At Sound City, we place a high value on gathered worship. In a society that continues to move more and more in the direction of digital connection, livestreams, and online relationships (and feel the ill effects), we believe that there is no substitute for God’s people gathering together to sing, pray, receive the preached Word, and gather around the Lord’s Table.
However, from time to time, it may not be possible for you or your family to gather on a particular Sunday for worship. People get sick, families go on vacation, snow storms roll in and take over a region. When something like this happens, it’s a great opportunity for you to worship as a family. Now, “family worship at home” sometimes get a bad rap because people use it as an excuse to…well, not worship at home with their family. But when done right, it can be a profound time of connection with God and with those closest in your life. Here are some ideas on how to worship at home with your family!
*One quick note. This post is aimed at families with kids, but the principles can apply to anyone worshipping at home, whether with roommates, neighbors, or by yourself.
Open the Bible
I know what you’re thinking, “of course a BIBLE church would say that.” Darn right we would. There are a variety of ways to do this. Each family member could take turns reading a verse or a passage, and then sharing a few thoughts about it. You could go to a website like BibleGateway.com and click on the audio/speaker icon and just listen to a chapter or two. Note: if you are listening with children, maybe consider listening to one of the more colloquial translations like CSB or NLT that will be easier for them to understand. Or, pick a sermon or teaching from the mountain of resources available on RightNow Media. They have some great kid resources available.
Again, I hear you thinking , “but I’m no worship leader.” But remember that while good music and art most certainly does glorify God, he’s far more concerned with the sincerity of our hearts than with the quality of our notes. Turn on a hymn CD or open up the SCBC Hymnal playlist on Spotify. Let the kids pick out a favorite song or two and lead the family in singing. Or better yet, let them try out their piano or guitar (or whatever) skills that they’ve been practicing at music lessons. It’s never too early to start letting our children take the lead in areas of ministry.
Spend some time in prayer, and let the kids lead out. Pray for teachers, for government leaders, for neighbors who need to meet Jesus, for the leaders of your church (*cough, cough). Dads, model for your family what it sounds like to repent of sin and to be assured of God’s grace. If you need ideas on what or how to pray, the Psalms are always a great place to start. In fact, here is a list of every prayer in the Bible (who has time to make this stuff? Oh, that’s right…Reformed people). Take a look at some of the prayers of Paul, they are powerful!
Families, you can celebrate the Lord’s Table at home, right around your dinner table. I would recommend that you take time to read from one of the communion passages like Matthew 26:26-30, Luke 22:14-20, or 1 Corinthians 11:23-28. You can use bread and wine (or juice) from home; there is nothing inherently special about these elements. What is special is how Christ meets with us in this celebration.
Give and Serve
Maybe the kids want to “collect an offering” for somebody they know who is in need. Or perhaps your family sponsors a child overseas and the family wants to pull out a recent letter from them. If you were planning to tithe but couldn’t make it in person to the worship gathering, you can still do that online (that is a helpful part of technology).
But beyond giving, consider ways that you might be able to serve your neighbors. For example, if bad weather has hit the area, this could be a good time to check on those elderly neighbors of yours to make sure they have heat, food, and water. The possibilities are endless, so get creative!
Gathering together for corporate worship is important! But isn’t it beautiful to know that God is with us no matter where we gather for worship? Whether we gather in a group of five or five hundred, the most important thing is to keep Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection at the center!
Here is a helpful article from the Gospel Coalition called 11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family. While the article is pointing at daily times of worship, the principles apply if, for some reason, you have to miss gathered worship on The Lord’s Day.