Most families have a nightly routine – for us it’s typically bath time with a quick episode of one of the plethora of home improvement shows on Netflix. You reach that point at which you shut off the TV, wrap up the video games, or quickly shuffle around picking up toys. It’s easy to check out as parents here – to punch the parental “clock out” button in our minds. However, in those brief moments that bookend on the day, God can move in your children’s hearts!
Especially in Christian circles, we toss around this term “family worship” as if it’s as simple as changing a light bulb. However, if most of us are honest, family worship scares us! Questions like “what if I do it wrong,” or “what if they ask a question I can’t answer” come up in our minds. Thoughts like “if you only knew how busy my days are,” or “that new episode of my favorite show comes on then” object to us doing anything that takes up any more of our valuable “kid-free” time.
We practice family worship, but let me be transparent with you and say that our family worship hasn’t always been easy. There are long days and busy nights that toil and fight for that valued block of time. It’s easy to tap out and let those things win. However, we must remember that if we don’t treasure and honor that time, we will fill it with wasted opportunities to minister to our most important mission field: our own children! Let me give you a few tips to help you, whether you’ve already got a family worship plan or not:
- Fight jealously for that time – it’s easy to allow sports, shows, schoolwork, or relaxation to take over your family worship time. Fight – these things are vying for your family’s future and maybe even your child’s salvation – put down the phone; don’t let anything prevent you from being a shepherd to your children. Nothing…let me repeat…NOTHING is as valuable as the time you get to shepherd your children.
- Practice brevity and simplicity – ten to twenty minutes is plenty sufficient to read God’s Word, sing a song or hymn, and pray. Make that time your own; tailor it to fit your family. Allow the Spirit to dictate how long you meet, but don’t assume that family worship should mimic a typical one hour Sunday morning service. Keep it simple – make sure your instruction, answers, prayers, and singing are biblically sound, but there’s no need to explain ad nauseam an entire chapter of scripture in one sitting.
- Be transparent — speak openly and naturally to your children, because they need to hear your heart in your instruction and guidance. It may be easy to send your kids to bed after you’ve just shown your anger against them, but that’s an excellent opportunity to stop and apologize and ask forgiveness from them. Use past stories and personal experiences where necessary – kids love that!
- Keep a marathon mentality – most of us are changing our family trees by beginning or leading a family worship time. Your work in your children will set an invaluable precedent that they will carry on in their own families. In essence, you are changing the future of your family tree; you are creating a legacy. Keep in mind: that takes time. Some days will be a flop; learn from those and trudge forward when that happens. Again, this is the most important thing you can do with your family.
I encourage you, urge you even: if you aren’t spending intentional time in worship with just your family, start tonight. It will change your world! As always, call Ryan, Phillip, or myself if you have questions or would like to speak with us about family worship.