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Q&A

As of 2021, what is the status of the Family Integrated Church movement?

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Around 2010-2011 I was reading about the Family Integrated Church, a movement that basically said almost any family seperation during church services like Sunday School was wrong and families should sit together during the whole service on a similar philosophy to the regulative principle of worship.

It was started by Scott Brown and Doug Phillips, the founder of Vision Forum. It came to light that Doug Phillips had been having an affair and Vision Forum shuttered.

Did the Family Integrated Church die with Vision Forum, as that was a large part of where and how it got started, or is it still ongoing as of 2021?

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The following answer is based on my personal experiences and knowledge of the FIC movement. My dad was strongly influenced by Doug Phillips when young and I grew up homeschooled in the Bible Belt, so while not personally involved I have attended various FIC churches and know people who are part of the continuing movement.

Note that many denominations follow practices where many ages come together for certain parts of a service (e.g. Catholic Mass) or simply have not adopted any kind of formal age-segregated activities. For my response I am using "Family Integrated Church" to refer solely to the evangelical movement that began to be popularized in the late twentieth century.


Vision Forum was active from 1998 to 2013. By the time it closed down its main success was not in persuading individuals, but a large number of pastors and churches that an age-integrated church setting was an important precept. This teaching was not immediately abandoned with the revelation of Phillips' adultery.

Due to the general traditionalism and lack of formal oversight common in some other denominations, FIC was particularly popular in Southern Baptist congregations, though it also took hold in some of the more conservative Presbyterian denominations. From what I have observed, many pastors and congregations who follow the teachings of the FIC movement also hold fundamentalist or quasi-fundamentalist views on a variety of other topics (7-day creation, contraception, inerrancy, etc.) and the family-oriented nature of FIC fit well with that overall doctrinal worldview.

Additionally, Scott Brown went on to become president of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), now Church and Family Life, which is a parachurch organization with very similar goals to Vision Forum. They have a large network / directory of churches that are partnered with them.

There are also several popular Christian writers and speakers who are part of the same or similar movements, e.g. Michael and Debi Pearl and the Duggars. They continue to produce media and other material that supports the FIC movement.

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