The Family International (TFI) is an online Christian community of individuals committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. Founded in California during the late 1960s, the Family International has expanded into an international network with members currently in over 80 countries.
TFI is a network of globally-minded locally-focused individuals. We are committed to bettering our world through empowering people to develop a personal relationship with God, who can in turn effect change in their part of the world. Members of TFI have been active in mission and charitable work in 95 countries for over four decades.
What We Believe
The Family International (TFI) is an international network of Christians committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We believe that everyone can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which affords happiness and peace of mind, as well as the motivation to help others and to share the good news of His love. Our fundamental beliefs are generally in accordance with those held by Christians the world over; we also embrace some untraditional doctrines. Our application of the foundation principle of God’s Law of Love that Jesus taught—to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which He said fulfills “all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40)—is a defining feature of our lives and our faith.
TFI Services is the administrative body and publications arm of the Family International. It provides services to TFI members and mission works, including the publishing of inspirational content and general mission-related counsel for members; the production of motivational publications, podcasts, and series for people seeking to grow in their faith; the sponsorship of resources to assist mission works and programs; and the disbursement of tithes and donations to subsidize services and aid to mission works.
Karen Zerby and Steve Kelly (better known by their pen names, Maria Fontaine and Peter Amsterdam) are the spiritual and administrative directors of the Family International.
The primary goal of the Family International is to improve the quality of life of others by sharing the life-giving message of love, hope, and salvation found in God’s Word. We believe that God’s love—applied on a practical level to our daily lives—is the key to resolving many of society’s problems, even in the complex and fast-paced world of today. Through imparting the hope and guidance found in the Bible’s teachings, we believe that we can work toward building a better world—changing the world, one heart at a time.
TFI members have provided assistance to those in need around the globe for decades through a multitude of programs, ranging from personal counseling sessions; stress and time management seminars; child-rearing seminars; encouraging and assisting the elderly, the sick, and the disadvantaged; working to rehabilitate drug addicts; personal counseling in prisons and juvenile detention centers; assisting in humanitarian efforts, disaster relief, and refugee camps; and staging benefit music and theatrical performances for the underprivileged in many different countries. TFI members have also worked with relief organizations—both international and national—to bring food, supplies, comfort, help, and encouragement to people in distress or hardship.
From its inception in 1968, the Family International (formerly known as the Children of God) has had a colorful history. Members have circled the globe, spreading the gospel message in literature, song, and multimedia productions, and established a presence in over 100 nations. Members of the Family International surmounted the challenges of building a worldwide Christian fellowship of self-supporting, autonomous communities, while reaching out to the needy through Christian outreach, personal counseling, seminars, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and sharing the message of God’s love around the world.
The Family International has been characterized by its missionary and humanitarian activities around the globe. As of 2014, members had shared the gospel message with nearly 310 million people and prayed with nearly 35 million people to receive God’s gift of salvation. Since the Family International’s inception in 1968, members have produced and distributed over 1.1 billion pieces of gospel literature in 61 languages, and over 16.6 million audio tapes/CDs/DVDs in 20 languages.
The Family International traces its origins to Huntington Beach, California, where our founder, David Brandt Berg (1919–1994), also known as “Father David”, together with his wife and teenage children, began a ministry to the counterculture youth that congregated in that seaside town. Many of these experienced dramatic changes in their lives as they came to develop a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
As a result, many decided to dedicate their lives to the service of God and fellow man. In late 1969, when the group had grown to about 100 members, it was dubbed the “Children of God” by the news media. By 1972 there were 130 communities of full-time members scattered throughout the world. In early 1978, the Children of God was reorganized and became known as the Family, and later the Family International (TFI).
The Family International underwent numerous changes in structure throughout its history, as it developed into an international organization. In 1995, a membership charter was adopted, which codified the beliefs, rights, and responsibilities of full-time Family members. Family members and communities operate according to their own decisions and initiative within the framework of the Family International’s Charter.
In 2010, after a two-year process of evaluating its structure, doctrine, and practices, much of which was rooted in its longstanding cooperative household model, the Family International undertook a comprehensive reorganization, known as the Reboot. This reorganization resulted in the adoption of a new organizational model and the closure of the majority of TFI’s previous communal centers, in order to better achieve our purpose of reaching the world with the gospel message, and to allow for greater diversity.
Currently, TFI is organized as an online community. To reflect the organization’s restructuring and its aims of empowering individuals to operate independently, the Family’s governing charter was streamlined and modified.
The Family International (TFI) is an international Christian community committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We seek to bring hope and spiritual renewal through the unconditional love of Jesus Christ that knows no borders or boundaries of race, creed, or social status. We strive to make a difference in our world by offering spiritual solutions for the challenges of life and translating God’s love into actions that manifest kindness and compassion and improve the lives of others. We endeavor to follow the example of Jesus, whose ministry was “to preach the Gospel … to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind” (The Bible, Luke 4:18 NKJV).
We are committed to:
Making the World a Better Place: Sharing the message of God’s love for humankind.
Our passion is to change the world through empowering people to develop a personal relationship with God, and in turn, to change their part of the world. We seek to provide a supportive and energizing environment for personal spiritual growth, for sharing the good news of God’s love and salvation, and for the application of Christian ethics and values to everyday life.
Spiritual Development: Providing spiritual and emotional support for managing the challenges of modern life.
TFI members provide opportunities for people’s spiritual development through means such as personal counseling and coaching, support groups, seminars, retreats, and personal comfort and encouragement in times of distress or hardship. Members also engage in a variety of educational and character-building programs for children, as well as faith-based instruction for parents and educators.
Humanitarian Assistance: Enhancing the quality of life of the disadvantaged, displaced, and those without hope.
TFI members strive to meet the needs of others through a wide range of humanitarian efforts, including emergency relief efforts, volunteer training, capacity building for the underprivileged, education initiatives and schools for the disadvantaged, sustainable development programs, benefit performances, computer literacy programs, medical relief, food and aid distribution, HIV and drug awareness, support, and prevention. Members also provide emotional and spiritual support for relief workers, and engage in visitation programs in hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps, and homeless shelters.
The Family International is committed to spreading the message of God’s love and hope, and putting this message into action. Members endeavor to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, whose ministry was to “preach the Gospel” and to “heal the brokenhearted.” (The Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verses 18–19)
For decades, members of TFI have aided the disadvantaged through a variety of programs in their local communities, providing humanitarian assistance for victims of disasters; medical, food, and clothing aid to the underprivileged, homeless shelters, food kitchens, and refugee camps; visitation programs at hospitals, orphanages, prisons, and institutions for juvenile offenders.
Through their humanitarian assistance to those in need, our members have strived to provide spiritual support to people from all walks of life. Today’s world is a complex, materialistic one, in which the important values of love and faith are often neglected. Family International volunteers have endeavored to meet the need in their local communities when possible.
Mission works of members of the Family International are independent and autonomously managed. The mission works featured in each of the regional sections represent a sampling of projects conducted by members around the world over the past two decades. Some projects are currently operational; others have concluded or represented a short-term project.
Copyright © 2017 by The Family International.