A family integrated church doctrinally looks the same as almost any other orthodox Christian church. The difference is found in our structure. Unlike the vast majority churches, we do not have age-segregated ministries. That is not say that we don't children and youth of all ages...we certainly have lots of them! And we also have youth ministry, it just doesn't involve a hired "youth minister", but rather parents are expected and taught to take on their biblical roles as the discipler of their children and children who attend who have lost parents. With that said, our goal is to reach everyone with the Gospel that we possibly can, especially those parents of youth who may attend our services. Though we carry the "Family Integrated Church" that does not mean that we are a family centered church. We are a Christ centered church. Upon attending our church one of the first things you might notice is that we do not have a nursery for even little ones to be taken to. Families attend the worship service as a unit with the intent of passing on their faith and God's truths to the next generation. We do have a "training room" that is available for parents to utilize during the service if need be.
As Christians we believe that the Bible is both sufficient and authoritative. It is very important that our actions line up with this basic belief. The Church throughout history has battled with the notion of allowing Scripture to remain authoritative in every aspect of Christian faith and practice. In recent years believers have seen this to be the case in a number of issues within local churches. Rather than Scripture being the authority, pragmatism has taken the reigns. Thus many churches have subscribed to the idea of "whatever works, do it". This "results" driven ideology is unscriptural and stems from the sin of pride. Rather than rely on God's revelation to us (the Bible) we construct our own ideas which sometimes supersede the principles and truths we see in Scripture.
For the first 1900+ years of Christianity local churches have operated for the most part as a single unit. Meaning they were not segregated within the walls of the church building/meeting place when they came together. The idea of age-segregated ministries (ie. youth ministry, children's ministry, senior adult ministry, single's ministry, young married couples ministry...etc.) if a fairly new concept. The best rule of thumb for any church is to check all that it does against Scripture to see those things line up with the word of God.
So what do we see in the Bible concerning this issue of age-segregation? Before we take a brief look at that, let's take note of a few things we don't see: the office of youth pastor, children's minister, music minister, or any other modern addition that is common place among churches today. Scriptures speak to the bride of Christ being unified and functioning as a body. That can be difficult to do when you arrive at the church services with your kids and send them off to different corners of the building not to see them again until lunch time. There is also a significant issue that needs to be addressed: who's job is it to disciple children? Scripture makes it clear that that primarily falls on the parents, not the youth pastor or children's minister. One might ask "well can't it be both?" That is the wrong question. The question is "should it be both?" The temptation for parents to abdicate their responsibility to "qualified professionals" is great when these types of programs our offered. Again, the goal is to view scripture as the sole authority in how we construct our churches programs, beliefs, and philosophy of ministry.
If we just look at scripture alone, we see that when God's people are gathered to worship Him they do so in an integrated fashion. Back in the Old Testament when the people of Israel would gather to hear the word of God read, they would be gathered with children and grandchildren, even "suckling babes". In the New Testament when Paul would address letters to churches, he would address the children along with the adults. Those letters were read and received with entire families present. When looking at the offices of leadership withing the New Testament we only see two: Elder and Deacon. Elders were to lead the church and deacons were to serve the church so as to free up the elders to devote themselves to prayer and the word. We do see a plurality of Elders when we look at the NT, though we do not see factions with the church as a result of that. Many churches find themselves having multiple congregations within their church family which look to their individual minister as "their pastor". This is simply not seen in Scripture and can be divisive.
Family integrated churches appear to be new on the scene in our culture, and sadly they are. But remember that this is not due to a new "movement" which strives to be more relevant and pragmatic. It's a result of churches longing to reform their beliefs and practices back to Scripture which is the authority God has given us.
Is it more difficult to have your children with you in the worship service? Of course it takes more effort and practice at home to prepare your family for that time. But our church understands that this effort is needed and has committed to being patient with families who are new to this concept. Thus you won't find mean stares flying in your direction during the service if your child is crying, cooing, or whispering. We do encourage training from every family where this is possible and we offer a separate "training" room which looks into our sanctuary for those who need to escort their child out of the service.
We have been amazed at how much our children learn and "pick up" from the services. This should not come as a surprise to considering this is how God designed it.