Two and a half years into Family Integration (keeping families together in services) and still standing! :)
There are some things about this "model" of corporate ministry I just love. They are "intangible" things though...stuff you wouldn't necessarily think about as fruit of keeping families together...and could not script or program if you tried. Here are some of my favorites:
1. The comments the young children make to me after the message about what I preached. And I'm talking 3-10 year olds. It's amazing what they can absorb and understand!
2. Observing the interaction between the older saints and young families and their children. So much wisdom and counsel being passed back and forth...so much encouragement! :)
3. Seeing young people worship. Those who are being discipled to love God and worship Him...worship! What a sight to behold!
4. Seeing those who've been through tragedy engage in ongoing healing through intergenerational fellowship and interaction. Perfect example: a spiritual daughter who lost a child, laughing and giggling with my 8 month old son (and he SO returns the favor with a toothless grin :)). How does she receive that love if he's in a nursery somewhere?
5. The random "catechism" competions among tweens in the hallway.
6. Watching grown men and women serve alongside their sons and daughters on ministry teams..and watching our singles interact with younger children on those same teams. Amazing!
7. Seeing a love for children simply explode throughout the church! Everybody holding each other's babies, talking about adoption, being foster parents, grandchildren, discipling teens and those challenges, family worship ideas, etc. Could it be this wonderful? Yes it can!
8. Watching this refreshed perspective change homes and education choices. You go God!
9. Seeing the power of the Sufficiency of Scripture impact other parts of life: money, modesty, missions, hospitality, personal holiness, work ethic, etc.
10. The fact that families of all types come together, sit together, sing together, pray together, partake of the Lord's supper together, serve together, hear the preached word together, leave together, and then continue this throughout the rest of the week.
Deut 29:10-12 - All of you are standing today in the presence of the LORD your God--your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the aliens living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God.
Joshua 8:35 - There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.