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Pointers for Family Worship

Family worship is meant to be different from other times of worship, just as family meals are not the same as children’s parties or adult dinner parties! Children’s parties are geared completely for children, and the adults involved adjust their behaviour accordingly to fit in with the party. Adult dinner parties are geared for adults who have been invited. Children are not normally included, but if they are present they are expected to fit in with the needs of the occasion. Family meals, however, are for everyone – from the youngest to the oldest – and should be relaxed, enjoyable and satisfying for them all. When arranging a family worship time or a family service, we are aiming for the ‘family meal’ type of experience. (There are other times of worship when the ‘children’s party’ or ‘adult dinner party’ are the appropriate style to follow.)

Here are some of the features for family meals which apply equally well to times of family worship.

1 Organisation

  • Family meals are arranged at times when everyone can be present.
  • The organiser of the meal knows the various needs of the different members of the family.
  • The aim is for a meal that the whole family can enjoy.

2 Preparation

  • A number of people can be involved in planning the menu.
  • Children as well as adults can help to prepare some parts of the meal.
  • Somebody makes sure that all the necessary ingredients are there in time.

3 Setting up

  • At the meal table there is an equal place for everyone.
  • The best seating arrangement is considered (e.g. very young children are placed next to a parent).
  • An attempt is made to keep the time clear of other business which could be dealt with at another time.

4 Menu

  • The main course is something which nearly everyone will like, with a variety of other dishes that will appeal specifically to different members of the family.
  • Special provision is made for babies, and anyone else for whom the main course is not suitable.
  • A surprise or two is especially appreciated, particularly by the children!

5 Conversation

  • The emphasis is on interaction between the ages – no one group should dominate the time.
  • Family meals are good times to ‘catch up’ with one another and build relationships.
  • The range of conversation can be very wide – from laughing and joking, to serious issues that need to be discussed.

6 Attitude

  • Discipline needs to be enough to keep order without imposing unnecessary burdens.
  • Openness – the contribution of each member should be valued, honoured and listened to.
  • Flexibility – anything can happen when a family gets together, so there should be room for a great variety of things, including the unplanned, to happen.

 

A family meal that has gone well and has been appreciated by everyone present is a great joy to mum and dad. In the same way, applying these guidelines to our times of family worship should result in a family who are blessed, and a Father who is delighted with his children.

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