“..we don’t want to worship the family, we want worshipping families.” – Jason Helopoulos
The changes within and among families has been dramatic over the last 30 years. Such things as longer life spans, birth control, women’s increasing participation in the paid labor force, and a dramatic increase in divorce rates have reshaped family life. The new realities of family life are in sharp contrast with idealized notions of the family we see in Rockwell paintings.
This trend has also impacted Christian families as well. Families committed to Jesus find that most families activities are centered on work, school, after-school pursuits with worship and Bible study often restricted to Sunday mornings. The idea of carving out time for consistent family worship and Bible study seems problematic in the 21st century family. As a result finding Christ in the family room can be replaced by the belief that instilling truth and faith into the lives of the family is better left to the trained professionals at Northstar and on the TV and the internet.
Certainly, we as a church body play a role. We are committed to helping people find and follow Jesus. That vision becomes the filter through which we prioritize, pursue and evaluate the effectiveness of our ministry together. Our vision helps us ask revealing questions such as, is our children’s ministry helping children and their families find and follow Jesus? Is my preaching and teaching helping people find and follow Jesus? Are our Sunday services helping people find and follow Jesus? Does multiple campuses help people find and follow Jesus.? Are our Northstar Groups, our care ministry, our worship teams, our night of worship – in short, all we do as a church accomplishing this vision of helping people find and follow Jesus?
Consider this fact: It is the duty and responsibility of Christians to not rely on a handful of pastors and paid staff to fulfill the church’s calling to make disciples. Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” (KJV) We believe it’s important for all Christians to take ownership of their role in serving each other and their cities, helping each other grow to be more like Jesus, and caring for the hurting, as well as sharing the good news of Jesus. And what better place to build that foundation than in the home. Noted 17th century theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.”
The idea of family worship for some may conjure up images of the days of the Puritans or perhaps even the days of Little House on the Prairie. But, building families on the foundation of Scripture and glorifying God has never been more important.
In his book Neglected Grace, A: Family Worship in the Christian Home, Pastor Jason Helopoulos calls parents and church leaders to reclaim the practice of family worship. This indispensable means of grace directs our children to seek Christ daily, preparing them to go out into the world as fully functioning Christian adults, who love Christ and see all of life in relation to Him.
This excerpt from page 11 of the book makes his point:
“As we approach the subject of family worship it is helpful to be reminded that it is nothing more than our response in the home to God’s magnificent and infinite grace. And it is by that grace that we gather together with our family members to delight in His excellent goodness and eternal glory. Family worship is not something we have to do. Our right standing before God is not impacted by whether we lead our families in worship or not. Christ has already accomplished all for our salvation. Rather, family worship, like other spiritual disciplines, becomes something we want to do.”
Jason calls family worship a “joyful responsibility”, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. There are millions of families that practice family worship, They don’t treat it like it is another box we need to check off on our Christian to-do list, but instead view it as a wonderful privilege to share the love of Christ with our other family members on a daily basis and watch the Spirit move in all of our lives.
We can hang every manner of Joshua 24:15 plaque that we want to in our homes, but nothing “screams louder” that our house truly serves the Lord than consistent and genuine family worship. And nothing is more important for the future of our family and the kingdom than family worship.