Q & A: Finding a Large Family Friendly Community

moms of many manage Today the 4 Moms are answering reader questions. I’m answering one because we have a houseful of unexpected guests.

    Here’s a question where it would be nice to hear some of your input. Jul asked, “I am wondering where are some good larger family friendly cities/states to live in? I cannot tell you how long I’ve been praying for the Lord to send Godly mentors our way and, I find it a rather dismal commentary on our times, that it’s pretty rare to find in one’s own community.

I’d like to focus this answer on the what I think is the more important aspect, finding Godly mentors.

It’s much less about being “larger family friendly” and much more about finding an area where there is a community of believers who are passionately committed to the Word of God. If you find a community of believers who are passionately committed to following Christ, they will be large family friendly.

Mark and I have been talking about this a lot, trying to put our finger on why we have such wonderful, lovely, encouraging, faith building fellowship with some groups of believers and struggle to get past a casual “Hi, how are you doing?” relationship with others.

Our conclusion has been that when you find people whose first obligation is to the Bible, everything in their lives becomes subject to that standard. They will change how they view children, how they worship God, how they educate their children, their church affiliation, how they live their life, they will change everything to be more conformed to the Scriptures.

These Christians will change their lives in order to build relationships with other Christians and this is what we’re talking about when we talk about mentors, other Christians who are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to build the faith of others.

This type of commitment is unusual in Christians today. Most Christians do not believe that Christianity will change our lives, churches and the world, but if it doesn’t then it’s not true Christianity.

We’ve been very welcomed and loved in places with mostly smaller families and we’ve been in places with mostly larger families where we felt isolated and alone.

So what are some signs of people who are passionate about following God’s Word wherever it leads?

  • They rejoice in being with other believers and make time in their lives for fellowship with other Christians. (John 13:35) They are committed to hospitality. (Romans 12:13, 1 Tim. 3:2, Titus 1:8, Heb. 13:2, 1 Pet. 4:9)
  • The men primarily choose to talk about doctrine, God, the Bible and how it impacts their worship, food, education, activity choices, budget, children, etc. They don’t just about sports and work. They do not shy away or avoid talking about difficult issues because they are passionate about iron sharpening iron and learning God’s truth.
  • They are unafraid to admit they are wrong and to change course.
  • The men, especially church leaders, are characterized by a humble, sacrificial, servant-leadership.

    You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” ~ Mark 10:35

  • Their lives and families will look different than the world, at least here in the God hating culture of America.
  • They are committed to sacrificially serving each other in the name of Christ because they realize that everything they have is from God and it to be used to serve Him by serving others.

All of that said, perhaps a good place to start looking for a specific larger family friendly area (and more importantly a church that is passionately committed to following Christ), is the NCFIC website.

The NCFIC website provides a directory of family-integrated churches. When you click on a specific church you can see what that church believes, their style of worship, their denomination, etc. They also provide contact information so that you can speak to someone directly.

Mark and I have lived in Kingsport and Bristol Tennessee and Bristol Virginia (all one area) and then in Knoxville, TN. In both areas we’ve found churches and communities that fit what I described above.

Do you live in an area that is large family friendly? What tips do you have?

We’ve come up with a creative solution for those who already bought our 4 Moms Parenting ebook but wish they had waited for the Kindle, and we have a treat for those who are among the first to buy the Kindle version. For further details see The Common Room, but hurry, because this offer ends Saturday night at 7.P.M. Central Time.

Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to find out what questions they are answering:

KimC at Life in a Shoe talks about courtship, dental bills and diapers.
Connie at Smockity Frocks offers room sharing and tub toy storing tips.
Headmistress at The Common Room shares family updates, managing socks and how to get the 4 Moms Parenting ebook on Kindle.

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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17 Responses to Q & A: Finding a Large Family Friendly Community
  1. Asia
    April 19, 2012 | 10:39 am

    “Our conclusion has been that when you find people whose first obligation is to the Bible, everything in their lives becomes subject to that standard. They will change how they view children, how they worship God, how they educate their children, their church affiliation, how they live their life, they will change everything to be more conformed to the Scriptures. ”
    I really needed to read this paragraph. I have been focusing too much on what others think, even though their mind set is not a Biblical one.

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  2. Carolyn Bassett
    April 19, 2012 | 10:40 am

    I live on Pasquotank County Nc and throughout the whole region people are very friendly; supportive, encouraging, and even admiring of our large family.
    There are lots of bible believing churches in the area and lots and lots of Godly folks here. Even pro life Christian obstetricians and midwives :-)

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  3. LAURA
    April 19, 2012 | 12:36 pm

    come to Utah!! you’d be surrounded by large family oriented Christian Mormons! I love it here! and like written above–you can see it in their lives and the way they live!

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  4. Shannon
    April 19, 2012 | 2:08 pm

    Don’t be shy about calling churches ahead of attending. You don’t have to ask “are you large family friendly” just ask when they meet and how they deal with classes and if children are included in worship services(as opposed to a separate children’s services).
    And keep in mind that friendliness goes both ways, one friend of mine complains endlessly about clicks, yet created one herself at church, my point is to make sure you are open to being a mentor and finding those relationships and the Lord will do the rest.

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  5. Travis
    April 19, 2012 | 2:49 pm

    My wife and I just had our third baby. We don’t consider 3 to be a large number of children, but I think in our society it is rapidly becoming the norm for people to not have ANY children, or if they do to only have 1 or 2. I care very deeply about the environment that my children are in. We aren’t able to homeschool right now, so we try to be very supportive of our children’s teachers. Sometimes God puts us in situations or surrounding that we in our limited understanding might deem undesirable. But if we know this is where we’re supposed to be it’s our job as Christians to pray and show God’s love wherever we are. When our church didn’t offer what we wanted our children to have we stepped in and took on more responsibility. This benefits the community as well.

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  6. abba12
    April 19, 2012 | 5:42 pm

    I’m in Australia, and it took us two years before we found a church where we even felt comfortable. We finally have one we feel accepted in. It’s only flaw? Completely NOT FIC friendly! Oh they don’t mind me keeping my toddler in church, not at all (we’ll see what happens when she becomes sunday school age) but it’s awfully hard to teach her to sit and listen when the lady behind us is giving her snacks, the other children in the church are allowed to run around and try to play with her (and she in turn wants to follow them), and the women beside us grab her for a hold without warning. If she manages to find herself in grandmas lap she will end up being passed all up and down the pew.

    They all mean well of course, they do it to help keep her amused like they kept their kids amused, and they do it because they love her. But short of alienating our entire church and constantly asking people to leave her alone, there’s no way for us to teach her to sit beside us quietly. I just have to manage as best I can at the moment and hope I can retrain her when she’s old enough to be left alone by our loving congregation and can be spoken to with basic reasoning.

    Anyone else out there like me? Any help?

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    Kim Reply:

    i don’t normally comment on the blogs i check frequently but i thought i would today. the above post was really encouraging and it makes me really think about us and our family and specifically how the men of our community interact to impact their families. the value of that is really underrated.

    abba12- “at the risk of alienation” is so true ;) i honestly just kept saying “no thank you,” even when the little one was being difficult. we now have two and having them both learn to sit quietly has been a tremendous blessing. they aren’t always angels but they’re getting better. i had to say “no” a lot at the beginning but generally people are understanding and “no, its important to us that she learns to sit quietly” is an okay answer too. i have found that in the rare occasion that i allow someone to help with a child who is being more unruly then normal, it helps to a) already have decided who you would want to help and b) use somebody who values the same behavior in their own children that you are trying to instill in yours – for example, the mom that i allow to help me has children who stay in service with her and sit quietly, she does not and has not in the past used nursery on a consistent basis. as a result, i am comfortable allowing her to help (and no i don’t let her help as often as she asks) because i know that she will do her best to continue to instill the behavior i want to see in my children.
    We may have a slightly different situation then yours, I don’t know. But our church is small and little ones started to come all around the same time. We were able to at the outset of setting up any type of nursery program or children’s program to say that we will not be participating, as we want our children to learn to sit with us during church. We did this with our pastor’s blessing and we’ve not had a problem with any of the other church members. We do not allow it to become a comment on how others choose to raise their children. This is just what we do.
    I hope you find this helpful… I’m sure Kimberly has a lot more suggestions then I do… she’s got 8.5 kids on me ;-)

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  7. Mummy Butterfly
    April 20, 2012 | 1:28 pm

    We live in the South (near Atlanta) and with our 6th child on the way, we ARE a large family for the suburbs. But I have found that our little church doesn’t seem to mind at all – in fact, they love that we “fill up the nursery”. Of course, I think we fit in well, here, because my husband is in his late 40′s and the church tends to have smaller families, but with older parents.

    Sometimes I wonder if they are so tolerant and loving of our family, because they wish they had started earlier and had more kids themselves.

    Beyond that, outside of church, most of the families we know have at least 2 kids, and plenty have 5 or 6. It’s funny to sit in my daughter’s mainstream Christian preschool and hear people tease my sister (she’s the Money Person at the preschool) that she ONLY has 2 kids!

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  8. Bambi @ In the Nursery of the Nation
    April 20, 2012 | 5:04 pm

    Kimberly–This was an excellent answer; I loved it! You are so right that getting first things first is what makes the difference.

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  9. Lorna
    April 21, 2012 | 7:21 am

    Thank you for answering that one question Kimberly! I have been praying about that very thing for a few months now and your post confirms what I felt God was telling me: it’s not so much about finding other larger families but about finding families committed to living God’s word. I have 7 children and we have been attending a large church for 14 months now – We are the only home educating there and by far the biggest. It has been lonely and disconnected. Time to look for like minded believers :)

    And a quick comment to abba12 – I physically hold onto my toddlers from birth until either a new baby comes along or they turn about 3-4yrs – when standing to sing and when sitting during preaching – to train them to be still and quiet. I very quietly ask people to leave my children alone or simply pick the child up/turn them around. By 5yrs they are generally pretty good.

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  10. Sara
    April 23, 2012 | 3:45 pm

    There is a fairly large group of FIC’s in the Pacific NW – http://www.HOFCC.org and they are planting churches across the US and even in other countries now. Hopefully, this is helpful to someone in the area!

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  11. AnonMommy
    April 24, 2012 | 3:55 pm

    Kimberly,

    We live in the Knoxville area and would be interested to know of a church in the area supporting the biblical model for family worship in the church.

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  12. Mari
    May 1, 2012 | 10:12 pm

    I attend a wonderful church where ALL children come to the service and with four kids I’m one of the “smaller” families. After attending a conference here in 2008 I really wanted to move here to be a part of this fellowship…God moved me and my four kids here in March of 2011. Unfortunately, my husband had already left home and it was just me and the kids, but God knew…He knew exactly what we needed and where we needed to be. We are in a body of believers that have loved and supported us in every way imaginable…this is the exceeding abudantly! I am seeing the Word come to life and my kids are too! Men have stepped in to love and cover us and women are real with each other…it has been a blessing for me and the kids to be a part of this during what could have been a devestating time in our lives…it has turned into something beautiful as my 10 year old says. I don’t know what God has in store for our family, but we are enjoying being part of a “large family friendly” body of believers who are DOING His Word. Being in fellowship like this has drawn me closer to the Father and helped me trust Him more as I see Him constantly in those around me and am constantly encouraged to seek Him in ALL things. Talking about the Word and the Father rather than sports, weather or the latest trend has drawn us all into “real” relationship. It had its challenges in the beginning…I had to overcome my fears of being in “real” relationships because I had never experienced it before, but it was WELL worth it. Take the risk…the payoff tenfold and then some…

    The kids (even my 5 year old) understand a lot of what is going on in the service. She will ask me detailed questions about what the adults were talking about, so I know she is listening and more importantly learning. The love of this kind of body has changed us ALL dramatically in a short year’s time. To Him be the Glory.

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  13. jul
    May 3, 2012 | 6:55 pm

    thankyou for posting my question and taking the time to address it so thoughtfully. i composed a response much earlier, but never got it posted. i too appreciate the reminder – first things first. and similarly, the verse about seeking the kingdom first had recently been on my mind as well, now these areas are appropriately juxtaposed.

    we are passionate about God and His Word and i love how succinct and insightful your list is.

    we are fortunate where we are here, that there is a church that lovingly welcomes us to do things as we are called. we are the only ones to keep our children in service with us, but i haven’t met any cross-eyed stares, nor the repeated offering of nursery services (hint, hint…) i’m still struggling with finding more involved community and fellowship. i think that is largely because they are people like you’ve mentioned: passionate about Him and His word.

    we’re still waiting for His next step for us, whether we’ll be called to stay here, or move somewhere else, but i’m grateful for your thoughts and those of your readers. and, rather than seeking a particular expression of what that looks like, will concentrate on seeking Him first, and people passionate about Him, and trust Him to bring what it’s supposed to look like. it’s so odd, because that’s been my goal in the past, but in this season, i’d lost sight of that a bit, and slipped into seeking my ideas of what His more abundant life for us might look like.

    thanks again!
    jul

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    jul Reply:

    oops, that second to last paragraph was supposed to say that the loving way that we are regarded is because they are passionate about God. but that despite that, we are still missing more involved community and fellowship and real life on life interaction. hope that makes sense now…

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  14. Emily
    May 4, 2012 | 9:49 am

    About 5 years back we moved to the small midwestern town in which I was raised. Our main concern was that there was not a church that was real solid and we only knew of a couple of families that homeschooled, or considered homeschooling. There was a church with good potential, with a small amount of young families that were seeking to raise their children in a different way than most, and they looked to the Bible for answers to all areas of life. (Like you mentioned) Looking back, we have been amazed at the small group of like minded families that God provided us! Plus, He has been reforming the church we are attending and has answered many prayers! Often times we have felt alone, different, and like missionaries. But, God is faithful! He has used our lives and the lives of others to start many conversations with church-goers. Many are thinking more about things like education, having children in worship, raising boys to be men, family worship, the gospel, larger family size,etc.
    All of that to say, God has been good to us. I have learned and grown in so many ways in the different trials that we have gone through here. It has been a great opportunity.

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  15. Jenifer Harrod
    May 10, 2012 | 10:29 am

    I think that this is a great answer. Also I have found people that are family friendly through going to homeschool groups. Check out our family blog!

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