Introducing The FamilyLife and ChildrenProjectsMissionMore About the Family InternationalThe Family’s Statement of Faith

How is the Family International organised?

“That’s the greatest thing, learning to love others and work with them in love. That’s what the Charter is all about. Every rule in the Charter is based on, ‘What would be the most loving thing to do?’” — From the foreword to the Family’s Love Charter.

Our governing document, the Love Charter, outlines the principles, goals, and governance of the Family International.It also outlines the rights, responsibilities, and requirements of full-time Family membership, as well as our fundamental rules, structure, procedures, and methods of operation.

Our Charter was adopted by consensus on April 1, 1995, with some amendments being made in subsequent years. Each aspect of the Love Charter is based on biblical principles as well as the writings of our founder, David Brandt Berg. These guidelines also provide opportunity for Family members to follow what they believe is God’s will for them personally, to collectively manage and govern their own communities, and to freely operate according to their own initiative.

Who belongs to the Family International?

All Family members have received Jesus Christ as their Savior and have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.Each Family member believes he or she has been called by God to serve Him within our particular movement in some capacity.

We believe that it is a high privilege for a believer to affirmatively respond to Christ’s challenge to follow Him as a full-time disciple. We also believe that Jesus’ call to such full-time service remains essentially unchanged from that which He issued to the fishermen on the shores of Galilee long ago, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). As was the case with the first apostles and disciples, so we believe it is today: that the Lord has called us to wholly commit ourselves to Him, to follow His teachings and His example, fully devoting our lives to Him out of love and gratitude for His sacrifice for us.

Family membership is currently divided into the following categories:

Family disciples: Family members who live in a Family Home (community), who regularly engage in missionary outreach, tithe 10% of their income, and abide by the responsibilities of Family disciples and Homes as outlined in the Love Charter.

Missionary members: Family members who may or may not live in a Family Home, who regularly engage in missionary outreach, tithe 10% of their income, and abide by the “Missionary Member Statues,” which have fewer requirements than the Love Charter.

Fellow members: members who espouse Family teachings, tithe 10% of their income to help support Family operations, but have a lower level of commitment and fewer requirements than Family disciples or Missionary members.

Active members: those who believe in Family doctrine, receive our monthly membership magazine, work with and sponsor Family members or Homes in some capacity.

General members: those associated with the Family International in some way, such as through receiving our literature regularly and/or work with us on missionary or humanitarian projects.

There are no restrictions to membership with regards to race, color, gender, or nationality. Membership in the Family International is voluntary, and all members must sincerely believe they are called by the Lord to work with our movement at the level of membership they choose, receive the approval of the local Family community, and be willing to abide by the guidelines governing their level of membership. Those wishing to change their membership level or discontinue it altogether and pursue another vocation may do so at any time.

How can I join the Family International?

The first step to joining the Family International is to receive Jesus as your Saviour. If you have not already prayed to receive Him, then now is your chance! (See the Free Gift section.)

The next step is to grow in your understanding of God’s plan. Reading His Word will increase your faith. You may like to enrol in the “12 Foundation Stones” course and/or you can read any of the materials in the library section.

Salvation is God’s gift—paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice. That’s what He has done for you. Finding God’s plan for your life and serving Him in some way is what you can do for Him!—And that’s what joining the Family International is about. It’s about finding and fulfilling your calling for the Lord. Perhaps you are a teacher, or work in a factory, or manage a shop, or are a full-time parent… If so, you can serve God with us in a part-time capacity, such as by distributing Gospel literature and materials, learning to teach others about the Lord, or helping with our humanitarian projects.—Or perhaps you are called to a more full-time commitment? If so, then the full-time membership in the Family could be the place for you!

In any case, you’ll need to get to know us a lot more than is possible on this Web site, and we’d encourage you to get in touch with us via email so that we can answer your specific questions and explain more in depth about the Family International. We could also arrange to meet with you personally, if that is what you would like.

Who runs each community? How do you decide what to do?

Each Family community functions independently, elects its leadership, and determines its goals, direction, and activities, by the vote of its members.

Each community is also financially autonomous, and thus its members are responsible to raise the support and finances necessary for their particular mission or social welfare projects. Family communities and their projects are generally sponsored by local businesses or individuals, as well as through the sale and/or distribution of inspirational and/or educational books and audio-video products. Some Missionary members and a few Family disciples take on secular employment, but most dedicate their full time and efforts to their mission. In other levels of Family membership, secular employment is common.

Individual members are expected to find the will of God for themselves. They are encouraged to seek counsel from Family members, particularly those in their own community, but are responsible for their own decisions. Individuals and families also decide which community they choose to live in, providing the receiving community agrees and is able to accept them.

How do you support yourselves?

Each community is also financially autonomous, and thus its members are responsible to raise the support and finances necessary for their particular mission or social welfare projects. Family communities and their projects are generally sponsored by local businesses or individuals, as well as through the sale and/or distribution of inspirational and/or educational books and audio-video products. Some Missionary members and a few Family disciples take on secular employment, but most dedicate their full time and efforts to their mission. In other levels of Family membership, secular employment is common.

In a nutshell, what is your message?

God is love and He loved humanity so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth to show His love. Jesus loved, healed, and brought hope to many, and then was persecuted and crucified, but three days later He rose from the dead, conquering death! Jesus willingly died on the cross for humanity, so that by receiving Him as our Savior we could be forgiven for our sins and be guaranteed a place in Heaven. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJ).

We look forward to the day, which we believe is in the not-too-distant future, when Jesus Christ will return to Earth at His Second Coming. He will rule the Earth with righteousness, love, mercy, goodness, and kindness. He will stop all wars, banish hatred and lack of love, and create a wonderful, glorious Kingdom of Love here on Earth!

Immediately prior to this, however, according to Scripture, the world will be plunged into an unprecedented time of turmoil and religious persecution, referred to in the Bible as the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). Part of our message is how to be prepared for these coming events.

What does the Family International teach about marriage?

Marriage, according to the Scripture, is the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. Members of the Family International who choose to marry enter into a covenant together between themselves and the Lord,committing themselves to love, care, and be responsible for one another and their children, in a Christ-centered union that glorifies God.

The commitment of marriage is a commitment to love and a commitment to the responsibilities of love. — The responsibility to love and care for your partner in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, even if your emotional attachment lessens over the years. Marriage requires God’s love, that ever-enduring love that forgives, that overcomes bitterness, familiarity and failure, love that carries us through life’s difficulties and keeps on loving.

Where can I find independent information on the Family International?

The Family International has been the subject of in-depth studies by a number of respected academics, theologians, historians and other professionals who specialize in the study of new religious movements (NRMs). They have conducted independent studies, stayed in our Homes, interviewed our members, observed our children and written papers outlining their findings.

Write us at info@thefamilyeurope.org , if you are interested in a list of organisations that can be contacted for independent information about the Family International.

If we approach the Family without a strict scientific or policy agenda, we see that it is an extremely fascinating part of the contemporary religious world. In an era when business and government leaders urge themselves to “think outside of the box,” here is a group that lives its entire life outside the formal structures that constrain most people. Yet it has found a coherent and apparently satisfying way of life for its members. More than a mere counterculture, the Family is an alternative society. Even if we are unprepared to embrace the faith of the Family, we can be inspired by it.

– William Sims Bainbridge, in The Endtime Family: Children of God, published February 2002 by State University of New York Press.

Who is the leader of the Family International today?

In 1968, David Brandt Berg (1919-1994), a Christian pastor, began an outreach ministry to the counterculture youthin Huntington Beach , California , USA . From these humble beginnings, what started primarily as a youth group grew to become an international Christian missionary movement.

David was the founder and pastor of the Family International. He taught that the Bible was God’s standard, the yardstick of measurement by which all truth and all error could be measured. Many of our publications are based upon his writings.

After leading the Family International for 25 years, David passed away in late 1994. His wife of 25 years, Maria, is now remarried and leads the Family International together with her husband, Peter. Like David, Maria continues to publish many writings on a variety of spiritual and practical topics.