Mike Seaver continues his series of posts (I, II, III, IV and V) on Intentional Manhood. They originally appeared last year on Mike's blog Role Calling. Mike serves on the pastoral staff of CrossWay Community Church of Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike and his wife Kristin have been married since 2000. They have three daughters.
It is often easy for a husband/father to lead his family to watch a movie or go out to dinner. A dad does not struggle turning on the game on Saturday to cheer for his team while his kids cheer on with him. However, an understanding that a father must care for and lead his family spiritually is dropped in many homes. Intentional manhood means leading our family to fulfill their purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Family worship is a tool that men can use to point their families to the Lord and show them the greatness and supremacy of the Lord.
Below is a post that I did a few months ago that specifically speaks to family worship.
My friend Fred and I were talking the other day and he spoke of the way he wanted to be a better father and the way he desired a passion for biblical parenting to spread throughout his church. He said, "You know, in seminary, when they talked about 'family ministry' I didn't have kids yet, so it didn't mean much to me." Now Fred has two young children and a third on the way. It is amazing how God uses our life circumstances to give us the same passions that he has. Fred is a humble guy, who desires to lead his family in loving the Lord. One of the ways he is seeking to do this is through "family worship" times.
Family worship is the idea of a dad leading his family in daily or weekly concentrated focus on the Lord. It often includes singing, prayer, and Scripture reading. I had never heard of it until a few years ago, but it is a concept that has been rolling for years. I've enjoyed seeing the grace that God has poured out on my own family through doing this and I know He desires to pour that same grace on other families. Here are some great quotes to tell you more about family worship and the role of parents in leading their children spiritually. They stir my spirit to make me want to be a better dad.
-John Newton (1725-1807) "I think, with you, that it is very expedient and proper that reading a portion of the word of God should be ordinarily a part of our family worship; so likewise to sing a hymn or psalm, or part of one, at discretion; provided there are some people in the family who have enough of a musical ear and voice to conduct the singing in a tolerable manner: otherwise, perhaps, it may be better omitted… If you read and sing, as well as pray, care should be taken that the combined services do not run into an inconvenient length."
-Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) "Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual. If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be likely to prosper and be successful."
-Richard Baxter (1615-1691) "We must have a special eye upon families, to see that they are well ordered. The welfare and glory of both the Church and the State, depend much on family government and duty. If we suffer the neglect of this, we shall undo all. Therefore, if you desire reformation, do all you can to promote family religion."
-Matthew Henry (1662-1714) "Masters of families, who preside in the other affairs of the house, must go before their households in the things of God. They must be as prophets, priests, and kings in their own families; and as such they must keep up family-doctrine, family-worship, and family-discipline: then is there a church in the house, and this is the family religion I am persuading you to… You must read the scriptures to your families, in a solemn manner, requiring their attendance on your reading, and their attention to it: and inquiring sometimes whether they understand what you read."
-John Knox (1510-1572) "Brethren, you are ordained of God to rule your own houses in his true fear, and according to his word. Within your houses, I say, in some cases, you are bishops and kings; your wife, children, servants, and family are your bishopric and charge… Of you it shall be required how carefully and diligently you have instructed them in God's true knowledge, how you have studied to plant virtue in them, and [to] repress vice. And therefore I say, you must make them partakers in reading, exhorting, and in making common prayers, which I would in every house were used once a day at least."
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) "First, let us begin by emphatically declaring it is parents (fathers in particular) and not the church who are given the primary responsibility for calling the next generation to hope in God. The church serves a supplementary role, reinforcing the biblical nurture that is occurring in the home…"