As Jesse will discuss this morning, it is parents, not pastors, who are chiefly responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their child. Pastors are to encourage, exhort, and assist parents in this endeavor, not replace them. As Paul states in Eph 6:4, it is parents generally and fathers specifically who are to raise children “up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The how question of Christian childrearing can be difficult to answer. How are parents to oversee the spiritual development of their children? “Lord, I know I need to raise my kids in a godly manner, but how am I supposed to do that?” you might have thought.
One way to accomplish this task is through an activity called family worship. Family worship is the corporate gathering of a family to worship God through Scripture reading, singing, discussion, reciting catechism, and praying. It’s different than a quiet time. It involves the whole family—from dad (who’s tired from work) to little Johnny (who just turned 3).
The Scripture reading can be from any passage. If you don’t know where to begin, start in the Gospels. For singing, I recommend getting a trusted hymnal. Start by singing the songs you know. If it’s been a long day, just put one some Christian music from YouTube! Discussion time is very important. Parents not only need to talk about the Gospel, they also need to apply the Gospel. Ask penetrating questions of your kids regarding sin, grace, and faith. Catechism is a great tool for family worship. Catechisms are theological tools parents can use to teach their children God’s truth through memorization. Last is prayer. All families need to regularly pray together as a family—and not just at the dinner table.
It’s not enough for parents to just bring their children to church. Parents must bring church to their kids. Family worship is a great way to do that. Whether you’re a parent of small children, teenagers, or you’re a grandparent, make family worship a habit.