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The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions Hardcover – March 20, 2009
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Do you struggle to provide enjoyable, meaningful and spiritual times of family devotions? Do you avoid the whole subject but have the nagging thought that you should be doing something?
Let Terry & Family Worship equip you for leading your family in worship with the help of some key questions: What is family worship? What have other people done? Why Should I do it? How can I start? A Valuable resource which you will not exhaust in years.
"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."-- J. Ligon Duncan, 1st Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS (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, Union University (Director, R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee)
About the Author
- Publisher : Christian Focus (March 20, 2009)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1857924010
- ISBN-13 : 978-1857924015
- Item Weight : 1.04 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.3 x 0.85 x 9.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #351,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
The Bible reading record seemed out of place. If anything, it should be a separate sheet, detachable from the book, and not in the middle of it. At the start, it is recommended to vary the readings, and not go straight from Genesis to Revelation in sequence, but the list itself is given that way with no suggested order.
I was happy to see the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and there's also the Catechism for Young Children provided. However, both of these are available in more convenient formats. The Bible memorization list wasn't a bad selection, but with 50 individual selections each with a unique topic, there wasn't any structure or organization that I could perceive to it.
The historical resources section (Watts' guide to prayer, Manton's address to the readers of the Westminster Standards, and the Westminster Directory for Family Worship) was a very good section, with parts that are excellent for people today to read. The recovery of the Westminster Directory for Family Worship is especially good.
The remainder of the book was Psalms and Hymns. However, only lyrics were provided, with a suggested tune name. No music was actually given. For those unfamiliar with how older metrical psalters worked, this is very off-putting, and confusing. Most of the tunes (if not all) are not copyrighted, and thus should be able to have been included. For what should be one of the more accessible parts of family worship, this makes it difficult to use without another resource that can either display or play the tune. For some of the Psalms, that is further difficult, as the tune is known only by an obscure name, and not a song/hymn which is sung to it. Since in the text it is explicitly stated that the tunes are to be found in the Trinity Hymnal and Trinity Psalter (music edition), one wonders why the lyrics are still included without the music, instead of just a list of preferred selections from those two works, or both the lyrics and music. Finally, the style of Psalter selections is unhelpful, as it is with older English style ("thee", and confusing word order). While there is nothing wrong per se with those arrangements, they are not helpful to the modern person seeking to learn Psalms and get into family worship, especially when either modernized metrical translations exist, or it is simple to modify the existing ones to make them modernized and more accessible.
It has problems, and if you have other resources already, is probably not worth getting. However, if you are looking to start family worship, it is a good place. If you're looking for a one-stop-shop without needing anything else, it's also a good collection. That said, I was disappointed by the overall structure of it, as it seems it could have been better organized, or had the first several sections + the directory prepended to a short Psalter-Hymnal, and copy of the Catechisms. It appeared more like a disjoint collection of various things, instead of a harmonized and ordered whole. It is however, the only resource of its kind, and a good starting place.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
With all the talk out there now about world-views that compete with the Christian world-view, its essential that Christian parents ground their family in the correct worldview, which is rooted in the truth about God. That truth begins with us (the creature) worshiping God (the Creator). Calvin and Luther understood that true reform begins with worship; that's why their first and greatest reforms were in the way the church worshipped God. We can do no better than follow the saints who have gone before us in faith.
If you are a Christian parent, this book can be your friendly guide to help you lead your family in the adoration of the living God.
Christian fathers: step up to the plate and be the family-leader God has called you to be. You are to train your children in the truth about God (Genesis 18.19; Deuteronomy 6.4-9; Psalm 78.1-6; Psalm 145.4) and that includes worshipping him with your family. By God's grace you can fulfill your calling. God is faithful to his covenant, so trust in what he is bringing about in your family. This resource can help you with the practical stuff, such as how to actually lead a home worship service.
I use this book with my family (my wife reads the prayers and the creeds -- our children who are 4, 3, and 2 listen with all ears because the stories are so thrilling and mysterious). After the service, we re-enact the Bible story, something the kids love to do. This helps the basic message of the story take root in their young hearts.
The whole family worship time lasts about half-an-hour and has knit our family more closely together. My children eagerly ask for devotions now. We do a semi-formal worship service in the morning (Call to Worship, Prayer of Approach, Creed, Hymns and Songs, Bible Story, Prayer [including adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication--but don't let the big words freak you out...it's all explained in this wonderful book], and doxology). And in the evening a more relaxed time of worship. We sing a song, continue our reading from the Children's Bible, and close with another song.
Sound complicated? It's not. The book provides examples of how to do all this; it is very user-friendly. It has literally revolutionized our family devotions. I use to find it so hard to know what to do for evening devotions. This book lays it out very clearly (but isn't rigid or uptight...there's room for experimentation). It's so good that it inspired my wife and me to begin our day in worship, too. This has meant restructuring our morning--but its worth it! Starting the day in worship with the whole family has been a blessing. The songs, prayers, creed, and Bible story lives on in our memories throughout the day.
By the way, the children's Bible we use is 'Bible Stories for our Little Ones' by W.G. Van De Hulst, published by Inheritance Publications. It is outstanding because it is written to be read aloud. Our kids are able to grasp the key points of the story when we ask them age-appropriate questions. We trust and pray that God blesses our efforts by way of his mercy and lovingkindness.