It’s only 63 pages long, but Don Whitney’s Family Worship: In the Bible, in History & in Your Home is a great little book. The book is aimed at Fathers primarily, but it also has a target on any believer that is the spiritual leader of their home. The basic thesis of the book is that Christian families should be worshiping together on a daily basis. Every family, Whitney argues, should set aside time to read the Bible, pray, and sing together.
Citing a Barna study, Whitney laments that many Christian parents rely upon their church almost exclusively for the discipleship of their children. Whitney writes:
“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.
“This is why family worship is so important. But even more importantly, God deserves to be worshiped daily in or homes by our families” (pp. 8-9).
To give you an idea of what the rest of the book is about, here’s the table of contents:
Ch. 1 â€“ Family Worship in the Bible
Ch. 2 â€“ Family Worship in Church History
Ch. 3 â€“ The Elements of Family Worship
Ch. 4 â€“ But What If . . . ? [dealing with obstacles to family worship]
Ch. 5 â€“ Start Today
Whitney’s book is not a guilt-trip for men who have failed to lead their family in worship. It’s a practical exhortation to Christians who need some encouragement to get started. It’s never too late.
If you are a pastor, I think it would be worth it to buy Family Worship for all the men of your church. You can buy them in bulk from Don Whitney’s website. For individuals who want the book, I saw a couple of used copies of Family Worship on Amazon.com, but your best bet may still be from Don Whitney’s website.
I really enjoyed the book. It helped flesh out some of the practical aspects of family worship for me. I’d recommend it and I’ve made copies available on our church’s book table.
His goal is a good one.
However, I think that perhaps the bigger issue is the lack of discipleship that takes place throughout the day. Setting aside a specific time may be helpful, but finding teachable moments, and displaying discipleship in the midst of the average day and night seems to be lacking the most. We need to stress that following and thinking of Christ is not just for a certain time of the day, or day of the week, but is 24/7.
Thanks for the tip, Denny. I have a couple of Don’s books on spiritual discipline already, but I am particularly interested in helpful instruction and tools for families as I am now directing the development of family camp ministry at a camp in Colorado.
This looks like a super book, Denny. Thanks for the book review.
Yesterday in church, our pastor was teaching on Romans 1, and our 8 year old son was in service with us. Half way through, he leaned over and wanted to tell me something and I shushed him…so instead he wrote his question down on his paper, to ask later.
As SOON as service was over, he popped out of his seat and showed me the question he’d written down…with much anticipation he asked/read his question…
“Am I a Bond-Servant?” (referencing Paul in verse one)
When I told him that he was, because of his commitment to Jesus Christ through receiving salvation and entering into covenant with Christ, he JUMPED up and down with excitement!
It was wonderful…and gives me a visual to remember all of my life.
Oh, that my heart will always be that thrilled to be a slave to Christ.
Denny, thanks for this recommendation. Our church plant is a Free Methodist Church, but we are establishing it to be more of a family-intergrated type of church. Strongly emphasizing our need to shepherd our kids, personally, formally and informally.
We, also, belive that families should be spending time together in worship both at church and in the home. I have found that even in ‘good’ Christian homes it appears that many parents are handing over the spiritual education/training of their children to the church i.e. children’s pastors, youth pastors, etc. And think that if they are at Sunday School or Youth Group then that is enough, or that they (the parents) have done their job in the spiritual rearing of their kids.
I don’t agree with this and think that as parents we are responsible for our children’s spiritual development and will answer to it. Ministries in the church that come alongside parents/families are great, but they can’t be the only thing, or shouldn’t be. And for kids without Christian parents, I believe that is where we need to take responsibility as a church family to come alongside this young ones and train them up.
I like what Rick said, “However, I think that perhaps the bigger issue is the lack of discipleship that takes place throughout the day. Setting aside a specific time may be helpful, but finding teachable moments, and displaying discipleship in the midst of the average day and night seems to be lacking the most. We need to stress that following and thinking of Christ is not just for a certain time of the day, or day of the week, but is 24/7.”
It is true, actions speak louder than words. This is especially true in the case of our kids watching us. Being a Christian should be more than just knowing a lot about Christ, but that knowledge should be reflected in every area and facet of our lives. As parents who are training up young ones, we need to make sure that our spiritual growth and development doesn’t just happen on Sundays (or whenever the weekly worship gathering is). We need discipleship, too. Our spiritual journey doesn’t end, it grows and matures, but is never complete imho. We need to make sure that our kids are not just hearing ‘wha wha wha wha’, but are seeing us live out Christ teachings in our lives, how we deal with them, our spouses, others, etc.
One vivid memory that remains in my husband’s mind from his childhood was ALWAYS seeing his dad, a Boeing engineer, reading the Bible in the morning before work. This spoke volumes to Jon as a child. He saw that his dad took seriously the need to be in the Word, to study it, to live it out. And my father-in-law is a true man of God and lives out Christ’s teachings.
Looking forward to picking up this book and adding it to our library, and having it as a potential resource for others.
Thanks Denny. Don gave this presentation this summer at WorshipGod08 and from that point on we’ve had an organized family worship time each night. He mentions in the booklet that there used to be a day when a man would face church discipline if he wasn’t doing this.
Great post. This book was a game-changer for me.
Thanks for the link to Whitney’s book. I have 3 kids under 5 and have felt like I’ve dropped the ball in this area. I’m looking forward to reading and applying it into my family life.
Thanks for providing solid, Christ-centered posts on your blog Denny.