Before I jump into our discussion of Family Worship - I want to give you a reminder of a chance to do this with our Trinity Family!! Sunday night we will be having Family Worship at Church - as we do each and every week! But, this Sunday evening we will take some time as a family to discuss the blessings we have experienced lately at Trinity and reflect on the work God is doing here! It is exciting that He allows each of us to be a part of it! So, make your plans to be in Trinity Family Worship Sunday evening! Now...about personal family worship....
During our weekly staff meeting we discussed the number of questions we have had concerning “Family Worship” – many of our families at Trinity are asking different staff members what they do with their families each day. While I love that you all are interested and desiring information on family worship, it has prompted our staff to find a way to demonstrate that there is no “one way” to do family worship! So, we want to use this blog to allow each of our staff to share with you what we do in our worship at home as a family. So, over the next several weeks I have asked each of our staff members to guest blog and share what this looks like in their home. Now, this will be a wonderful opportunity because each of our staff members have children of different ages, one who has a brand new baby girl at home, and another whose children are up and grown. This will serve as a platform to look inside our home, but it will also give those of you, who are truly interested, an opportunity to ask questions and get involved. I also want to encourage you, if you have questions or difficulties e-mail them and, if we have enough at the conclusion of this blog series I will post your question (without your name), and we will try our best to answer them. I guess since this is my blog I will begin.
My desire was to go back and tell you what we did with our boys growing up and how we arrived at what we are doing now, but that would take too much time and I know that some of our staff members with younger children can share with you what they are doing now. What a typical “Family Time” as we call it in our house looks like is this:
• We eat supper and I spend time asking the boys what they did that day. I ask them their favorite part of their day, I ask them what they studied in their Bible time that morning, then ask Michele the same thing, and we just basically discuss things that come up through those topics. Michele is working through Shorter’s Catechism in homeschooling and we discuss what they learned that day.
• Then, usually my boys are still slowly eating; I take out Big Truths for Young Hearts and review what we have previously studied. I then read a chapter (usually about 2-3 pages of that to them and we spend time looking up Scripture that is referenced, we spend time asking questions and discussing these truths practically. The boys may ask some other questions regarding what we have read or not surprisingly something totally off the wall that has nothing to do with what we have read. There are times that this turns into a lengthy discussion and other times, as all people (especially little ones), they are not all together with it and we move on.
• About once a week or sometimes less, I am also gradually going through another book with them. Right now we are reading Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz. Just some basic biblical concepts about what being a man looks like. We do this one night when Michele has a meeting at the Church or while she has some “mom time”.
• We then talk about things and people we need to pray for, or about. There are times only I will pray, and other times we will go around the table and all of us pray. During these times I try to instruct them afterwards on why we pray and how we should pray. I explain to them the importance of the way we pray publically.
Now just some basic information about all of this: Usually on Thursdays – our family time extends beyond this discussion and study – and turns into a night of movies or games. Some times it is a movie along the lines of Luther and some times it is as spiritual as Old Dogs - but the goal of this time is that I lead my family before God and also that we have time together – enjoying one another! Boggle or Upwards, Spy Trackdown or Pilgrim’s Progress (the board game)…they get to choose and usually daddy wins…so it is all good!
This time is never groaned over or argued over because it is all our boys have ever known. It is as a part of our family as eating together, so they know it is not optional but it is also not done with legalism. There have been times that our boys have been at a birthday party or out all day - we get home at 9:30 or 10:00 pm and we pray as a family but that is it. Now, as I said, my wife home schools and she takes them through a Training Hearts-Teaching Minds by Starr Meade (that we have on our book table), that is based on the Westminster-Shorter Catechism, along with AWANA and several other teaching tools, so even on days when we do not get to do a formal family night (which, we make sure is not often), they are still under the teaching of the Word of God during the day.
The bottom line is that our family needs consistent time with us leading them in worship and the Word… they need to understand that this is a priority in our house. We need to understand that there is nothing that we can do that can make the impact on them like teaching them the truths of the eternal God. We also must understand that there will be constant struggles in doing this, let me share with you some of ours:
• Getting in too late from church events, games, practice. This happens especially during football season at our house. The best way to fix this is to alter your time, get up earlier - be creative in this area. I know we all live at a frantic pace most of the time, but this is too important to do away with.
• Some times I just don’t feel like it. That’s right, I come in tired or I just want some time with Michele or, to be honest to simply sit. I have to “beat” my flesh down and do what I am supposed to do and not what I feel like. I can get up early to work out because that is important - but not nearly as important as teaching my children eternal truths.
• When we began this at an early age with my boys, I felt like I had to be creative and hands on - we have some wonderful resources to help with that. However, it is not impossible to take a book of the Bible with a good study Bible (John MacArthur’s study Bible is my favorite) and just read a few passages and talk about it. Begin in one of the Gospel’s. Explain why the author was writing it and who the letter/passage was addressing – get the “point” across…especially with younger children – this doesn’t have to be a 30 minute exegesis of the passage. There are tools to help you, but more than being creative, be Biblical.
• I have had parents mention to me that their kids get upset when it comes to family worship. Well, my kids get upset when it is bed time or when they have to come inside! The truth is, as I stated above, this has not been an issue at our house because it is just part of supper. We usually try to end it with a quick game with the boys or something, and we aren’t slaves to the clock - we make it fun. It is okay to laugh and giggle at times during family worship. They are kids – they will say and do things that just warrant that! Enjoy your children…this is the time of the day when everyone is just together and you remember what “family” is all about – that alone, should bring any parent to Worship Him for these little blessings in our lives and the great responsibility He has entrusted us with!