Family, Church, Community, Kingdom
Eight - Infrastructuring
In Christian churches, there are systems of elders, deacons, and areas. And there are women evangelists working for witnessing activities, while traveling. There are the people who are always helping under the leadership of the minister. Yet we have no system as such. Whenever new guests come to the church, we just give a Divine Principle lecture, but it is not enough. By organizing a clear/thorough system, we should be able to work with every member from the center. (WSL 1, p. 164-5)
I have heard Father call us to create an effective church system for many years. Father often speaks of the family system as the model we should use. When I began to reflect upon that, I realized that what Father is saying is (as usual) extremely profound. It is not only theologically perfect from the point of view of Divine Principle, it is exactly what works in the real world. It is what every church growth book describes. In fact, today what Father calls the family system is a well-proven church growth model. It is time for us to put the family system into practice. It is the way to grow our church.
Well, what exactly IS the "family system"? The answer is simple. It's a family tree. It's the way nature organizes us as biological families, based upon ties of blood and love. Let's look at a family tree.
What is interesting here is that the family system is a small group system. Each three-generation family is a small group.
Okay, so how do we apply this to the church? It's simple once we grasp the principle that the church is composed of small groups, because each family in the family system is a small group in the church. Each small group functions as a family. Leaders serve in the position of parents and grandparents. Dale Galloway, in fact, refers to his "meta-church" model as a "small-group, family-type ministry." (p. 141)
The Family System: A Family Tree
The following diagram serves to describe a local church, with a small group ministry involving all families, as a five-generation family tree. With an average of three children per family, the five generations would total 121 families. This is a natural, biological and spiritual set of relationships. According to the Principle of Creation, this is the natural way that humankind would have multiplied, centered on God.
Because of the fall, we need to restore this original family tree by setting up the original True Parents and engrafting families into the "down-line," the lineage. This model can be established in every church, with the pastor's couple in the position of True Parents, and the members working "down-line" from that couple.
In the following diagram, I will copy the biological model of a family tree as a network of small groups in a local church.
The Family Church System: A Small Group Tree
I point out that each parental position has three children under them, as well as one parent above them. This means that this infrastructure is made up of numerous identical small groups, just as an extended family is made up of numerous families.
This means that a regular family is a part of a small group. Leader families are a part of two small groups: the one they lead, and the one led by the higher level family. This is just like a biological family. The child is part of one family (one small group) led by the parents. Parents are part of two small groups: their own family (themselves and their children) and their parents' family (their parents and their siblings).
This is a very important point. As I read church growth literature, I read that everyone including the top leaders should be involved in a small group. Don Southerland, in his book Transitioning, notes that the ministry staff at Flamingo Road Church spend a good deal of time together as families and friends, not just at work. Personal growth is a necessity for everyone, including -- and maybe especially -- the leadership. There can be a leadership team as well as worship team, witnessing teams and so forth.
Relational Standard In The Family System
Each place is unique.... The question is how to settle your church around where you live. ... The District Leader gives systematic guidance in Hoon Dok Hae and hears testimony and sharing from members. He encourages them through joyful things and relieves their pain by sharing the bad things. Then they have refreshments and informal talk. Refreshments are potluck. We can do this activity everywhere, anywhere." (Rev. Jung Og Yu, November 20, 1998)
This system has no meaning or value without heart. Without true love, it is nothing better than communism. The value is realized if it provides the channels through which true love can flow.
The standard of relationships centers on the four great realms of heart. The leader couple in relation to the members practices the virtues of parents. These virtues are sacrifice, serving, teaching, exemplifying, disciplining, counseling, pro-vision of sustenance and vision. One goal is to raise all the member couples to reach their level of leadership, i.e., to become parents.
The member couples in relation to the leader couple practices the virtues of filial piety, such as faith, trust, support, comforting and obedience. Conjugal love is practiced in each family on every level between husband and wife. This is the universal solvent acting in every family. Brother-sister love, including sexual purity, is practiced between member couples on each level and within families.
The value of organizing by the family system is that it is the original structure of creation, and it is the ideal to which the Family Federation is dedicated. The family should be the settlement place for God.
The purpose of small groups is to support each other in our mutual striving to realize these ideals. Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak more than once has written that to be good Tribal Messiahs we need do no more than create ideal families, because just by the example of our healthy family life, others will want to emulate us and find out what we are part of. It is not easy to create an ideal family while living in the secular society. That fallen world is like a vacuum cleaner that sucks ideals out of one's heart.
Now, here is my proposed solution. Perhaps the reader remembers Dan Fefferman's lyric: "all bound together, nobody can fall." Those words struck me from the first time I heard them as being the reason we live together in centers. Out there in the world by myself, I knew that I was bound to fall. I needed my brothers' and sisters' love and support, binding together with me, to keep from falling.
Now, this is the key point: being bound together with my wife and kids keeps me from falling, so I don't need a church community for that. Thus I am saved as an individual. But how can I save my family? How can I avoid having my family implode upon itself? That is, how can my family avoid becoming privatized? To do that, I need to be bound together with other families. Just going to worship service is not enough, because that still addresses me as an individual. We need to be bound together as families. We need to be held accountable to live our ideals by our peers down the block or across town. And it does not stop with being held accountable. We need to be prayed with and recreated with. We need to plan and dream together, confessing to each other and working with each other. We need, as Dale Galloway puts it, to be "loved into" living our ideals.
This is the foundation of the family church and family federation. When all families are manifesting the ideals of the family -- the ideals of heart mentioned above -- then we are already in the Kingdom. We will have reached the goal.
I have to emphasize that the role of the church leader is to support the Tribal Messiah's personal and family ministry. When each Tribal Messiah has a successful community of 185 blessed families, truly the work will be done. But to accomplish this, we need each other. There are very few of us who can plunge into a neighborhood and build up our blessing community by ourselves. But working as small groups, we can do it.
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