just prefer to hold my babies. I take them out if they cry.”

Blair enjoys watching people recite their scripture verses: “I feel so blessed and absolutely adore it – it is so precious.”

The church does “sometimes” have a youth group, and as for the singles in the church - there is “nothing special for them to do” – they just join in the after-church fellowship and whatever else is going on, said the pastor.

“I’m not declaring from the housetops that every church should do what we do,” said Feddes. However, he said, this low-key approach, which he sees as a mixture of premodern and postmodern ingredients, seems to be working for this congregation.

About the Author

Roxanne Van Farowe is a freelance writer living in North Carolina. She has reported on synod, the annual decision-making gathering of the CRC, for many years.

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