In our last blog post, we listed some ideas for family worship. But you may be wondering… how do I even get started? Here are a few tips that may help:
1. Plan ahead
It’s unlikely that family worship is going to happen organically–if you have to throw a family worship time together at the end of a long day, you’ll probably just keep putting it off. Instead, think in advance about what you’d like your daily and weekly worship patterns to look like so that you have something concrete to work towards. If you’re married, talk it over with your spouse to make sure you’re on the same page. Your plan should include:
- What spiritual practices you want to start with.
- When you want to start introducing these practices. The beginning of a new season like Advent or Lent is a great place to do this.
- How often you want to engage in different spiritual practices (Daily? Weekly? Twice a week?).
- What will the structure of your time together be like (see #3 on keeping it simple). If you’re interested, you can check out the 2019 Book of Common Prayer for the Anglican Church in North America. You can find the “family prayer” section of the prayer book here.
2. Establish a routine
If your family worship practices are haphazard or unpredictable, it’s less likely that they will stick. You’ll want to establish regular daily or weekly routines that your family will come to expect and hopefully treasure. It can be helpful to orient your worship practices around other established routines such as meals, bedtimes, or other times when you’re together as a family.
3. Keep it simple
It is important to set achievable goals for your family worship times–especially when you are starting out. If you try to be too ambitious right away, everyone will likely lose steam, and you’ll get discouraged.
4. Have fun
Although fun isn’t the main purpose of family worship, it can help children enter willingly into worship. A small treat, a fun song, a special job (e.g. blowing out the candle at the end)–all of these sorts of things can work together to help your children look forward to your family worship time.
5. Have a “bare minimum” practice
Inevitably, there will be circumstances and events that will throw your routine off-schedule. For these situations, it’s good to have a bare-minimum practice that keeps you accountable to your routine while allowing for life to happen. This might be something as simple as always reading a “Jesus Story” before bed.
6. Be patient with yourself and your family
If you are looking for the perfect time of Bible, prayer, and singing, you’ll find yourself disappointed on a regular basis. It is normal to encounter bad attitudes, tired participants, and unexpected interruptions. If you let yourself get frustrated with your family (or yourself) when these things happen, it isn’t going to help them learn to love worshipping God!
7. Just get started
You don’t have to wait until you have everything figured out to begin shepherding your family. Start with low-hanging fruit (e.g. reading from a Bible storybook before bed), and build from there.
I hope these tips will be helpful for you and your family as you get started with family worship!
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