Psalm 22:27 declares “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.”
Every human being has worship wired into our DNA--it is what we were designed to do. The Westminster Catechism says that the chief purpose of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Worshiping together as a family is a valuable way to both connect as a family and center our home under God’s leadership. Taking time to plan creative devotions can open our children to seeing how worship and praise can belong in our daily life at home.
There are times when our faith needs a new way to worship, a new way to connect, and a new way to see what God is doing around us. Finding the time to experience this can benefit our Sunday services, too. Connecting with our home church is important, and so is offering our time to serve there. It is also valuable to guide our children to see that worship can happen outside of church as an expression of our true identity.
While working at a camp during college, I was taught a type of group worship that was creative, collaborative, and fun. The summer staff was divided into groups and given one portion of a traditional church service to present in a brand-new way. With a limited time to plan and the whole of creation to use, we put together a worship experience that offered a new styles of praising God within historic patterns. We gathered outdoors and walked to planned spaces to offer words, to sing, to reflect on nature, to pile stones into altars and burn offenses we had written simply on pieces of paper. It was simple and heart-felt and new and refreshing. Twenty years have gone by and those experiences are with me today.
Some worked on a call to worship to begin the service, while others planned a confession of sin and assurance of pardon. Still more staff members were imagined a new way to understand group prayers, statements of faith, reading of the Ten Commandments, the offering, and other ways to respond to Christ's forgiveness. Other groups were assigned the Scripture reading, the message, and the benediction. Giving each member of the family a role to play in planning and participating, helps our families to see their role in God’s kingdom.
Planning a service at home (or on vacation or in a nearby park) that follows the pattern of your worship at church can do just that. See Reformed Worship for more ideas. Brainstorm as a family about what it means to call people to worship. How could you do that today? Then, do that plan together! Work through the parts of the service that are familiar to you, but see them each in brand-new ways.
Give your children opportunities to be active participants in the planning and execution of the service. Bless them with opportunities to get involved by letting them do things like sing the blessing, offer the prayer, or recite the scripture. These opportunities to develop spiritual leadership muscles will serve our children well throughout their lives. Opportunities to share about how God is forming them through his word will bless them and all who hear.
Worship is the essential heartbeat of the Christian life. It was never meant to be stale and boring--worship is an outpouring of our hearts to God. We can guide our families to see the place that worship holds within our daily life by engaging in fun times of family worship. Worshiping together can strengthen the experience we share in Sunday worship at church and help our children (and ourselves) to better understand how to worship the Lord the rest of the week as well.
Rev. Travis Jamieson
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra