Family worship is almost non existent in Western Christianity. Over the past decades we have bought into the belief that instilling truth and faith into the lives of our children is better left to the trained professionals. This false belief has led to the practical decision to over program our churches, scatter the family during corporate worship, and design sub-ministries that exist to separate people into homogeneous groups rather than promoting unity within the body of Christ. Most Christians under thirty years of age cannot conceive of a church without a youth group, college ministry, singles ministry, children’s church (during the adult worship hour separate from “big church”), etc. Yet, in the history of the church all of these sub-ministries are in the infancy stage. This mentality of “let the professionals teach my children” has disarmed fathers and mothers from the task of discipling their children. Jason Helopoulos has tackled this issue head on in his little book, A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home. Let’s take a few minutes to highlight the important points of the book.
First, Helopoulos says we are all created to worship. This is a basic truth for Christians, but Jason does a great job teaching the reader that if worship is only what we do on Sunday morning, if it is only the nebulous idea of everything we do is worship, then we are missing the opportunity to discipline ourselves and our children in daily intentional worship. Yes, we need to worship each Sunday as a gathered family of worshipers at a local congregation. Yes, everything we do is worship or at least should be worship. But if we do not discipline our families to worship daily, then the other types of worship will fall short of their intended purpose. We are reminded and encouraged to practice secret worship, corporate worship, and family worship so that all areas of our life are centered on Christ. He writes, “These three spheres of worship are related, informed, and encouraged by one another, because in each I am meeting with the Lord and benefiting from His grace. (27)” Our children will see worship as central when we practice worship regularly!
Second, Helopoulos affirms that family worship is our joyful responsibility. In the United States the practice of family worship has become almost non existent. Our lives move at a hectic pace. Our minds are filled with “other” things. Our understanding of worship has been confined to professional teachers/preachers leading a public service. We desperately need to recapture the understanding that family worship is our joyful responsibility. Johnathan Edwards said, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church. (30)” Fathers, it is our responsibility and privilege to lead our families before the throne of God in worship. We must rise to the challenge so that the next generation may know the mighty works of God (Ps. 78:4)! Helopoulos writes, “The church has historically seen family worship as one of the best and most helpful means of declaring this truth to the next generation and of giving glory to God in the current generation. (35).” The children we are raising in our homes will only consider Christ worthy of devotion if they see us displaying devotion, honor, and love to him. What better way to display this to them than through committed, consistent, joyful family worship?
Finally, Helopoulos encourages us to “Just Do It!” The bottom line is we need to just get started with family worship. There will always be excuses not to do it. There will always be awkwardness when we start the practice. But nothing is more important for us to commit to for the future of our family and the kingdom than family worship.
I challenge everyone reading this blog to begin family worship tonight. Father, single mother, newly married couple, and singles you can begin this faithful practice today. Sit down with your family in a quiet room of your home. Lead the family in singing, praying, and reading the Bible. After reading the passage, give a short simple explanation and exhortation to the family. Allow your family to participate. Most of all be consistent and joyful as you lead the people you love the most in worshiping Christ.
I recommend you get this small book. Read it and apply the truth you find in its pages. God will give the increase!
Talk to you soon,