Whether a family has one, three, or seven kids… If they have a two year old or a 12 year old… If they home school or public school… live in the city or the country, EVERY family has hurdles to overcome if they are serious about starting a regular family worship time.
At Family Time Training, we always encourage families to set aside 20 minutes once a week. Our family Bible activities are designed to take about that much time. But whatever method you decide to use, there are four main components: read the Scripture, discuss, pray and sing. It’s very similar to a regular corporate worship service (hear the Word preached, pray, sign, and take the Lord’s Supper) and you should feel free to adapt to your family while keeping to the key components of worshipping the Lord.
I want to address two primary areas that keep us from getting started: the planning and the doing. You need a plan and then you need to implement that plan. It would be impossible to create an all-inclusive list of potential hurdles and their solutions, so I’m suggesting 9 ways to overcome your hurdles and praying that God uses them to help you get started.
1) Make the decision. The rest of this list is a waste of time if you haven’t decided that this is God’s Plan and therefore the most important part of your family’s routines. Once you make the decision, ideally both spouses together, tell the kids and even tell some friends. Ask them to hold you accountable to having family worship every week.
2) Put it on the calendar. Be certain that you have a day and time that works for you family each week. Maybe it’s Tuesday nights or Friday afternoons. It could literally be any time that works for your family’s schedule. Use your smartphone to create a recurring event on your calendar so the time is blocked out before you schedule other things. Then, use a paper calendar to hang in a prominent place in your home some everyone can see this is a priority and be reminded.
3) Plan in advance. I highly recommend taking time once a month to plan your family worship time. Decide what topics or activities you want to do.
4) Gather your supplies. The last thing you want to do is make the commitment, put it on the calendar, and then not have everything you need when it’s time for family worship!
5) Limit distractions. Your kids are easily distracted. YOU are easily distracted (Surely you realize how the simple act of searching on your phone for that book you’ve heard so much about takes you down an endless rabbit trail.) Put phones away. Clear away clutter.
6) Let older kids help. Younger kids are eager to have your undivided attention. They love to be with and spend time with you. Sometimes older kids need a bit more persuading. Let them take the lead! They can pick out the theme, the music, or supplies. If older kids feel like they are needed, they are more likely to desire to participate.
7) Keep it short… or long. Follow the lead of your kids! I told you that our Family Time activities are designed to be done in about 20 minutes once a week. We really mean that. There’s no special amount of time that is the “right” amount of time. If at 10 minutes someone is crying or the kids are arguing over who gets to read, it’s probably going to be a shorter family worship. If kids are asking great questions or want to do the activity more than once, you may have a 45 minute family worship on your hands. It’s okay.
8) Be flexible. It’s okay to change the format, the day and time, or even where you do your family worship! As #7 illustrates, your family worship won’t look the same every week and that is actually a good thing! Fight the urge, if you’re like me, to be legalistic. You want your kids to remember that family worship was fun and that you made time just for them to learn God’s Word together.
9) Don’t expect to be perfect. You won’t know all the answers to your kids questions (But spoiler alert: You can find the answers!). You’ll miss a week… or three. Don’t give up! Remember that Jesus is the only one who is perfect. He gives us grace. And this is his plan.
Any hurdle can be overcome by our powerful God – trust him to help you to get started leading family worship in your home.