Family Worship

I’m praying that one of the results of COVID is that our worship at home as families deepens and increases.

A worship pastor lamented to me that he recently had several conversations with fathers in his congregation who have no idea how to have worship in their homes.

Granted, we’re speaking of worship in song specifically. But I wonder if the level of worship in song that heaven hears has decreased?

And I shudder to think that we’ve done a disservice to our congregations because we’ve focused almost solely on creating excellent weekend services. Like how much time, energy, and budget do we spend on equipping our families to worship at home? (Versus that number invested in our Sunday services)

And I’m NOT saying that our Sunday services are not needed, because they very much are.

I’m pointing to this: the reality that we don’t know how to worship at home points to the problem that we as worship leaders have missed a significant part of our job. We’ve over-focused on the Sunday gathering at the expense of disciple-making.

So do we give guitar and piano lessons to one person for each family? Well, that would have some credence from a biblical model. But let’s not start there.

It’s weird to try to replicate a “worship set” at home. Contrarily, it’s real normal to go somewhere in a song at home. Feel that difference? Let’s start by NOT trying to replicate Sunday’s expression at home. Rather than picking a great set of songs, put some good words in your families’ mouths and find God there.

Think of it this way. Have you ever eaten at a great restaurant? Rather than expecting the restaurant experience, just make a tasty (healthier) home-cooked meal.

The likelihood that most worship leaders think more like restaurants than culinary institutes highlights the trouble we’re in as a Church. I guess I could’ve called this one “How to Cook at Home.” :)

What’s more important than that family worship is awesome is that you actually lead it. So it’s on us as parents to lead it.

MUSIC

  • Kids love to play instruments, regardless of skill. A little instruction and direction go a long way.
  • Hymns are great choices because they’re like Lunchables. You know, those pre-packaged, pre-measured, portable meals? Because they are were written to be carried by voices, very unlike modern music.
  • Recordings can be great in the mix of other things. If you use all recordings, it can lose folks quickly. But once in a while, they are welcome carriers.
  • Don’t underestimate the power listening to (or watching!) a symphony while reading a Psalm.
  • When you do pick music, like something on YouTube, consider something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4s3QY9RPPo


SCRIPTURE

  • This is a great moment for memorizing verses together.
  • Look for a relationship with God rather than rules as you read.
  • Pray for the Spirit’s revelation. We made up this little ditty that says, “Jesus, help us hear You while we read the story.”
  • Read a whole book at a time.
  • Compare parallel versions of a verse on Biblehub.com.
  • Read passages at varying speeds to experience the different ways they feel.


LITURGY

  • We use a book we love called “Every Moment Holy,” a collection of prayers for daily life. Anywhere from “A Liturgy for Those Who Weep Without Knowing Why” to “For Arriving at the Ocean” to “To Mark the First Hearthfire of the Season” to “For the Preparation of a Hurried Meal” to “For the Changing of Diapers 1 & 2.” https://www.everymomentholy.com/
  • A devotional, the lectionary readings, your prayer journal, an email you’re subscribed to, notes from an old worship conference…the choices are limitless.


ART

  • The call to sing is clear and plentiful in scripture. That expression is powerful, mystical, and easily corporate. But without the constraints of most Sunday services, all the arts are wide open.
  • With worship being our response to the revelation of God (good ol’ Matty Redman), that response can find so many outlets. Kick the voice of judgment to the curb (especially your own), and create. A blank paper with a new box of crayons, watercolors, finger paints, or oil pastels can be so freeing and surprisingly expressive and worshipful. Smearing those oil pastels is therapy in itself.


NATURE

  • Remember, you’re not constrained to sit in a room. Get outside.
  • Drive to a park, mountain, beach, forest. Take a stroll or an arduous hike with a breathtaking view, then sit down and read a psalm. Who knows, you may invent a haiku in response on the spot! (Remember it’s a 5-7-5 syllable structure)
  • Let the sunny breeze touch your arms, and the prickly grass press its pattern into your legs as you count how many of God’s creatures you can spot. Read the account of creation and breath out your prayers of thanksgiving.


It doesn’t have to be amazing. Just lead it.​