This post originally appeared at In The Quiver (June 2018)
When I was asked to guest write for In The Quiver, I was told that I could write a recipe or a D.I.Y. project or something about fathers and their families. So, after much thinking and wrestling with various ideas, I thought I would combine all three (well, sort of ) into one little article, and I hope it blesses you as much as it has me in preparing it for the inter-webs and bloggies (you know, blog readers) of the world.
So, here it goes…
A DIY GUIDE FOR FATHERS TO CREATE A RECIPE FOR FAMILY WORSHIP IN THE HOME
Now you are probably thinking something crazy like “Has this guy lost his ever-loving mind?”; “That makes no sense at all”; or “That is a really long title.”
Please stay with me for a little longer, and you will see where we are going.
Let’s start by reading Deuteronomy 6:6-7:
And these words, which I command you today
shall be in 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.
After reading this Scripture, we may have more questions than answers. Questions like
- Is this Scripture really applicable for today’s world, or is that Old Testament talk?
- How do I do this with my kids?
- My kids are teenagers—is it too late to start now?
I am here to offer a few answers. As a worship pastor, I have often been struck by how many families only worship at a weekend service at a local church, and have never even given a thought about how they could actually be doing this at home. Not only can we do this, but I would argue that we are commanded to be doing this at home by leading our families in worship. Even if you have never tried this and your kids are sixteen and seventeen, you can start today.
(Stay with me—we are almost to the good stuff.)
Randy Alcorn gives this advice: “When it comes to your children’s lives, no one can take your place. So, don’t wait for someone else to talk to your kids about Jesus. Do it yourself. Read Scripture with them. Memorize it together. Pray with them. Go help the needy together. Give together and serve together. [I would add, worship together.] Show them what it means to be a disciple of Christ.”
Here is the tasty, delicious, and mouth-watering recipe for worship in the home:
» 1 Big Bowl of SIMPLICITY.
I had a great music mentor of mine say to me many times while I was studying jazz improv, “Brian, keep it simple, man, KEEP IT SIMPLE.”
That is the concept of family worship, simplicity. You don’t have to have an Order of Service complete with preludes, offerings, benedictions, and a million other churchy elements. It can be as simple as singing a song with a CD (if your kids don’t know what CDs are, then show them what it was like before iTunes), or it could be an evening time of testimony, or a reading from a family devotion book.
Of course, if you have a large family and can pull off a choir and praise band, then go for it—I would never want to hold back your family from their gifts and talents. However, since most families can’t do that, here is one of our favorite things to do: singing a simple hymn or praise song with our kids in the evening, and praying for each other. Be creative, but make it fit the personality of your family.
» 2 Pounds of CONSISTENCY.
One of the best things you can do is stay consistent in family worship. Whether it is reading the great stories of the Bible, praying together, singing songs, or sharing how God is working in your lives—keep doing it. Obviously, weekly schedules change, especially with kids involved in sports, band concerts, and gymnastics, so one week will probably look different than next week, but make it a priority to set aside time to worship and disciple your kids in the faith…and do it often as you can, even if it is riding in the car to and from some of these practices.
» 4 Cups of INTENTIONALITY.
Be intentional with what you want to teach your kids through these times of worship. By all means allow for spontaneity, but also plan out some of the worship time. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
As an example, my wife and I have outlined a Christian character trait that we want to teach our kids each month: last month was “peace” and this month is “honesty.” When we gather together as a family, we are intentional about selecting Bible stories and songs that reflect these character traits.
» 2 Tablespoons of INVOLVEMENT.
One of the greatest joys my wife and I have experienced is seeing every member of our family involved in home worship. It doesn’t happen in a picture-perfect way, and it definitely will not be depicted in any Hollywood blockbuster of the future, so I don’t want to paint a glamorous picture that is unattainable. However, when our son sings a song or our daughter tells a story about how God is working, that is a great moment for us!
Even better is when our introverted son becomes extroverted and wants to read the Bible story or share about the devotional that he read in the morning; it never fails to blow us away because my wife and I realize that it is not anything we have done—it is God moving through our kids’ lives. So be encouraged, and let the kids, or grandkids (why not extend this to many generations?) participate.
We had the highlight of our year a few months ago when I was speaking to another friend (also a father), and we decided to join our families together for a night of worship. Some kids were clapping, his 5-year-old was banging a box drum, everyone was singing as loud as possible, and we were having a moment of unhindered worship. Will it be on the next great worship album? NO. Was it beautiful and pleasing to Jesus? ABSOLUTELY.
» A dash of LOVE.
I recently saw a T-shirt—or maybe it was a sticker on a laptop of a patron at Starbucks—memory fails me as to the details, but I do remember the quote: “Love What You Do And Do What You Love.”
This can and should be the motto of worshiping families. It should become so ingrained in our lives that we can’t help but to do it, and do it often. That is how Deuteronomy 6 makes sense to us—it happens when we are sitting together, it happens when we are out and about, it happens before we go to bed, and it happens when we wake up each day.
As I conclude, I leave you all with a quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi; may it serve as a challenge for all of us:
“Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.”
And one more quote, this one from Zig Ziglar, the world-renowned motivational speaker:
“We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new beginning.”