NCFIC’s purpose is to correctly understand God’s unified 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. This question and answer is taken from the “Frequently Asked Questions” page on the NCFIC web site
Kevin Swanson says,
“I believe that this is the single most important family-reformational movement in the world. The reformation of fatherhood, family relationships, family discipleship, and a distinctively biblical way of thinking in education is all important and exceedingly basic to the reformation of life. Yet, it cannot stop here. The reformation of family life is basic in our reformation agenda, but it must lead to the reformation of church relationships, church leadership, church worship, and church life. The dysfunctionality in family relationships have led to the dysfunctionality of church relationships.”
To read more click here for Kevin’s article “A Healthy Church in a Toxic Age”
1. Proclaim the sufficiency of scripture for church and family life
2. Promote the centrality of the church in God’s plan for families
3. Recover the biblical doctrines of manhood and womanhood in church, family and civil life
4. Identify the marks of worldliness in church and family in the 21st century
5. Explain the complimentary roles of church and family
6. Facilitate church planting and relationship building worldwide
7. Communicate the biblical doctrine of the family
8. Restore the biblical pattern of age integrated, family integrated worship, discipleship and evangelism
Each year the elders at our church recommend that families read a missionary biography. For 2008, our recommendation was the biography of David Brainerd compiled by Jonathan Edwards.
Jonathan Edwards captures the essence of why it was important that we read Brainerd’s biography,
“that we may be in like manner faithful in our work; that we may be filled with the same spirit, animated with the like pure and fervent flame of love to God, and the like earnest concern to advance the kingdom and glory of our Lord and Master, and the prosperity of Zion!”
Edwards further comments on his focus on the glory of God,
‘Oh that the things that were seen and heard in this extraordinary person, his holiness, heavenliness, labor, and self-denial in his life, his so remarkably devoting himself and his all, in heart and practice to the glory of God…” Jonathan Edwards, Works, Vol.2, 35-36).
Here are nine critical messages of Brainerd’s life that we hope are transformational for us at our church.
1. His sensitivity to sin
It is possible that Brainerd had an over active sensitivity to sin, but it may also be true that we at Hope Baptist are less sensitive to sin – maybe too much so. We wanted to encourage a greater hatred of sin as we see in Brainerd. He writes, “Saw myself so vile and unworthy that I could not look my people in the face when I came to preach. Oh, my meanness, folly, ignorance, and inward pollution.” p146 At the same time, he shows his desire for holiness, “My soul breathed after God in sweet spiritual and longing desires of conformity Him.’ P107
2. His sufferings
His body was constantly at war with him and the disease that finally claimed his life caused him to feel poorly nearly every day of his life. Some of of the people in our church have experienced the most difficult year of their lives physically. Brainerd shows us how one man dealt with constant sickness and physical hardship. “With regard to the comforts of life. Most of my diet consists of boiled corn, hasty-pudding, etc. I lodge on a bundle of straw, my labor is hard and extremely difficult, and I have little appearance of success to comfort me.” P124
3. His short life.
Brainerd was Saved at age 21 and he died age 29. At age 25 he became a missionary to the Indians. So for eight years he was a Christian and four years a missionary. We have a church full of young people and how important it is that we help them labor in meaningful things.
4. His struggle with depression
He experienced emotional ups and downs and brought them before the throne of God. He was often lonely and cold and without adequate food. He was among Indians and could not communicate with them in their native languages. We may struggle with discouragement, but we need also recognize that God is in control and He will glorify Himself even when we do not feel good about what is happening in our lives.
5. His devotion to evangelism
“I wanted to wear out my life in His service, and for His glory,” p81 Brainerd inspires us that all of our energies ought to be invested in eternal things.
6. His passion for prayer
We that Brainerd is constantly devoting large amounts of time for prayer. He writes, “this morning I spent about two hours in secret duties and was enabled more than ordinarily to agonize for immortal souls.” P81
7. His use of time
Brainerd desired that his time would be spent for God’s glory. He said, “O that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey.”
8. His weakness and God’s strength
Brainerd’s fruitfulness was not dependent upon himself but upon Divine blessing. Here is David Brainerd looking back on his work among the Indians, “It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had the least hope and, to my apprehension, the least rational prospect of seeing a work of grace propagated amongst them. My bodily strength and been much wasted… exposed to hardships and fatigues… my mind also exceedingly depressed with a view of the unsuccessfulness of my labors. I had little reason so much as to hope that God had made me instrumental in the saving conversion of any of the Indians… Whence I learn that it is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.” p243
9. He was a blessed brother – he ministered to Jonathan Edwards’ children while in Edwards house on his deathbed
“He applied himself to some of my younger children at this time, calling them to him and speaking to them one by one; setting before them, in very plain manner, the nature and essence of true piety and its great importance and necessity; earnestly warning them not to rest in anything short of a true and thorough change of heart and a life devoted to God.” p366
My appreciation runs high for my preaching professor in seminary – R. Kent Hughes. With all his heart he appealed to us to preach the Word using the expository method. That was 28 years ago. Now, a book on preaching has been dedicated to him: Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes
The exposition of scripture was the focus of his life for over forty years. This book celebrates this legacy by bringing together fifteen of his friends to write about the things he loved so much. The Editor, Leland Ryken has included an article by D.A. Carson who speaks succinctly about critical issues for preaching by boiling it down to five observations.
Commenting on expository preaching he says that it is essentially, “unpacking what is there… If we expect God to re-reveal himself by his own words, then our expositions must reflect as faithfully as possible what God actually said…”
This was the heart of Kent Hughes’ ministry to young seminarians and I know several who continue to live the vision he cast so long ago. One Sunday morning a decade ago, my wife Deborah and I attended College Church where Kent was preaching. I could hardly hold back the tears as he preached – he was still doing the things he taught us to do so many years before and it was beautiful to me.
As the eldest son, I am perhaps one of the supreme authorities on this marriage since I have had the closest and longest inside view of almost anyone alive. As a long term observer, I must say that this has been a sweet marriage. Some of the more junior observers of this marriage say:
Grandson David says: “It is a blessing to watch the example of their interactions.”
Granddaughter Blair says: “I want a marriage like that.”
Granddaughter Claudia says: “We have had the benefit of 61 years of a marriage on the right path – their lives have been such a good example to me.”
Daughter in-law Deborah says: “Staying married this long has made them free to be with us and minister to us – like today when Grandmary helped Claudia bake.”
February 13-14 “Our Marriages and The Marriages of our Son’s and Daughters,” Wake Forest, NC
March 14-15 Reforming Church and Family | Unpacking Family Integrated Church Life – Wake Forest
September 18-19 Church Planters Symposium – Anderson Indiana
October 24-25 Reforming Church and Family | Unpacking Family Integrated Church Life – Wake Forest
December 10-12 National NCFIC Conference – The Sufficiency of Scripture for Church and Home Life
For more information email David Brown: [email protected]
Here is an insightful article from Tim Challies on the mind and the affections and their relationship to listening to sermons and reading books. It is true that we cannot remember everything we hear or read, but our affections are formed by them and that works for the glory of God and for our sanctification.
We are now engaged in a significant expansion of the ministry of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches. The NCFIC was founded on September 11, 2001 and after seven years of ministry and laying a foundation, we believe that now is the time to give the NCFIC a distinct internet presence. This will allow us to clarify and amplify the message, increase the services, multiply the theological resources and extend the reach of the ministry.
This expansion includes the following:
- Spinning the NCFIC web site out as a stand-alone resource.
- Locating the offices of the NCFIC in Wake Forest, NC.
- Getting to work on a big build-out of the web site content in audio, print and video.
- Adding new functions and capabilities to the web site.
- Adding employees.
- Conducting a national conference in Dec 3-5, 2009 with Voddie Baucham and Doug Phillips
- Discipling interns.
We believe that the church and the family are both holy institutions deserving our most excellent attentions. Please join us in prayer for the beautification and the proper functioning of church and family in our generation
Please prayerfully consider a donation to the NCFIC. Funds donated to Vision Forum Ministries must specify that the gift is for the NCFIC.
Does the case of Deborah during the time of judges provide a role model for women of God or is it an exception to the creation order? How does Deborah’s story instruct us today? This controversial discussion provides many insights to both men and women who are trying to live according to the Word of God. Scott Brown and William Einwechter discuss what scripture actually teaches regarding this godly woman who was a blessing to her nation in a time of social collapse.
Take a moment to listen to an important discussion on the relationship between the church and the family and the growing crisis of our youth departing from the church. This audio clip from 2006 is a recorded segment of Kevin Swanson’s Generations Radio program interviewing Doug Phillips, founder of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches.
In this interview Doug identifies some of the main issues that need to be addressed for the reformation of the church. He makes it clear that while the church has become a bastion of secularism, there is a revival of biblical fatherhood and an understanding of church and family life is key to church revival. Doug says, “If you destroy fathers you destroy the family. If you destroy the family you destroy the church. In our churches we have wiped out our fathers.”
Following Whitefield’s example would keep us from missed opportunities in evangelism
“God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter
of an hour without speaking of Christ to him.”
This is one thing we learn from Whitefield that would help us bring more blessing.
On October 16, 1740 George Whitefield preached here on this rock. It was very moving to stand in the same spot and to visualize the hearts that burned for God during the Great Awakening and to consider that it could happen again – whenever God desires