Six Ways to Commit to Worship as a Family
We’ve all been there. Maybe you and your family showed up for worship at church physically, but you were miles away spiritually and emotionally.
If you are like us from time to time, then you made it to church on time by the skin of your teeth after throwing down breakfast, patting messy hair on your kids (and maybe you), putting up the dog, getting on clothes and tying shoes. And....OH YEAH....don’t forget your mask.
It is possible to make this sort of schedule the norm in getting ready for church. However, there are lots of issues with this schedule. Sometimes, the chaos leads to arguments. Kids start crying because they’re rushing out the door, and they forgot their favorite toy at home. You take a deep breath once you finally get in the door of the church, but you’re honestly not spiritually ready for worship. Besides, it won’t be long until the kids start asking what we’re eating for lunch.
We want to take some time and offer some practical suggestions that will hopefully make your worship experience as a family more meaningful. It should be something we commit to on a regular basis. It’s commanded in scripture with the application of the Sabbath and Hebrews 10:25 - “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as is the manner of some.” What we do with these regular rhythms of our week matters a great deal in the life of our children. We are teaching them what their priorities should be. And you know this is true - they will probably grow to prioritize whatever you prioritized when they were young.
So how do we commit and glorify God in regards to worshipping as a family?
1. Worship at home
If you love music this is probably an easy one. But what if you aren’t so blessed in that area? The obvious rebuttal for some is that they don’t know how to sing as a family. However, think about this - have you ever been to a birthday party where they didn’t sing “Happy Birthday” because people just weren’t talented in singing? We always sing, even if we’re not that great at it.
How much more important it is to sing together as a family to the God of the universe! There are lots of ways to do this. You could sing in the car as you’re listening to Christian music. You could play a YouTube video on the TV with music and lyrics to a song you sing at church. You could get your kids to play something if they learned a few chords on the guitar. Whatever you do, make it a regular habit. It will be much more effective that way.
2. Prepare for worship
It’s been said many times, but it is so fundamentally true - “Sunday morning worship is a Saturday night decision.” We lay out clothes and lunches for school the next day. We should do what needs to be done to prepare for worship the next day! By the way, you don’t have to get to church as early as you do for school.
This changes for every family, but you should think practically about what needs to be done. What will we wear? Where is my Bible? Have I written my tithe check? What should we eat for breakfast that won‘t cause a fuss? Where are the snacks in case the kids get hungry while the preacher is still going? OH YEAH - Where are their masks???
Answer these questions on Saturday night, not Sunday morning. God will bless your efforts.
3. Let go of the idea of perfection
Sometimes things go wrong. One kid isn’t cooperating. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Here’s what we believe - go to church anyways. This may just be the Sunday you NEED to hear that song or listen to that message.
Don’t let a few speedbumps keep you at home. If our toddler walks out of her room in a Disney princess dress because she is red headed and doesn’t like what we picked out - we go anyways. Worshipping God is more important than giving the false impression that you have it all together. That‘s kind of why we need worship anyways.
4. Teach your children about worship
Take the time to teach your children about what we do in a worship service. When they ask questions about the offering or why we read scripture every service, take the time to answer their questions.
Talk about the sermon. Ask what they learned or if they have any questions. If there is a new song that is sung in service, talk about what the song was saying and how that applies to our lives. By teaching them these things and pointing them to scripture, you are emphasizing their importance.
5. Be present and attentive
For much smaller kids, they may need to go in the nursery or color something during the service. But for older kids, teach them to put away distractions and find ways for them to engage in the service. When everyone is standing and singing, get them to do the same. A little peer pressure never hurts in this regard. If you go in with a few families and you all encourage your kids to sit together and participate - there is power in kids seeing other kids engaged in the worship service.
Another idea would be to get the kids to draw a picture of whatever the preacher is talking about. Or maybe you get them to take notes and write the things they thought were interesting.
6. Model worship engagement for your children
Of course, in order for your children to be engaged in worship, you need to be engaged in worship. We don‘t come to worship so that others can see us, but your children will notice what you do. I can still remember the face of my parents when they worshipped in song or listened to the sermon.
Parents, your children need to see you sing. They need to see you lift your hands in praise. They need to hear amens coming from the pews. These things will teach them to engage. It will teach them that this is something you feel passionate about. Don’t put on a show for them, but if your public worship is an overflow of your private devotion - your children will take note.
You might just be blessed along the way.