The Gospel Coalition

Editor's note: Jason Helopoulos has also written on "The What, When, and How of Family Worship."

Worshiping together as a family was not something that began easily for us. Even as a pastor, I felt awkward in the beginning leading my family in worship (especially in singing!). However, it has now become part of our family life. No, it is more than just part—it is at the very center of what it means for us to be a family. It is a now a joy, and the moments are not so awkward as they once were. A Christian home must be centered upon Christ, and if it is centered upon Christ, then it will be filled with worship.

Most evangelical Christians are aware of the importance of secret and corporate worship, but fewer have even heard of family worship. What is family worship? It is pretty simple. Tonight, sit down with your family on the couch or at the dinner table. And then . . . pray together, read the Bible together, and sing a great hymn of the faith together. There are many reasons for doing family worship, but let us just mention a handful. Family worship:

  1. Glorifies and Honors God — This is the primary and essential reason.

  2. Centers the Home - Family worship has the wonderful effect of centering our homes upon Christ.

  3. Encourages Christian Character - The home may be the hardest place to live out our Christian lives. There is a reason that Paul addresses each member of the Christian family in the household passages of Ephesians 5-6 and Colossians 3. It is a sad reality that we often manifest the character of Christ more consistently at church, in the workplace, and in the community then we do in our own homes. If there is somewhere that I must especially be on guard against sin, the flesh, and our adversary, it is at home. Casualness and familiarity is a ready playing field for sin.

  4. Encourages Peace in the Home - We are sinners living under the same roof in tight quarters. That is a recipe for disaster or at least pain! We know our family members, and we know them well. Family worship helps us confront our sin and understand its effect upon one another. For example, it is awfully hard for a father to lead his family in worship when he has just yelled at his wife. If he is going to lead his family before the throne of grace, he will first have to ask for forgiveness from his wife. And she will find that it is hard to worship unless she willingly forgives him.

  5. Binds the Family Together - In our fast-moving society there are few things that a family does together daily. Even eating a meal together these days seems like a feat. What if your family gathered together daily? And what if that gathering was for worship? It would become the most important and central aspect of its life. Your entire family will come to the realization that no matter what else we do or don't do, the most important thing that marks us as a family is that we are a worshiping family submitted to Christ. And that bond is an eternal one that strengthens the family in all its other endeavors.

  6. Provides Common Knowledge - As the Scriptures are read together in family worship, the family grows in common knowledge. Conversations around the dinner table or in the car will change dramatically as you have a common knowledge from which to converse.

  7. Trains Children for Corporate Worship - Family worship provides the added benefit of training our children for corporate worship. As they sit and listen to the Word of God, hear prayers, and sing hymns these elements in corporate worship will take on a new meaning. The value of this cannot be overestimated.

  8. Encourages our Children in Christ - They will see that for mom and dad worship is not just something they do on Sunday mornings. It is something at the very core of their being, important enough that they center their home upon it. We are not raising children just to be moral and competent people, but worshipers of the triune God.

  9. Reinforces Spiritual Headship - Family worship reinforces the biblical framework of the family as it looks to the father (or the mother if she is single) as the spiritual leader of the home. As a father leads his children and wife before God's throne nightly and disciples them in the things of Christ, they will increasingly look to him for spiritual leadership. This has the added benefit of reinforcing with the father/husband the spiritual mantle that is upon his shoulders.

  10. Provides Systematic Discipleship - As a pastor I often have individuals approach me with a question about how to minister to their children or spouse in a specific area. Usually they are concerned about a particular sin or struggle in their family member's life. In this way we serve as firefighters rushing to extinguish this issue or that. At times this is needed, but it should not be our regular course of action. Systematic discipleship is a much better approach and is aided by family worship. Daily family worship will provide a strong foundation that is built upon hearing the Word daily, praying daily, and giving thanks daily. It takes time to build a strong house. It is an unsteady house that is the result of the carpenter running from shaky wall to shaky wall to hammer a nail in here or there.

  11. Provides Generational Testimony - One of the greatest benefits of family worship is the actual passing on of our faith to the next generation. We are teaching our children how to read the Scriptures, pray, confess their sins, sing unto God, and more. Our children will leave the home with memories of this daily worship. They will have learned by watching and participating how to search the Bible, intercede for their future children, and rejoice in God. And by God's grace and mercy they will carry it to the next generation of our families.


Now that we're considered the "why" of family worship, tomorrow we'll explore the "how."


Comments:

[…] Helopoulos gives a good run-down of this practice here and here, and has a book called “A Neglected […]

Steve Wilkinson

March 9, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Great article. This is something our family certainly need to get better at. However, as an apologist, I'm also concerned with the lack family worship in corporate church worship these days. All but a few denominations have gone almost totally to dividing kids out of the worship service. I'd like to find more data on the effects of this, but my theology tells me it can't be healthy.

Things to Click (1) | peedypostings

March 9, 2011 at 11:11 AM

[...] I’ve been keeping up with various postings on their website. An interesting one today was 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family. Personally, I know I find it difficult to pray in front of my parents, so the idea of having an [...]

Worshipping as a Family « In All Things

March 9, 2011 at 10:04 AM

[...] as a Family Jason Helopoulos at the Gospel Coalition blog has put together a list of 11 reasons to worship with your family, challenging believers to think carefully about the significance of the family in God’s good [...]

Craig

March 9, 2011 at 09:52 AM

My family has been blessed through family worship. Our 3-year-old is learning of our faith, and she loves singing the songs. Especially at a young age, children absorb anything you give to them. She has learned so much, and family worship is the primary avenue through which she has leaned. I'm glad for the encouragement in your post as I would wish every family to experience the blessings themselves. Our pastor demonstrated to our church how to do family worship. You can view the video here: http://newlifeindavie.com/ministries/every-family/

[...] From http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/03/09/11-reasons-to-worship-with-your-family/ [...]

[...] 11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family — Having recently purchased The Family Worship Book I’m especially excited about doing more of this! I pray that many fathers will discover the joy of leading their families in worship in the home! [...]

[...] 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family – The Gospel Coalition Blog [...]

The Ride » Ride Preview for March 5

March 5, 2014 at 04:23 PM

[…] 11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family. “Worshiping together as a family was not something that began easily for us. Even as a pastor, I felt awkward in the beginning leading my family in worship (especially in singing!). However, it has now become part of our family life. No, it is more than just part—it is at the very center of what it means for us to be a family. It is a now a joy, and the moments are not so awkward as they once were.” […]

[…] What, When, and How of Family Worship – The Gospel Coalition Blog 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family – The Gospel Coalition […]

[...] 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family (by Jason Helopoulus) As a pastor I often have individuals approach me with a question about how to minister to their children or spouse in a specific area. Usually they are concerned about a particular sin or struggle in their family member’s life. In this way we serve as firefighters rushing to extinguish this issue or that. At times this is needed, but it should not be our regular course of action. Systematic discipleship is a much better approach and is aided by family worship. Daily family worship will provide a strong foundation that is built upon hearing the Word daily, praying daily, and giving thanks daily. It takes time to build a strong house. It is an unsteady house that is the result of the carpenter running from shaky wall to shaky wall to hammer a nail in here or there. [...]

[...] article by Jason Halopoulos was found here. LikeBe the first to like this post.▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', [...]

[...] Via 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family – The Gospel Coalition Blog.   [...]

It’s Coming | Orange Fathers

March 15, 2011 at 11:01 PM

[...] for 2 years before others joined. At the very least, consider starting a Family worship time, The Gospel Coalition has a great list of reasons [...]

Family Worship « Three Passions

March 15, 2011 at 04:41 PM

[...] time of family worship, I highly recommend it.  To get started, check out Jason Helopoulos’ 11 reasons to worship with your family.  Then continue with his what, when, and how of family worship.  Then just do it.  You and your [...]

[...] Read:  11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family – The Gospel Coalition Blog. [...]

The Ride » Ride Preview for March 12

March 11, 2014 at 02:11 PM

[…] 11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family. “Worshiping together as a family was not something that began easily for us. Even as a pastor, I felt awkward in the beginning leading my family in worship (especially in singing!). However, it has now become part of our family life. No, it is more than just part—it is at the very center of what it means for us to be a family. It is a now a joy, and the moments are not so awkward as they once were.” […]

Steve Wilkinson

March 11, 2011 at 12:04 PM

I think it happened rather recently (within the last generation or two), and rather innocently. People figured that kids get bored in service and parents are distracted by their kids, so can't pay proper attention. The solution was to divide things up... everybody is happy, right?

The problem is that parents need to parent, and kids need to learn from the model their parents and other church family model. Some churches even go so far as to keep stuff separate so much that the kids, literally, graduate from church without ever really being a part of it! Luckily, most aren't that bad.

The other thing, is that corporate worship really should be the whole body of Christians, not just certain segments, worshiping in their own ways (or more likely, doing other learning or cultural activities and such). Worship might have learning components (like the sermon), but overall it is something else. The kids should be part of that, even if they don't understand it fully when they are small. I can think back to my own progression, as I learned what kinds of things were really going on and why, what the words to songs and liturgy really were and meant, etc. I also felt comfortable talking to another kid my age, or the elderly woman, because I was around them all.

I really think we're just beginning to see the effects of what I consider a devastating practice. It is just adding to all the other effects which are eroding the church. Not that I don't believe God will maintain His church, but looking historically, He may well build it up elsewhere and let it fail for a while where people are being negligent. In other words, the church universal is going to be fine, but the church local needs to be obedient or God might just let it fall.

[...] toward wanting and implementing regular family worship.  To read the original article, click here.  Otherwise, my prayer is that you will consider (and dialogue, because I’d love to know [...]

[...] Helopoulos gives 11 reasons to worship with your family. Good [...]

[...] 11 reasons to worship with your family: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/03/09/11-reasons-to-worship-with-your-family/ [...]

[...] is a biblical and important practice for Christian families. You can read it by clicking here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/03/09/11-reasons-to-worship-with-your-family/ Serving up the hottest dishes on WordPress.com. Featured on FoodPress Federal Hill Style [...]

Betsy Merrifield

March 10, 2011 at 08:56 PM

I agree. When did it become acceptable to us Christians to separate ourselves from our children during worship? My theology doesn't square up with this practice, either, and I wonder, now that the line has been drawn separating adults, teens, and kids, at what age are they invited back into the sanctuary and how will they know what to expect?
These points are very good. While my husband and I do read the Bible with our daughter and talk with her about it, we have never designated a time for us to worship together in this manner. I am eager to show this to my husband and begin our own family worship.

[...] Great post at TGC on an important issue. I want to commend it to my church since I will begin preaching on the Christian family on Sunday. Read it here. [...]

[...] [Editor's Note: This is the second half of Jason's series on family worship. Check out the first half, "11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family."] [...]

[...] Pastor Jason Helapoulos, author of The What, When and How of Family Worship, blogging at the Gospel Coalition:  “11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family”. [...]

[…] consider learning how to establish Family worship as a regular part of your family life. Here is a great set of blog posts from the Gospel Coalition that gives you a good […]

[...] on TGC:  Jason Helopoulos, 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family and The What, When, and How of Family [...]

The Ride » Ride Preview for February 26

February 25, 2014 at 09:57 PM

[…] 11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family. “Worshiping together as a family was not something that began easily for us. Even as a pastor, I felt awkward in the beginning leading my family in worship (especially in singing!). However, it has now become part of our family life. No, it is more than just part—it is at the very center of what it means for us to be a family. It is a now a joy, and the moments are not so awkward as they once were.” […]

Browse Worthy: Worship | Gentle Reformation

February 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM

[…] to draw before God’s throne together.  PCA pastor Jason Helopoulos has offered us Eleven Reasons to Worship with Your Family then followed that with The What, When, and How of Family […]

Family Worship/Devotion « Jesus, My Bible and I

February 12, 2013 at 06:01 AM

[...] Picture taken from Gospel Coalition: 11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family [...]

[...] For a great article on Family Worship, click here. [...]

[...] often does in patriarchal and FIC circles), I’ll merely point readers interested in further study here, here and here for more overviews from family worship [...]

[...] “11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family” [...]

[...] por Daniel TC | iPródigo | Original aqui. AKPC_IDS += "4922,"; [...]