Saturday, July 10, 2010

Practical Ideas for Family Worship

Tim Smith

Worship Pastor at Mars Hill Church
In my previous post, I spoke of the importance of regular times of family worship. I have three daughters aged 5, 6, and 8, and I have failed as much as succeeded. Here are a few things I've learned:

1. Keep it short

I would recommend 15-30 minutes, as a general rule. If things are going well, you can always keep the conversation going, but the goal should be brevity. If you make a discussion too long, it will become tedious and can actually turn your kids away from God. This time should be an overflow of all the Scripture, prayer, and discussion going on in the rest of your lives—not the only place where it happens.

2. Read

Most importantly, family worship is a time for Scripture. Make sure to read small chunks, maybe only a verse or two, at a time and then unpack it together. You can go through a book of the Bible, pick a verse that applies to the day’s events, or choose something topical. The important thing here is connecting Scripture to life in a way that your kids can understand. For younger kids, the The Jesus Storybook Bible is pretty hard to beat.

3. Pray

Everyone should pray together. Thank God for what he has done and how he has provided. Take requests. Pray for each other. Pray for your city and specific lost people in your lives. Remember that you are building a rhythm, which is just as important as any specific prayer.

4. Sing

It doesn’t matter if you can play an instrument or your voice curdles milk—we should all sing songs to God. Scripture is full of song, and our families should be as well. Truth be told, you are probably more of the problem with this than your kids. Young kids naturally sing all the time without any self-consciousness. Get over your hang-ups and desire for perfection and just sing together. My girls and I are making family songbooks as a creative project, and they’re stoked.

5. Keep it regular

The sum is greater than the parts. You will have off days. You will miss days. You may even question your call to ministry. Whatever happens, just keep at it and God will make you equal to the task.

6. Older kids set the example

If your oldest kid is not engaged, your younger ones will follow. Challenge your oldest children to set the example for their siblings. Give them a bit of ownership and a role in how you structure these times, and it will be a huge help.

7. Limit TV

I’m not saying kill your television completely, but there is no doubt in my mind that excessive TV rots the attention span. If your kids, or you for that matter, can’t pay attention to anything for more than two minutes, then think about what other entertainment might be captivating your senses.

For a great resource to help you lead your family in worship, check out the Rizers—fun, original music that helps kids memorize Scripture. Listen to the Rizers here.