Three Principles of Family Worship
By Pastor Mark Smith
As we are living out this new season, we have an amazing opportunity to minister to our kids through family worship. In this season, we have two realities to remember. The first is this: our Lord Jesus reigns. He has reigned and displayed His sovereignty in each and every emergency, and will continue throughout eternity. Here’s the second reality: our kids are paying attention. They are equally impacted by Covid-19, but they don’t know how to express it. They feel the change and see your change in priority and daily rhythms. Thankfully, God has already shared with us what to do. God instructs His people to worship together as a family.
Worshipping Jesus together as a family is what keeps our children looking to Him while teaching them He is in control. It is our time to worship Jesus and display the loving community of the church to our kids, but it’s not easy. You have to fight for it. It is hard, but it is eternally rewarding.
Before you get discouraged and feel pressured, I want to encourage you by sharing three principles of family worship, as well as my family routine as an example. They are simple, easy and the focus is not to have a bunch of activities, but for everyone in my family to worship Jesus.
First Principle: Sing the Gospel
Sing songs your kids know and teach them new ones together as a family. Setting up your family worship time communicates to your family that it’s important. Songs make us feel better, but you can keep it simple. If your kids are young, sing one or two songs depending on their attention span. If your kids are older, sing songs that interest them. Do what works with your family dynamic.
Our family starts with the doxology. Our kids didn’t know it at first, so for a little while it was just Amy and I, but the goal is to be intentional and consistent. My three-year-old was paying attention and one night she just started singing it. She memorized all the words, even though she couldn’t pronounce them all correctly!
Second Principle: Speak the Gospel
Open your Bibles together and meditate on God’s Word. Read Bible Stories together. If your kids are older, have them find the verses and stories in the Bible. You can make it fun by giving them the responsibility. If your kids are little, use Storybook Bibles to help. My two recommendations are the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones and the Beginners Gospel Story Bible by Jared Kennedy. Both are written for kindergarten and under.
Our family chooses to read the Bible together right now, but that can change later. We started reading a proverb for our family devotional nights. While they don’t understand everything and I definitely summarize parts, I love the opportunity to read and explain while I go. As my kids learn to read more, I’ll adjust accordingly. If your kids are older or learning to read, have them read it. Whatever your dynamic is, keep this in mind: be intentional. Pick out the passage ahead of time and know where you’re going in the story. This will keep them engaged.
Third Principle: See the Gospel
The gospel applies to all of us. Apply your story or passage to your family’s life. Ask your kids questions to stir up gospel conversations. This is a time to use a catechism and memory verse you’re working on. If your kids are young this is really short, maybe a minute or so, but if they’re older, know that they are wrestling with things. Use this opportunity to bring up stuff like friends, disappointments, and more but do it with your Bible.
Also, seeing the gospel in our lives is most clearly done through prayer. That’s why you should pray for each other before you end your time together. It teaches your kids that we don’t just talk about God, but talk to Him. We bring our concerns, joys and disappointments to him.
That’s it friends. Sing the gospel, speak the gospel and see the gospel. Do what works for your family, and embrace the changes so they work to your benefit. Lastly, let me share one quick note about The Hallows Church Family Worship Guide. If you’re using our family worship guides at home it follows the same framework, but keep these things in mind: it continues our kid’s ministry curriculum and is best used once a week. It has a family activity, Bible Story, catechism, memory verse and questions. It is not meant to represent what an ideal daily family worship time would look like but rather to supplement your daily family worship once a week (though revisiting the songs, the catechism question and memory verse throughout the week would be edifying for the whole family).
I hope this is helpful, stay strong by leading your family to the Lord. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!