Obstacles to Family Worship: 8. Churches Are Not Emphasizing Family Worship

Obstacles to Family Worship

8. Churches Are Not Emphasizing Family Worship

Obstacles to Family Worship: 8. Churches Are Not Emphasizing Family Worship

Even though I have grown up in church and have been in ministry for 22 years, I had never heard of taking family worship this serious or being this consistent with it until studying the subject in seminary. This concept seems to be almost completely forgotten and neglected today. Not only has it been neglected and forgotten by family leaders, but church leaders, as well.

I have never heard family worship taught nor emphasized at any church that I have been involved in. Previous to being in local ministry, I traveled with a parachurch ministry for 15 years and worked with over 30 churches each year. Unfortunately, not in one single church did I ever encounter a teaching, a plan, or an emphasis on family worship.

I am amazed that something that was once considered crucial and foundational, later became peripheral, and now seems to have virtually vanished from our churches.

Parents have completely surrendered the reigns of spiritual development of their children, and sadly the churches have not called on the parents to take them back. Now, the only way that most Christians believe they can be fed spiritually is to enter into a church building on Sunday mornings.

Churches must cast the responsibility back to the individual and the family. Churches must promote family worship and make it common place, once again.

Obstacles to Family Worship: 7. Reliance on the Church Only

Obstacles to Family Worship:

7. Reliance on the Church Only

Obstacles to Family Worship: 7. Reliance on the Church Only

Many families have given huge parts of their children’s upbringing to others. Education is now something that the state oversees. Many parents are, for the most part, hands-off in the education of their children. Unfortunately, their children’s spiritual growth is often treated the same way. They have consigned the church to oversee their children’s spiritual education.

Sadly, parents have become people who make money to support a family, but the other roles of education and the things of God are divvied out to others.

The concept of family worship is that the parents, not the church, are the first and primary ones in charge of training a child up in the ways of the Lord.

The church should play a role, but it was never designed to be the only place. The home was the primary training ground long before there was ever a church building.

This home training ground must be reclaimed.

Obstacles to Family Worship: 6. Dumbing Down of Christianity

Obstacles to Family Worship

6. Dumbing Down of Christianity

Dumbing downthe deliberate diminishment of the intellectual level of the content of schooling and education.

Obstacles to Family Worship: 6. Dumbing Down of Christianity

The “Downgrade Controversy” of Charles Spurgeon’s day only seems to have gotten worse. All the precious doctrines of Christianity and all the wealth of the 66 books of the Bible often seems to be thought of as not important. All the details and doctrine of the Christian faith seem to have been reduced to an extreme minimum. So much so that the question becomes: “How small can the core of Christianity become and yet still contain enough information to be considered viable for true faith?”

Dumbing down and reducing Christianity causes believers to become lazy students of God’s Word. Before long, Christians assume they know all there is to know about the Bible even though they have only barely scratched the surface.

Christianity is not just a mystical religion that is based on feelings and the unknown. It does contain faith, but not a blind faith. It is rooted in faith and facts. Christianity does involve the intellect. It is the duty of ministers and parents to teach sound doctrine and the full council of God.

The amount of material that needs to be taught to our children will never be accomplished by one lesson per week in a Sunday School Class. Even two hours in church per week is really only about 20 minutes of actual Bible Study, at best.

Schools would not pass a child to the next level who only spent 20 minutes a week studying a textbook. Yet, for some reason, many Christians believe this is all it takes to learn everything there is to know about Christianity.

Timothy was Paul’s right-hand man. He had been raised with a great knowledge of the Word, yet Paul tells him, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. . . Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:13, 15-16).

Learning scripture is no small task. It should not be dumbed down just because ministers or parents have become lazy in the teaching of it.

The Bible remains a large book that requires serious study in order to truly learn its content. Churches and parents must teach the whole Word of God to ensure the well-balanced diet that brings spiritual maturity.



Obstacles to Family Worship: 5. Minimalistic Attitude

Obstacles to Family Worship

5. Minimalistic Attitude

Obstacles to Family Worship: 5. Minimalistic Attitude

The minimalistic attitude that many take at school or the workplace often invades their relationship with God, as well. The attitude is often “What is the least I can do and still be considered a Christian.”

When people begin to get this type of mindset, then Sunday Morning attendance a couple of times each month is all they are out to accomplish. For families who have drifted to this minimalistic attitude of Christianity, daily family worship seems far too extreme, something reserved for a family of missionaries in Pakistan, maybe.

Instead of thinking this way we must, as Peter commanded, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).

Only by steadily feeding on the Word do we grow into mature believers. Parents must practice this before their children. This daily practice will model for their children what it is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).

Christian parents should always be striving and pushing forward in Christianity. Parents must exert great effort to keep God first in their personal lives and in the life of their children.

When daily family worship is established in a home, children learn that Christianity is much more than something that they do on Sunday. They witness the importance of making God a priority every day. There is no place better for this lesson to be learned than in the home.

Children are patterning their lives after their parents. When they see mom and/or dad running the Christian race with all their might, it causes them to want to do the same.

Nothing is ever gained by having a minimalistic attitude, and so it is with doctrine and Christian education.

Obstacles to Family Worship: 4. Priorities

Obstacles to Family Worship

4. Priorities

Obstacles to Family Worship: 4. Priorities

We always have time for what we believe is most important. Unfortunately, the daily worship of God is not at the top many families lists. Sadly, other far more insignificant matters seem to occupy our days.

Families often claim to have no time for family worship, however, it is truly not an issue of time, but an issue of importance. What we view as most important does get done each day. Families must learn to reprioritize their day with family worship time as a top priority.

Truly, the argument could be made, that it is the most important task that could be accomplished each day. That said, it should not be #10 on the list of things that must get done, but #1.

Once family worship time has been established in the mindset of everyone as a “top priority” to accomplish each day, then it begins happening. Families begin to place it at the top of their “to do” list and it gets done.

What is more important than worshiping God? What is more important than teaching your children about God? Nothing!

Obstacles to Family Worship: 3. Single-Parent Homes

Obstacles to Family Worship

3. Single-Parent Homes

Obstacles to Family Worship: 3. Single-Parent HomesIdeally, organizing family worship and implementing it would be the role of the father. However, a home with a mom and a dad present is becoming less common. This sad truth adds more stress on a family.

A single-parent home makes it more difficult for the one parent to get everyone ready for school, himself or herself ready for work, breakfast made, lunches packed, and still have time allotted for family worship. Without having family duties split between two parents, it is even more difficult to make a practice of family worship. 

Though family worship in a single-parent home is often more difficult to accomplish, this is still not a valid excuse to neglect the duty. Every effort should still be made to have family worship.

The same benefits are still to be gained from family worship in a single- or double-parent home. As with the obstacle of time management, it is vital for you to analyze your schedule and make family worship a priority for your family.



Obstacles to Family Worship: 2. Time Management

Obstacles to Family Worship

2. Time Management

Obstacles to Family Worship: 2. Time Management

It is one thing to manage your time well when you are single or just married, but throw in a few kids and time seems to be like water in the hands. 

To make time for daily family worship, parents must be strategic with allotting a window of time to accomplish the task. This might mean waking everyone up 15 minutes earlier, which also means getting everyone to bed 15 minutes earlier, as well. 

It is best for parents to analyze the day in the life of their family and choose the most realistic time that they can do family worship, and then make it a daily habit. 

If family worship is not treated as mandatory, it becomes optional. And, in a busy family, the optional becomes completely dismissed.

Analyze your schedule today and make family worship a priority for your family.

Obstacles to Family Worship: 1. Division of the Family Within Churches

Obstacles to Family Worship

1. Division of the Family Within Churches

Obstacles to Family Worship: 1. Division of the Family Within Churches

In the not so distant past, the “family pew” was the norm. The whole family would attend the same worship service and sit together. Worshipping God and learning about God was done together as a family.

In more recent centuries, churches have increasingly divided the family on Sundays. It is common for a family of 4 to be divided up into 4 different places on Sunday Mornings.  For example, the preschooler can’t be with the 1st grader, the 1st grader can’t be with the 6th grader, and the wife can’t go to her husband’s class, she needs a separate “women’s only” Bible study. 

Once the family is trained to be divided on Sundays to worship God, it is difficult to unify the family for worship on weekdays. Each one has grown accustomed to having the Bible taught to their specific style. 

Efforts should immediately be made to keep the family together for at least the main Worship Service on Sunday. Some churches are even trying to not divide at all on Sundays. Others are at least trying to unify Sunday school curriculum throughout the church. At least this way, if they are divided, they are still being taught the same Biblical subject matter.



Family Worship

What is family worship? Is it something your family should start practicing?
In the context of the modern church, it is bizarre to think that a man could be removed from membership if he did not lead his family in family worship; however, this is the importance that the Directory for Family Worship, written in 1647, placed upon this training time. Any man that continually repeatedly failed at leading his family in Christian education and the worship of God was to be removed from the church. They believed that it was an essential part of being a Christian parent, and called it a “necessary duty.” 1

The Puritans believed that parental neglect of regular Biblical training (catechism) so severe, that the child could even be removed from the house! 2 That might be a little extreme, but it appears today that we have gone to the extreme in the opposite direction. Now it has become the norm to do no spiritual training or family worship within our homes. If we still abided by the Puritans removal of children from homes where family worship was being neglected, I fear that our churches would be composed of childless homes.

What is Family Worship?

Since family worship has become such an archaic term in Christianity, it is important to clarify the definition. What is meant by “family worship” is a distinct and consistent time set aside where the household comes together to worship God and study His Word. The most common ingredients to this time have been: prayer, songs, Bible reading/study, and catechism.

Family worship, as it was once defined, is where the parents take the primary responsibility of their children’s spiritual growth personally. Family worship is where the primary doctrinal beliefs were passed down to the next generation. The home was the primary place of Christian education.

Family worship is not to be confused with a family occasionally praying before a meal, or even having an occasional devotional type verse shared amongst them. It is a structured time of training and worshipping God together as a family.

Family worship was not accomplished only when the parents felt they had a moment to spare. It was done five to six days per week, every month, and every year. This method of spiritual development became the norm. It was common for any serious Christian family in Europe and even the early United States.

The Westminster Confession of Faith emphasized that worship was to be conducted “in private families daily.”1 This was not a new command, but they believed it was a return to a Biblical mandate.

Unfortunately, it has become a forgotten practice. What happened to it and, more importantly, how do we get it back?

There are several obstacles that must be dealt with to regain this critical training ground. Over the next few weeks, I will be breaking down nine of the most common obstacles regarding family worship and what we can do to over come them in our own families.

1. Terry L. Johnson, The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions (Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1998), 9.

2. Ibid., 11


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