Sunday, July 23, 2006

Win the new Don Whitney book on family worship

To keep this conversation going I am going to bait you with a free book. I will send a copy of Don Whitney’s new book to whoever can give the best response to my questions below.

In my experience most parents have never heard of having a family worship time. There is a trend toward “family ministry” or “family discipleship.” But for most pastors (and children’s ministers) family worship is not even on the radar.

As a follow-up to Shawn’s great quote from Richard Baxter I would like to hear some feedback on the following questions: (I'll send a copy of Don Whitney's new book on Family Worship for the best answers.)

  1. Why is Family Worship not even discussed in many evangelical churches?

  2. What can church leaders do to promote its revival in our churches?

  3. Do you think it is realistic to call families to worship God in their homes daily? Explain.

Will The Next Generation Treasure Christ? is a dialog on reforming children’s ministry and equipping parents - for the glory of Christ and the joy of our children.


Tony said...

Well here goes:

1. One reason that family worship is not discussed is that it is not even on the radar. With the focus so often being on what ministry the church can do to fill perceived needs seeing what can be done at home is left out. All too often the church, whether on purpose or not, displaces the family rather than enhancing the family. It has been said that the church is the most segregated time of the week when it comes to races and I would say that that also applies to families. One group goes here and another there so as to best disciple, or at lest that is the thought. Family worship would tend to go against this grain.

Another reason is that some are afraid that if they focus on families they will isolate those that are single or others not considered in families. However this is short sighted as families can incorporate others into the worship as part of their family.

Yet another reason for this lack of focus is that it takes lots of work and we are in such a quick fix age that family worship is just seen as too hard and long a process.

I would also say that a reason may be that pastors ignore this area because they fall short of caring for their families as they should. This has been an area I have struggled with and still do. When we preach and teach we are held accountable to do as we say and that may lead some to shy away from the subject as they can not be held as accountable for what has not been taught, even though in reality God holds us accountable even if we do not teach on something.

Over all the lack of teaching and training on this subject comes down to having let the subject lag for so long it takes much effort to get back to it and hard work is often avoided.

2. Preach on it biblically, and not just pragmatically, and live it. Too often the family is put forth as the mainstay of the nation and not as that which is ordained by God. We need to have whole families because God desires them and not because it will make America better. That may be a result of the action but it should not be our focus. Also, pastors need to lead the way and show their congregations the importance of their families and not just in words but in actions. When a pastor sees their family less than the member in the congregation there is an issue. It is also the job of the congregation to make sure they do not ask so much of the pastor that the pastors family is minimized for the sake of the congregation. We are to lay down our lives for others not lay down the life of our family and the church as a whole needs to grab hold of this.

So to promote family worship the subject needs to be preached from God’s word and lived out for others to see. Pastors need to lead by example and congregations should not be a stumbling block to the pastor doing so.

3. It is not too much to ask but it is a lot of work. I know I fall far short of this and let way too many things get in the way but we should worship in some fashion as a family daily. I would say that even within the church we do many things as a family that are not related to God. People go to a plethora of activities such as sports, clubs and other things so in general is it not just a matter of priorities. Now from personal experience it is not easy to change these priorities but the worship of God should be placed higher than worshiping other activities. This again is an area that needs to be modeled. Also, I think the idea that daily worship is the goal should be stressed but also to stress that it needs to worked up to as all too often we, and this is a problem I have, shoot for the goal right away and fail and instead of trying again we give up and see the move as too hard.

In all of the questions you asked, which are good questions, I think the primary focus needs to be on the leadership of the church. Churches need to do more than say families are important but show it by actually doing things that build families rather than divide them. The pastors and elders, if churches have biblical elders, need to model what family worship is. This involves more than simply a time that something is done but a lifestyle that shows the congregation the importance of the family in more than just words but in action.

I hope I did not write too much but this sort of topic has been on my mind lately as I contemplate what the church is really supposed to look like. Thanks also for the opportunity to write what was on my mind.

Tony K. said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I think the lifestyle issue is huge. Youth Sports, teenage jobs, and television often rob us of what is really important. This include family time in God’s presence.

William E. Turner Jr. said...

Will a sermon I preached on family worship count? :) I will post it on my blog in parts over the next few days since you guys are discussing this topic. I would love to hear your comments/criticisms, etc.


Tony K. said...

Thanks for the link - a sermon text would be fine. The 'best comment' will be judge by me (since I am sending the book).

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Tony,

Thanks for taking up this issue. I am just now reading The Reformed Pastor for the first time, and his comments on the pastor's role in leading the fathers to have prayer and Bible reading at home are a real word for today (given 350 years in advance!).

Love in Christ,


Tony K. said...

I am awarding the book to Tony in California and Will at Just email me your address and I send a copy your way. Thanks for the comments and sermon.

Tony said...

Thanks for the book, I just sent of my address.