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The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions Hardcover – March 20, 2009
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"Terry Johnson has provided us a superb resource for family religion. Johnson provides a brief but compelling argument for the importance of family worship, but then takes those he has convinced in theory to the next step: actually putting it into practice! In a day and age when family worship is a rarity, and in which parents who are called to lead in it are not likely to have had personal experience of it in their own upbringing, Johnson's book will prove to be an invaluable aid. May the Lord use this book to bring about a revival of family worship in our land." (Ligon Duncan ~ Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary)
A great service to parents who desire to revive the practice of family worship. Johnson's book provides many practical resources and ideas for actually putting this into practice...an excellent resource for christian families. (Ray Van Neste ~ Director, R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee)
About the Author
Terry Johnson is the senior minister of the Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia.
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This book is a great resource for anyone wishing to start family worship or for anyone who is already leading but feels that there could be more to it. The book gives a good introduction to the what and why of family worship (which I, frankly, skimmed since I didn't need any convincing). The author then dives into the meat of the book; how to lead and what this time should consist of. The book includes several hymns and selections from the psalter (sans music, although it does give suggested tunes for all the songs). There are also several other resources including creeds and confession, suggested Bible reading timelines, the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, articles on prayer and many other great resources for leading worship. I have found this book to be truly indispensable as we have begun this endeavor.
Unfortunately, I haven't done a great job of this so far. The biggest reason? I didn't know how; or at least I thought I didn't know how. The reality, though, is that I just hadn't tried. The first step is the hardest.
That's why I'm so grateful for this book. While there is a short section at the beginning that outlines the Scriptural reasons why men should lead their families in worship -- and everything in this section is solid -- I didn't really need to be convinced of that. I already knew what I should be doing. (However, it's worth pointing out that Johnson is quite clear that our #1 responsibility is to have our families committed to and involved with the covenant community in a local church; a point much appreciated.)
The most helpful parts of the book are the practical considerations. How are we to structure family worship time? What is included? When during the day should we do it, and how often? Johnson lays out suggested elements of family worship time (singing, prayer, confession of faith, teaching, etc) as well as an outline for family worship. These chapters are especially useful for a guy like me, who has a lot of trouble moving from the theoretical to the practical; how to get beyond simply having a good idea and start putting it into practice. Perhaps one day I'll be confident and competent enough to come up with my own order of worship for my family, but in the meantime having an outline (which, thanks to the vast amount of resources in this book, is almost infinitely variable) will make it easy to take that first step, and to commit to regular, daily family worship for long enough that it becomes a permanent part of our family culture.
In addition to the "how to" chapters, the book also includes plenty of "what to" resources. Among these resources are a family reading record (which has a suggested reading schedule omitting a number of chapters that are "ill-suited to family worship due to their contents or repetition"); two catechisms (the Catechism for Young Children and the Westminster Shorter Catechism); 50 suggested passages for Bible memorization; several historical writings on family worship; and a family hymnbook/psalter containing 60 hymns and 60 psalms for singing together. The reading plan and the hymnbook/psalter both come with a ten year teaching schedule to help make sure that families are able to benefit from the full counsel of Scripture and a wide variety of songs for worship over the long-haul.
This is a book that is sure to find a prominent place on our family bookshelf for years to come.