Spring Run Presbyterian Church

Guest: Amy Jacks, Is Sunday Morning Enough?

As Christian parents, we desire for our children to grow spiritually and to develop a love for Jesus that surpasses all other desires.  Our church – Spring Run – also desires for the children to mature in biblical understanding and ultimately have a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  I have had the privilege of teaching Sunday School, Children’s Worship, and a Children’s Worship Transition class for children coming out of Children’s Worship.  I often get questions from parents asking, “Is Sunday morning enough for us or our children?”  “Why do our children resist going to church, are wiggly once they get there, or apathetic to what the pastors and Sunday School teachers have to say?”

Let me first say, I’m not pretending to have all the answers.  Instead, I’d like to share how our family has addressed these issues by looking to God’s teaching and applying it to our family.  Thankfully, He’s given us a wonderful instruction manual (the Bible)!

Let’s look at Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 (a small portion of scripture with a big command).

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

From this passage of scripture and others in the Bible, our family has concluded that Sunday morning is not enough for us or our children.  As parents, it our responsibility to guide our children to seek the truth, and our church family supports us in this effort.  Do I have to be a Bible scholar to impart God’s word to my children?  Thankfully not!  Instead, He asks us to be faithful in obeying his commands – to “talk about him when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down, and when we get up.”  It’s been a gradual, but intentional change for Brian and me as the Holy Spirit keeps pointing us towards taking on the responsibility of shepherding our children.

So if we, the parents, are primary in teaching our children the ways of God as Christ has directed, how do we go about teaching them?  For our family, family worship (or family devotions), has been an integral part of our time together at home.  Psalm 78:1-7 talks about intentionally passing on God’s word to continue through the generations.

Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments.

We believe family worship is something beautiful designed by God!  It allows us to…

  1. Honor God by obeying His commands (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
  2. Equip our children to grow spiritually (Ephesians 6:1-4)
  3. Build healthy family relationships (Proverbs 4:1-4 provides a multi-generational picture of how teaching children impacts families even beyond the grave.)
  4. Be more engaged at church because the words of God are familiar

So what does family worship look like?  Our family keeps evolving in our time together but the Holy Spirit is evident in these times and it is always a blessing.  From our studying, this is how we approach family worship.

What is a family worship time? It is an intentional time or times we consistently set aside to teach our children spiritual truths.
How long does family worship need to be? This can vary depending on the ages of children, possibly starting with 5 minutes and building up.  We have found this training time helps increase attention spans in church, too.

When do we have family worship? Each family is different and must find the time that works best for them.  Because scripture talks about teaching all the time, we try to have a variety of times where we gather to focus on Him.  You can have family worship in the mornings, evenings, meal times, or while traveling.

What do you use for family devotions? We try to incorporate these key components:  music/singing, scripture, memorization, catechism, and prayer.  There are many resources available for families.  Listed below are some our family has used.  The children also enjoy when we read missionary stories or stories that emphasize God’s character.  And if we skip a day, we just pick up where we left off!

As it’s been my prayer for my own children, it is my prayer for the children of Spring Run that they will delight in worship and love Jesus with all their heart.  This is not an easy task ahead of us!  My own heart attitude towards worship is not always pretty and my own desires often take over instead of bringing my focus on the One who should be worshipped.  Thankfully, we have a grace-filled, faithful God who loves us and has given us His Word to better know Him.  Regular times of family worship have given me a greater sense of how to give of myself in worship on Sunday morning and during the week.  And it has equipped me in my discipleship of my children as God has given me the privilege to do.  What a blessing to be a part of God’s multi-generational plan of living out the gospel!

Resources we have used:

The Bible (NIV, ESV, or other versions):

  • Proverbs has 31 chapters.  We read the chapter that corresponds with the day.
  • The Gospels
  • Genesis
  • Daniel – our children really enjoyed reading through this book
  • Discussing the sermon text from Sunday morning

Bible storybooks and devotional materials:

  • The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones. This is an excellent resource that shows how Jesus Christ plays a role even in the stories of the Old Testament rather than giving a moral end to the story as some children’s Bible books tend to do. Highly recommended for homes with younger children!
  • The Family Worship Book:  A Resource Book for Family Devotions by Terry L. Johnson
  • Sunday School “take home” papers are an excellent resource as a springboard for family worship.
  • Audio Bible – great for rest or nap time (in addition to family worship)
  • Audio stories – Jonathan Park series (in addition to family worship)
  • Bible videos – NEST Video Productions (in addition to family worship)
  • Stories about missionaries
  • Seasonal materials – Various Advent and Lent devotionals

Music

  • Hymns for a Kid’s Heart by Bobbie Wolgemuth and Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Praise songs from church  – ask a worship member for a copy of songs sung each Sunday

Memorization

  • Sunday School memory verses
  • My ABC Bible Verses:  Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt
  • Hide ‘Em in Your Heart:  Bible Memory Melodies (Audio CD) by Steve Green
  • The Family Worship Book:  A Resource Book for Family Devotions by Terry L. Johnson

Catechism

  • The First Catechism by Great Commission Press
  • Big Truths for Little Kids:  Teaching Your Children to Live for God by Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt
  • The Family Worship Book:  A Resource Book for Family Devotions by Terry L. Johnson

Prayer

  • Focus on different things to pray for according to days of the week (ex: Monday – family, Tuesday – neighbors, Wednesday – church, etc.)
  • Pray through church prayer chain
  • Pray for missionaries
  • Connect With SRPC

    6601 Woodlake Village Parkway
    Midlothian, VA 23112

    p: 804.412.8112
    e: office@springrunpc.org

  • Join Us Sunday Mornings:

    9:15AM Worship with Children's Worship
    11:00AM Worship or Sunday School

    Nursery is provided at both service times

    SRPC is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America