We are a Biblically conservative congregation that believes that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. We seek to study, obey, and share the Bible with others. Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions called The Baptist Faith and Message, which serves as a guide to understanding who we are. You can find the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 at this link: https://bfm.sbc.net
Why Do We Follow a Family Equipping Model?
For many people today, the church has become just another part of the “rat-race” of life. Church has become just another institution that requires more time, more work, and more separation from a family that is already separated too much. But that is not how the church has always functioned. Prior to our modern era, the church functioned as an extension of the family. The family stayed together for worship, and parents had the primary responsibility to evangelize, and disciple their children. However, over the past 75 years, we have deviated from God’s plan of worship and divided the family. We have separated mothers from daughter, and sons from fathers. We have done so following a public education model, choosing to honor a government institution model over God’s design.
However, the family is the first and greatest institution God created. It was established long before any other human institution and is the divinely ordained building block of the society and the church. We believe there is a clear and consistent biblical pattern of worship and discipleship for the people of God that is age-integrated; and we believe that this pattern should be embraced and practiced (Ex. 12:21-27; Deut. 16:9-14; 32:46; Josh. 8:34-35; 2 Chron. 20:13; Ezra 10:1; Neh. 8:2; 12:43; Joel 2:15-16; Acts 20:7-12; 1 Cor. 11:1-2, Eph. 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 1:13; 3:15-17)
So, why do we as the church so often segregate and divide families when we come to church? Why do we use the most effective tool of the enemy in the world to destroy families—the fragmentation of the family—and think the result in church will somehow be different? The sad reality today is that approximately 66% of children that attend church will leave the church when they turn 18, many to never return. Even with the invention of youth programs, and exciting children’s worship experiences, the lights and the glitter can only keep their attention and compete with the world’s offerings for so long.
After searching the Scriptures, we decided that the answer was not a more entertaining or exciting children’s or youth program. We’ve come to believe the answer is to help restore the family unit through true family discipleship. We believe that returning to a biblically-ordered, age-integrated methodology for the worship of God and discipleship in a local church is consistent with Holy Scripture and critical for the restoration of the kind of worship and discipleship culture we see demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments (Deut. 31:12-13; 2 Chron. 20:13; Ezra. 10:1; Ps. 127:3-4; 148:12-13; Pr. 22:6, Matt. 19:13-14; Mark. 9:36; 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17; Col. 3:20; Eph. 6:1-4).
When the family learns the gospel together and each member learns how to grow and mature in Christ—while embracing their role in the family—the family, the church, and the society will prosper because God is truly worshipped, glorified, and exalted as He intended.
We believe the greatest need for fathers is to learn and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then teach and lead their families to do the same (Ephesians 5:23). This is why we’ve tried to create a church environment that embraces this fundamental, biblical truth so families can “grow up in all things into Him” (Ephesians 4:15). We love children, and we do not want to separate them from their parents, rather we encourage all parents to keep their children with them during the worship experience.
We believe a church is a family of believers—young, old, single, married, with children, without children, orphaned, elderly, widowed, etc. Regardless of your family situation, followers of Christ are to come together in unity and love and build each other in the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
At Mt Yonah Baptist Church, we believe the best environment for this kind of growth and edification in the Lord is in a family-integrated church—a church in which adults learn the gospel, learn to follow Christ, and learn how to make disciples, beginning with their own children. In this way, we are much more equipped to follow Christ and His word, much more equipped to be salt and light in the world, and much more equipped to carry out the Great Commission. If this appeals to you, we invite you to come and worship with us and learn more about what God is doing among us as we seek to follow Him!