“I am persuaded from my own ministry experience in hundreds of churches that so little family worship regularly exists in Christian homes today, that even in most of our best churches, most of our best men do not even pray with their wives (and children if they have them) much less lead them in ten minutes or so of worship as a family.”
Donald S. Whitney, Family Worship
How does my family worship? How am I modeling worship for my family? Is teaching my family how to worship a priority to me? These are questions I have been wrestling with over the last several months.
I believe it’s my job and responsibility to be the spiritual leader in my home, and I was wrestling with the idea of spiritually leading my 20-month old daughter. What does that even look like? How do I model worship and make that a priority at her age? I’m just trying to teach her how to keep crayons out of her mouth. How the heck am I supposed to worship and pray with her?
If you’re like the average, American church-going family, then this is probably what a Sunday morning looks like for you…
- Wake up
- Make sure all the kids are out of bed
- Get kids dressed
- Eat a quick breakfast
- Rush out the door
- Arrive to church
- Sign the kids into kids ministry
- Find your seat in the sanctuary
- Take a few, deep breaths
- Close eyes
- Listen to sermon
- Pick up kids
- Go home
Here’s the problem – too many men are relying too heavily on the church to provide a worship experience for their families. Worship ends on a Sunday, and for many of us, that’s the last bit of worship we do for the week. The kids’ pastor may have led our children in worship (thank God for kids’ pastors), however, we rarely set time apart to lead our own families in worship.
Let me share a story with you.
Sunday Morning Worship
Several weeks ago, I was playing in a two-day golf tournament. I played a good round on Saturday, which led to a tee time on Sunday that did not allow me to get my family to church (go ahead…judge me). Rather than do nothing, I pulled up some worship songs on YouTube, put them up on our tv and we began to worship. As my wife and I were singing quietly, I felt my daughter tugging at my leg. I bent over, picked her up and continued to worship. My eyes were closed and my arm was raised. I was in the worship zone.
What happened next was a defining moment for me as a father. As I was holding my daughter in the middle of our living room, I felt her shift in my arm. I opened my eyes to see what she was doing. I saw a sweet, red-haired, diaper wearing, 20-month old with her eyes closed and her little arm in the air. She was doing what daddy was doing (my wife was able to snap a photo of the moment).
I stopped and tried to fight my emotions. I felt like the Holy Spirit was overwhelming me in that moment. My heart melted. I was so proud of her. God reminded me — “You’re my child, Garret. I’m proud of you, too.” No matter how young my children are, it is my responsibility to model worship and lead them in the journey. No matter how old I become, our Father still loves when we worship Him.
Donald S. Whitney says it perfectly at the end of his introduction in Family Worship…
“Having your family in a Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, Bible-teaching local church is crucial to Christian parenting. But it is not enough for conveying to your family all you want to teach them about God and your beliefs. Moreover, it is unlikely that exposure to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue him once they leave your home.”
This is why family worship is so important. But even more importantly, “God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.
Men – let’s model worship and prayer for our families. Let’s lead and guide them in a spiritual journey. Our children are watching. They will imitate our every move. They will follow us into the unknown. They desperately desire your leadership and strength. It’s in you. Find it. Accept it. Embrace it.
Garret Barbush, Executive Director