The purpose of this series is to help singles think through how to be single in the church, those who are married but don’t have kids to continue to pursue each other and those who are married to excel at parenting by the grace of God.
- Dr. Brian Cosby opened the series with a look at six ways his church connects the church and the home.
- Mike Boling helps us understand the proper balance between social media and parenting.
- Mathew Sims wrote about how families can rehearse the gospel.
- Matthew Fretwell wrote about how married couples can communicate with one another in a way that honors God.
- Dan Darling wrote about five mistakes parents make.
- Dan wrote about ten things nobody tells you about being a dad.
- Mike Boling wrote on how husbands are to love their wives.
- Dan wrote about how children can honor their parents.
- Dave wrote on six practical steps he’s learned on how to love and encourage his wife.
- Mike Leake wrote on seven reasons husbands should pray for their wives.
- Crag Hurst wrote on how husbands can love their wives.
- Dave interviewed Greg Gibson, the lead editor of the men’s channel at the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on biblical manhood and ministry.
- Mathew Sims wrote on parenting with the promise.
- Matthew Fretwell wrote on 3 keys to a healthy marriage.
- Zach Kendrick shared four marriage lessons he learned from his grandmother.
- Dan wrote about how your family is not a problem to be solved.
- Brian hedges wrote on how to do family devotions.
- Dan wrote on five common mistakes parents make.
- Daniel Henderson shared forty powerful reasons to avoid pornography.
- Dan Darling wrote about family worship.
- Mike Boling shared how parents can guard their children.
- Mike Boling wrote on the pornification of society.
- Mike wrote on how parents can guard their children against new age attacks.
- Mike shared how parents can be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger with their kids.
- Today Mathew Sims shares some practical tips on family worship.
Moses commands Israel,
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Family worship has intimidated me since my wife and I first had children. Sure I was trained theologically. Sure I loved to talk about theology; and usually two plus two equals four but it didn’t for me.
Our family worship was nearly non-existent for the first two years. But then I realized something. My trepidation revealed a misgiving in my own heart. I confessed with my mouth that the gospel had changed my life. I confessed that it had the power to change others’ lives. But I in my shepherding responsibilities as a husband and father I acted like it wasn’t enough.
Don’t lose heart parents. The gospel is powerful and saves but you have to apply it to the wound consistently.
So here’s my practical tips for family worship.
1. Get into a rhythm
I recommend having a loose routine that your kids can count on. For instance, we struggled to find a time that worked for my family for a long time. But then it hit me. When we eat dinner, I’m frequently done five to ten minutes before my wife and kids.
For us this works great. I eat my food. And it’s a natural time for our family to talk, share, and pray. Figure out what works best for you.
On the flip side, don’t miss the minutes here or there where you can share the gospel with your kids or speak into their lives. Don’t let the rhythm become an unbreakable rule.
2. Don’t sweat that busy week
Here’s the good news. You have your kids for eighteen years (at least). So if you miss a day or even a week it’s not the end of the world. Our rhythm occurs at dinner but if we have a friend who invites us out to eat, we don’t sweat it. We plan on picking up right where we left off as soon as possible.
Also, these busy days or weeks are a great time to take advantage of those minutes in the car or elsewhere that can be redeemed.
3. Read Scripture
Don’t neglect reading the Scripture. Paul says that the gospel has power through written words in Scripture. It doesn’t need to be an entire chapter. It can be just a couple verses. David Murray offers a reading plan for children. Check it out.
4. Ask questions about the text
The younger your kids are the more basic these questions will be. Don’t get fancy. Simple questions. You can even keep track of right answers with stars or something. But don’t let it get competitive or out of hand. Light. And fun.
5. Sing with your kids
For years I was really discouraged because I don’t sing well and I don’t play instruments. Neither does my wife. I guess we could’ve taught my kids songs without music but it just didn’t seem the same.
However, with the explosion of super smart smartphones and streaming music services we’ve found a great way to incorporate music into our family worship. We use Spotify to access our favorite worship songs and we belt it out. I actually snagged two journal/books from Together for the Gospel which has the lyrics to some great gospel-centered songs in the back and we’ve been moving through that.
6. Use Catechisms
Catechism are old school. Don’t hate the tried and true. They are a great way to teach your kids systematically through the big truths of the Bible. My personal favorite is the Westminster Shorter Catechisms.
Your favorite catechisms have probably been set to music too. Google catechism and music and you’re likely to find an amazing help. For the WSC check out The Westminster Shorter Catechism Songs: The Complete CD Set.
Also, Starr Meade has developed a devotional based on the WSC Training Hearts, Teaching Minds which is top notch.
7. Use story books
In addition to reading Scripture, there are also some big picture story books which will really help familiarize yourself with the big picture of Scripture. Jesus Story Book Bible, The Gospel Story Bible, and The Big Picture Story Bible.
Not a story book bible but also helpful is Bruce Ware’s Big Truths for Young Hearts which covers ten truths from Scripture for kids.
8. Pray for your kids and others
I’m guessing you already pray for them but pray for your kids in front of them. Here’s an example of what I pray,“Dear Lord, thank you so much for Claire and Maddy. You’ve blessed us with these children and they have truly been a gift. Father, we know you love to show yourself faithful in families and you have promised to keep your covenant to a thousand generations. I plead with you Father that you would work in these childrens’s hearts. Help them understand their need for Jesus. Clean their heart and draw them to yourself so that you faithfulness would be praised and your name would be made great. Do it for your glory Lord. Amen.”
But also pray for others. If you have a sick friend, pray for them. Pray for their pastors, teachers, Sunday school teachers. Have them pray for you. Have them pray for themselves.
9. Memorize Scripture.
Don’t stress over this. Small portions. Little bit at a time. Get in a rhythm. Do it as a family and talk about what the truth in that verse is. One way to make it fun is to use Seeds Worship which puts Scripture to music. Also, if you need a plan Desiring God offers its Fighter Verses which you can also download as an app for most smartphones.
10. Make it fun
Don’t be so up tight. Don’t be the family worship Nazi. You know what I’m talking about. Teach your kids to reverence the Lord. Teach them to honor God. Teach them He is holy. But don’t make him out to be the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Have fun. Laugh. Be joyful.
This post first appeared at Mathew’s blog and is posted here with his permission.
Mathew B. Sims authored A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and We Believe: Creeds, Confessions, & Catechisms for Worship (as well as worship guides for each Protestant tradition) and contributed in Make, Mature, Multiply (GCD Books). He completed over forty hours of seminary work at Geneva Reformed Seminary. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and the project manager for CBMW’s journal. Mathew offers freelance editing, book formatting, and cover design services. He is a member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.