"THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD: A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible; Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick was excited about the task — but, he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, 'The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.'" (link)
(Taken by Deb)
While the Sunday School quote cited above may be humorous, what is happening today in the body of Christ is no joke! As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, there is another group of helicopter parents on steroids that is wreaking havoc in some corners of Christendom. It has been quite a while since we focused on them, and we believe it is important to update our readers on the latest developments involving this close-knit group.
This domineering clan, which touts homeschooling as the only viable option for educating children, are none other than Doug Phillips (Vision Forum), Scott Brown (National Center for Family Integrated Churches) and their colleagues Voddie Baucham, Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis), Dr. R.C. Spoul, Jr., and Geoffrey Botkin, among others. We plan to spend the next several posts focusing on the shenanigans of this group.
In case you are not familiar with Doug Phillips, he is a HUGE proponent of homeschooling and has built a cottage industry on the backs of homeschooling families. His business enterprise / ministry – Vision Forum – markets books, videos, toys, and other educational materials to homeschoolers via its catalog, website, and homeschooling conferences. VF was launched in 1998. Ironically, I was homeschooling my two daughters during this time and heard Phillips deliver an extremely patriotic talk at the North Carolina Home Educators Convention. I had no idea at the time that Phillips was a Calvinista and a modern-day patriarch who would in short order cause terrible dissension in the body of Christ. Please consult our archives for previous posts on Phillips and VF. For the record, I stopped homeschooling a year later.
Did you happen to see the recent Washington Post article entitled “Some Churches Cancel Sunday School – Put Parents in Charge”? (link)
The Post artice begins as follows:
“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 congregation, whose leaders wanted parents — rather than Sunday school teachers and youth ministers — to spiritually train their children. 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.”
In case you haven’t heard of family integrated congregations, we believe this concept may have originated with Scott Brown, director of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC) and his close friends Doug Phillips (founder of Vision Forum), and Voddie Baucham (a Southern Baptist pastor).
The Washington Post article provides the following background information: “The family-centered movement is part of a broader trend of churches struggling to respond to statistics that claim a youth attrition rate of 40-88 percent."
Some leaders such as Christian Smith, director of the National Study of Youth and Religion, contest this claim, saying there is some cause for concern but that those statistics can sometimes be exaggerated.
Recently, Scott Brown wrote a book called A Weed in the Church, which condemns age-segregated activities such as Sunday School. Brown states that such activities are UNBIBLICAL. Brown, who lives close by in Wake Forest, North Carolina, told the Post reporter that there are close to eight hundred churches affiliated with NCFIC that have either canned traditional Sunday school classes or curtailed them. To further promote this trend, NCFIC recently released a controversial video called Divided, which puts forth their agenda to establish family integrated churches. I recently watched this divisive video and will be commenting on it in an upcoming post.
The Post article mentions an upcoming conference of D6 – "a movement that explores how churches can encourage parents to spiritually train their youth". More than two thousand attendees from around seven hundred churches will be attending this conference in Dallas from September 21-23 in Dallas. This movement gets its name from the sixth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy, which is also cited by the family-centered movement for its admonition to teach children God’s commandments.
Richard Ross, a D6 presenter and professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was interviewed by the Post reporter, and here is what he had to say:
“I do believe there is an overbalance of age-segregated programming and that overbalance must be corrected, but it is throwing out the baby with the bath to suggest that those groupings should never happen.”
Daryl Nuss, chief ministries officer of the National Network of Youth Ministries was also interviewed by the Washington Post reporter, who stated that Nuss "thinks the family-centered movement is too strict. 'That may work in a small segment of churches but what about all those students who do not come from a healthy family, do not come from a nuclear family?' he asked."
There is SO MUCH MORE to discuss regarding next week's D6 conference and this patriarchal bunch of helicopter parents on steroids. Stay tuned!
Lydia's Corner: 2 Kings 23:31-25:30 Acts 22:17-23:10 Psalm 2:1-12 Proverbs 18:13