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My New Experience with Family Worship

My New Experience with Family Worship

My New Experience with Family Worship

My New Experience with Family Worship

My New Experience with Family Worship
God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and 4 children. Until I read the assigned readings for a class I took in seminary (Give Praise to God, The Family Worship Book, and The Big Book of Questions & Answers), I believed I was accomplishing the task of bringing my family up in the faith.

While I had been incorporating aspects of family worship in my home, there was not a clear or consistent plan of action. My children have memorized the Apostles’ Creed, much of the Shorter Catechism, and I would pray with them individually before bed, and sometimes read various passages. Much of this was done with each one of them individually here and there, but not all together. Often, I attempted to accomplish this while putting them to bed. However, many days efforts were minimized to just a brief prayer.

After learning about family worship, I was stricken with the conviction that my efforts, while noble, were glaringly insufficient. My eyes were opened to the opportunity that was before me every day, at my own house, to shape the spiritual life of my family. I began to realize that every day I go off to my office at church to prepare to meet the spiritual needs of many others while neglecting the spiritual needs of my own family.

Much work and contemplation is done to assure that those under my care are being fed as they should be. However, I had not put nearly as much thought behind the feeding of the sheep that were under my very own roof.

This caused me to make some immediate changes. No longer do I wait until we are tired and try to accomplish a rushed, and random, devotion. Instead, we now gather together in the mornings as a family and start our day off with an organized time of family worship.

This has been, and I’m sure it will continue to be, one of the highlights of my ministry. There is something so special about this time together with just our family focusing on God together that is almost indescribable. It has become one of the greatest joys of each day.

Now, we have family worship five mornings per week. We begin with a time of worship. We listen to a few worship songs as we eat breakfast.

The worship music has been a wonderful way to get songs into our minds for the morning and even the rest of the day. We find ourselves naturally singing along with the songs, or contemplating the lyrics.

As breakfast ends, we put things away, and get out our family worship material, this includes a Bible, the children’s Catechism, The Big Book of Questions and Answers, and a copy of the Apostle’s Creed.

After the time of worship songs, we open in prayer. I, then, proceed to go through a page in The Big Book of Questions and Answers.

Next, we spend time on the Apostle’s Creed or the Shorter Catechism. When going over the Catechism some days we review the questions they already know, and some days I move on to a couple that they have not learned yet, in order that they may begin to memorize them, as well. We then end in a time of prayer.

Before I leave, I give them an activity to accomplish pertaining to the lesson that day. I have opted for something to be done each day on a regular page of printer paper. They are asked to depict an event that happened in the text, write a verse, or create a visual aid to explain the lesson. My kids greatly enjoy this task.

I give them the assignment and then when I come home from work, they are excited to show me what they have created. We do mix things up a from time-to-time. Some days, we will just do a reading from the Bible, emphasize a specific doctrine, or go over verses that we have memorized. Usually one day a week, we will even go over the previous week’s sermon together. This lets them know that I expect them to listen in church and it allows me a time to drive Sunday’s sermon into their hearts and minds even further.

This time together with my family worshiping God has been wonderful. This is a discipline that, unfortunately, I was never taught or had I been challenged to incorporate until recently. However, now I see it as one of the most important lessons that I have ever learned.

The Christian education of my children is my responsibility. As Ligon Duncan writes, “It (the family) is designed by God to be a spiritual entity and to provide for the training up of children into mature adult character.”

References

1. Ferguson, Sinclair B. The Big Book of Questions & Answers. Tain, Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 1997.“
2. James Montgomery Boice et al., Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship: Celebrating the Legacy of James Montgomery Boice (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003), 318.

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Obstacles to Family Worship: 9. Creation of Sunday School

Obstacles to Family Worship: 9. Creation of Sunday School

Obstacles to Family Worship: 9. Creation of Sunday School

Obstacles to Family Worship

9. Creation of Sunday School

Obstacles to Family Worship: 9. Creation of Sunday School

Instead of giving God a prominent place in our families’ daily lives, it seems that thoughts of God and learning about God have been isolated to only Sundays. As stated earlier, any training in the things of God has been consigned to the responsibility of churches rather than that of parents.

“During the 19th century as Sunday Schools began to be introduced in North America, resistance was encountered . . . Their argument? That as the Sunday school was established, it would result in parental neglect of their responsibility for the spiritual training of their children.”1

Terry Johnson, in his book on family worship, goes on to say that if the “meetings have caused the neglect of daily family worship then the net spiritual effect of those meetings has been negative.”2

“Protestantism has become all but silent on the issue of family worship, a near-universal practice in the recent past, and replaced it with meetings that take us out of the home and away from the family. Not only have we given up a proven method of transmitting the faith to the next generation, one that has a built-in format for Bible study, prayer, and singing, but we have done so for alternatives that add to our already hectic pace of life and take us away from our spouses, children and neighbors.”3

Can you imagine standing from the pulpit and saying: “Sunday school has had a negative impact on our congregation?”

It would be extremely difficult to remove Sunday school from most of our churches, and with the lack of parents who lead their families in daily family worship, the results could be catastrophic.

However, churches must try to see that Sunday school attendance is not the “end game.”; It can be good, but spiritual growth in the family does need to be a family and parental matter. Churches must train families on what family worship is and emphasize the need for it.

References

1. Terry L. Johnson, The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions (Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1998), 8.
2. Ibid., 9.
3. James Montgomery Boice et al., Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship: Celebrating the Legacy of James Montgomery Boice (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003), 335.

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