Whitney points us to meaningful family worship
Family Worship: In the Bible, in History, and in Your Home by Donald S. Whitney
Don Whitney, a dear friend of Missouri Baptists, has written a new booklet about family worship.
Why family worship? Whitney notes recent North American Mission Board research indicating that 88% of churched youth in the United States leave the church once they finish high school. He says, “Most of these young people have no lifelong, sweet memories of family worship. If they had them, such memories might prevent their departure from the faith in the first place. Or if they do walk away, the memories might be the means to return them to the faith later.”
That is where Family Worship comes in, providing both an explanation of and an exhortation to fathers to lead their families in the worship of God.
In the first section Whitney takes us through the biblical record of fathers leading their family in worship. From the earliest pages of the Bible, we see that the pattern of family worship is established as a practice of believing households.
Next, Whitney shows us examples from church history where the priority of family worship was a means of multi-generational faithfulness. For Christianity to be passed down from generation to generation, fathers should imitate the example of Christians like Luther, Spurgeon, and the Puritans who preached and practiced the necessity of daily worship within the family.
But what should take place in family worship? Whitney keeps it plain and simple by laying out three basic practices – read the Bible, pray, and sing.
Complexity may kill the desire for family worship, but brevity, regularity, and flexibility will lead to success. He says, “Try to have a regular time each day for family worship. …Whatever time you choose, consider the wisdom of adapting a time when the family is already accustomed to being together, rather than trying to create another routine during the day.”
Whitney deals with some unique situations that may pose difficulties to family worship, and then closes the book by answering the exhortative question, “Isn’t this what you really want to do?”
He says, “Having your family in a good, Bible-teaching local church is crucial to Christian parenting. But this is not enough for conveying to your children 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 home. That is why family worship is so important. But even more importantly, God deserves to be worshipped daily in our homes by our families.”
To get a copy of this book go to Whitney’s web site www.biblicalspirituality.org. The price is $5.50, and multiple copies can be ordered for a substantial discount. Giving a copy to each family in your church would be an excellent way to jumpstart discussion about this important spiritual priority. Also, beginning in February there will be an audio CD of the book that includes a printable discussion guide taken from the book.