“Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple / Open the door, and see all the people!”
For years our mindset has defined the church as the brick-and-mortar building we attend at regularly scheduled intervals of time. In this unusual season of time, we must redefine our mindset of church as a physical place and replace it with the original meaning of church — as a people gathered to worship God.
As parents, this can be a great time to focus on establishing a rhythm of family worship in your home. It’s been suggested that family worship involves three things: reading, praying and singing. Let’s look at each one and see how to make them part of your family worship.
Begin your time of family worship with Scripture reading. If you have small children, you may want to choose a well-written Bible storybook. Be ready to make the connection of the story back to a printed copy of your own Bible. A good Bible storybook has realistic pictures, clear and accurate telling of the story without the addition of extra-biblical characters or things like talking animals or fruit. The foundation of developing a high view of Scripture in your child is teaching that all of the Bible is true and can be trusted.
Follow Scripture reading by asking your children open-ended questions that spark deeper thinking and problem solving through the lens of Scripture. Some suggestions for discussion questions are:
- Who was this passage written for? Who was the primary audience?
- What can we learn about who God is from this passage or story?
- What would this sound like if it was written today? (Consider incorporating drama or role-playing.)
- Which character is most like me?
- How does this passage apply to my life?
- Why is this passage important to my life?
Be prepared to let your child answer from their hearts and minds. Take their answers seriously, and use them as starting points for teaching or correcting misconceptions. Don’t criticize or judge. Listen with an open mind and heart, and develop the skills necessary for faith conversations.
If prayer is not a daily part of your routine, it may feel uncomfortable and overwhelming to pray out loud with your family. With practice and time, this discipline can become a natural part of your life and the life of your family.
It’s important that children understand that prayer is not a magic formula for solving life’s problems, but a personal conversation with God who knows them, loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. Develop in your family that prayer is a first step rather than a last resort when trouble comes.
Use the truths learned from the Scripture passage or the Bible storybook to guide your prayer time. Also, be creative. There are numerous ways to incorporate prayer into your family worship time. Consider these nine ways to pray as a family and this host of family prayer ideas.
Music may be a regular part of your rhythm of life. In the book “Nothing Less” by Jana Magruder, LifeWay Research polled 2,000 parents whose adult children had not left the church. They wanted to discover some common spiritual practices and disciplines these young adults had as children and teens.
“Listening to Christian music” was fourth on the list. Good Christian music reinforces biblical truth and theology, which can allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and the lives of our children. For ideas on songs to include in your times of family worship, check out this list on Spotify.
For additional resources and encouragement, like the N.C. Baptist Childhood Ministry page on Facebook.