With vacations, trips and family events filling our summer calendars, church attendance during this time of year can be a challenge. But just because you are away or unable to attend church, you can still enjoy worshipping and learning together as a family. God can be worshipped anywhere from a log cabin in the mountains to the sandy shores of a mighty ocean.
In a previous article we outlined some ideas for creating a home church service with a sermon that focused on the book of Ruth. This article will use some of that same structure with a message that addresses the mystery of faith. I encourage you to use your creativity to make a meaningful family worship service that ministers to your unique family.
1) Worship through Music. Most churches start off their worship time with music. This is because music has a way of touching our souls and awakening and softening our hearts for the Lord. If you have a hymnal, you can look up hymns of faith and sing a few lines or even check out this website that has audio files of some familiar hymns of faith. Or maybe you have some favorite songs that focus on faith recorded on your phone or iPod.
2) Reading of God’s Word. Tell your children that you are going to be looking at two stories of men from the Bible and what they teach us about the meaning of faith. Have your children who can read take turns reading the following passages:
* The story of Naaman: 2 Kings 5; Luke 4:27
* The story of the Centurion: Luke 7:1-10
- What is faith? (One of the clearest definitions comes from Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” You can break this down further and discuss or look up in a dictionary the meaning of the words “hope” and “assurance”.)
- What do you notice about the faith of these two men?
You can then have your children participate in this familiar activity: Pull out a chair (it might even be a beach chair!) and instruct them to sit in it. They will likely sit without hesitation. Then ask the following questions:
- How did you know the chair would hold you?
- What gives you confidence in the chair?
- What if you believed that the chair would hold you, but wouldn’t sit in it? What would that say about how strongly you believed in the safety of the chair?
Then ask about the men in the story:
- How did the Centurion show his faith in Jesus?
- What prevented Naaman from exhibiting immediate faith? (pride, difficulty submitting, etc.)
- What was the outcome of their demonstration of faith? (healing)
- What is similar about both stories? Different?
- Did the Centurion have more or less faith than Naaman? Why do you think that?
- How do we show that we have faith? (by our actions – like when we sit in a chair) Read James 2:26.
If your children have questions about faith that you can’t answer during this study, don’t worry about it. It is okay to not have all the answers. This is a complex issue. You can explain to them that the faith we have in God comes from God Himself – as a free gift. And as with all free gifts, we treasure it, take care of it and offer thanks the One who gave it.
4) Prayer Time. One of the best spiritual disciplines you can teach your children is the practice of prayer. Not some rote, scripted prayer, but a real conversation with the Creator of the world. Sometimes kids don’t know what to pray for so they pray for whatever pops into their minds. Teach your children that prayer can be reflective as well. After a time of learning or reading from the Bible (such as this), encourage your children to think about what lesson God showed them and ask them how they can thank God for that message and ask Him to make it more real to them through prayer.
A family worship service can be as simple or complex as you like. One of the best places to get ideas for topics for the teaching portion of the service is from your own devotional time. If God gives you a question to ponder during your reading, investigate, take notes and consider sharing what you learned with your family. Remember, a sermon is nothing more than “one blind man showing another blind man where to get food.”
[Photo credit: Cross on Beach by Jonathan Morgan from flickr.com]