Mar 1, 2023
For a culture that values education, we seem to forget that our children need to be educated in the Word, not just the world.
Our culture puts a high value on the education of children. We have preschools that require entrance exams, schools that earn money based on students' test scores, community colleges, and universities with graduate and postgraduate degrees. For a culture that values education, we seem to forget that our children need to be educated in the Word, not just the world.
The repeated theme in western education is one of “sending." We send our kids away to be taught academics at schools. We send children to be taught discipline and endurance through structured sports programs led by trained professionals. We send them away to be taught morals and truth at church. The continually reinforced reality is that we send them away. This pattern reveals a tremendous lack. We as parents are not equipped to be teaching our children. It is due to our lack that we send our children to those who have a supply. Our children must be taught by someone who has the correct credentials. We see this broken theme within every sphere of our society. Do we wonder why so often our youth abandon their heritage in culture and faith? We need to look no further than our own habits. They haven’t wandered away; we have sent our children away.
The prevalence of youth and young adults leaving the church is astounding. If you look around at churches today, you will see that there is a significant age group missing: young adults. Our children are being won over by the culture of the world, not Christ. This can be changed for future generations. For a problem to be rectified, it must first be identified. There is time to bring our children back to Christ, and it starts at home.
The training of our children to love God and contend for the faith starts at home. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Scripture doesn't tell us that our children will learn about God from their private school teacher, their pastor, their youth group, their friends, or their youth pastor. Scripture tells us our children should be learning about God primarily from their homes. God’s word should be in their hearts daily and heard in their homes.
But how do we as Christian parents do this? How are we supposed to teach our children daily in the instruction of the Lord? We are all super busy people. We may work, our kids are in school all day, then there is homework and sports and bed. There just isn’t enough time in the day, or is there? There are many ways that we can train our children in the Word, one of which is family worship.
Worship is paramount in the life of a Christian. The definition of worship is the “feeling and expression of reverence and adoration for God," according to Webster's dictionary. Worship is about God. Worship is our expression of reverence and adoration to God our Father, our maker and creator. But what exactly is family worship, and how are we to start worshiping the Lord daily in our homes as a family? Family worship is a specific time when your family comes together to read God's word, pray, and sing. No elaborate sermons or messy crafts are required. Starting family worship is a lot easier than it seems. First, talk to your spouse and pray together about how best to spend time together in worship as a family. Second, choose a book of the Bible that you enjoy and start at chapter one. Start with reading a few verses every night, and as your family is able, increase your reading to an entire chapter. As you are reading, pause and ask basic questions about the passage: what just happened? Why do you think this passage is in the Bible? Who are the people in this passage, and did anything stick out to you?
There is no need for any special devotional book, just your Bible. Reading scripture is the first step to family worship, but it is not the whole thing. During family worship, you should also sing and pray to God. Make a list of some of your favorite hymns and rotate through them regularly. Singing together may seem scary to many of us. I know I am not the best singer! I take comfort in the statement from Psalm 100:1: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord”. It is important to remember that throughout Scripture we have references to the Israelites and Christians singing praises to God. The entire book of Psalms was originally set to music. It was the songbook of God’s ancient people. We should sing praises to God whether we think we have a great voice or musical talent. Scripture reading and singing are two of the three components of family worship.
The last component is prayer. It is important that we as families pray together. James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” God calls us to pray regardless of what is going on in our lives. Praying with our children teaches them how to pray and how to rely on God. We cannot expect our children to have a personal prayerful relationship with the Lord if we do not show them how. Praying together will bring your family closer, as you share joys and struggles with each other and bring them to the Lord. Family worship does not guarantee that our children will not leave the church, but it will make an impression. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It is God’s work to save our children, but it is our job to train them according to God’s Word. The hearts of our children need to be won at home. They need to be shown the love of Christ within the context of their family. They must see and hear how God's Word applies to every aspect of their lives.
Spending time in worship, singing, and prayer as a family will change who you are and will change your children. Scripture shows us several other instances of children being taught the ways of God through their parents as primary instructors. I encourage each of you to look at your daily schedules and see if you are teaching your children the ways of God.
Our children will be sent out eventually. Maybe it’s for educational reasons, or maybe just because they have spread their wings to establish their own home. What will be their foundation when they are sent out? Will the truths of God’s Word be their firm perspective of reality? What values will our children treasure, and what values will future generations wish they had been taught? As a society that puts such a premium on education, prioritizing our children’s faith education is an effort that will see benefits wherever they are sent.
Amy Toman has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Central Michigan University. She has been married to her husband for 13 years and they have four living children. Amy spends her days teaching her children, managing her household and writing as often as possible. She delights in engaging conversation and seeing children thrive in their curiosities and abilities.