I have a two year-old daughter with bright blue eyes and bouncy blond pigtails. She has two older brothers, but she’s a “girlie girl” at heart. This combination leads to some rather strange behavior, like pretending her hands are laser guns and making shooting sounds while declaring loudly, “I’m a princess!”
The world is nothing but potential for my daughter, a blank page awaiting the stroke of a pen and a tale of adventure. But above all, my deepest desire for my little Laser-Gun-Toting Princess is that she would follow Christ, that she would have a vibrant, life-changing, unshakable faith in God.
How can I plant seeds of faith in my daughter and her two rowdy older brothers that will bear good fruit as they become teenagers and college students and ultimately start families of their own? The answer begins with family worship.
Family Worship Precedes Corporate Worship
Think about the history of corporate worship. As Donald S. Whitney writes in his book Family Worship, the tabernacle was not built until the time of Moses. The temple was not built until the time of Solomon. And even then, times of corporate worship were relatively rare. So what was the primary worshipping unit of the fathers of our faith? It was the family.
God chose Abraham so that he would “direct his children and his household…to keep the way of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19). Moses received the words of Deuteronomy 6: “Impress [these commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home…” (Deut 6:7). Joshua declared, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). And Paul instructed fathers to bring up their children “in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Family worship isn’t just important – it’s part of God’s design!
Family Worship Shows Our Kids that Our Faith Is Real and Alive
In order to nurture a living faith in our children, we must first demonstrate to them that our faith is real and alive. Our church attendance just isn’t enough. For many families, church attendance is simply a box to be checked on the family schedule like band rehearsal or soccer practice. And in many churches, parents and children may not see each other for the entirety of their Sunday morning experience.
But when families worship together, it allows parents to demonstrate for their children their affection and devotion to Jesus. It shows children that faith is not merely a category of life experience, but a stream of living water that saturates every area of our lives. Family worship establishes a culture where matters of faith are talked about openly and honestly. And it equips children with the tools they need to continue their faith journeys independently.
How You Can Get Started with Family Worship
Barna Research Group tells us 85% of parents believe that they are primarily responsible for the spiritual development of their children. And yet many parents have no idea how to nurture faith in their kids. My wife Jess and I are the creators of the Doorpost Songs Family Worship Series . The core of our ministry is helping parents answer the question, “How can I get started with family worship?” Doorpost Songs are based entirely on scripture and are great for both kids and parents. And for every album we’ve created a Family Worship Kit with simple, 15-minute templates for times of family worship and discipleship that you can use in your own home.
Our most recent album, Doorpost Songs: Unto Us [click here] is a Christmas album. All the songs are familiar scriptures that tell the incredible story of Christ’s birth. The accompanying Family Worship Kit includes a five-week Advent Family Worship Kit, guiding your family through the four weeks of Advent all the way to Christmas Day. If you’ve never had regular family worship in your home, Advent is a great place to begin!
These Family Worship Kits are available individually or via our yearly Family Worship Subscription that gives your family access to every song and every Family Worship Kit all at once! You can find out more on our website. [Click here]
Parents, we have an incredible opportunity and an awesome responsibility. It’s our job to nurture faith in our children, to prepare them to take the love of Christ to the world, and to plant in them a seed that will one day bear fruit in their own families. And family worship is the perfect place to start!
******Giveaway: We are partnering with Dave and Jess and Doorpost Songs Family Worship to give away TWO free Family Worship Subscriptions to our readers. Just leave a comment below to enter. Winner will be chosen at random on Sunday December 4, 2016 and will be notified by email.
If you’re looking for more resources on family worship, here are a few ideas:
- Donald S. Whitney’s excellent book, Family Worship [Link to: https://www.crossway.org/books/family-worship-tpb/]
- Radical’s Simple Guide to Family Worship [Link to: http://www.radicalexperiment.org/contribute/SimpleGuideToFamilyWorship.pdf] from the Church at Brook Hills
- Leading Family Worship [Link to: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/leading-family-worship], a video with accompanying notes from Desiring God
- The What, When and How of Family Worship [Link to: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/then-what-when-and-how-of-family-worship], a great blog post from the Gospel Coalition.
David Ray is a worship leader, artist and songwriter from Houston, Texas. He and his wife, Jess, are the creators of Doorpost Songs Family Worship, a series of songs and resources designed to help parents take up the mantle of spiritual leadership in their homes. He is father to three rambunctious kids and he loves getting to serve churches and families across the nation.