“We get so engrossed in discussions during the Family Worship evening that it often goes on till late at night if I don’t stop my family,” says a father in Brazil. A family head in Japan says that his ten-year-old son does not seem to notice the time and wants to continue. Why? “He is motivated, and that contributes to his joy,” observes the father.
Of course, not all children are so motivated, and frankly, some may not enjoy family worship. But why not? A father in Togo shared this insight, “The worship of Jehovah should not be boring.” If it is, could it be a reflection of how the family worship is being conducted? Many families have found that family worship can be, as Isaiah said of the Sabbath, “an exquisite delight.”
Christian fathers realize that if their family is to find joy in family worship, a relaxed atmosphere should prevail. Ralf, who has three daughters and one son, says that their family worship is more like an informal conversation than a study; everyone is involved. Granted, keeping everyone interested and immersed in the material may at times be a challenge. One mother admits: “I do not always have the energy to make family worship as enjoyable as I would like it to be.” Can you meet that challenge?
FLEXIBILITY AND VARIETY
“We have to be flexible,” says a father of two in Germany. “The most important thing for our family,” says Natalia, a mother of two “is variety, variety, variety.” Many families divide their family worship into several parts. “That makes the study more dynamic and gets all in the family involved,” explains Cleiton, the father of two teenagers in Brazil. By dividing the study time, parents can give attention to the needs of each child if there is a considerable age difference. The parents can address the needs of each family member and can be flexible in choosing both the material and the format.
What are some families doing to enhance the variety? Some start their family worship by singing songs to Jehovah. “It creates a good atmosphere and mentally prepares us for the material at hand,” says Juan in Mexico. His family picks songs that are related to some of the material selected for the evening.
A number of families read a section of the Bible together. For the sake of variety, different family members read the parts of various individuals mentioned in a Bible portion. A father in Japan admits that for him it was “a bit unusual to read that way at first.” But his two boys were happy to see their parents enjoying something with them. Some families even act out Bible stories. Children “often see things in a Bible account that we as parents have missed,” says Roger, a father of two sons in South Africa.
Another way to create variety is to work together on a project, such as building a model of Noah’s ark or of Solomon’s temple. Such projects call for research that can be exciting. For example, in the living room of a family in Asia was a five-year-old girl with her parents and grandmother. They were making a board game based on the apostle Paul’s missionary tours. Other families have made board games based on accounts found in the book of Exodus. Variety “brought new life to our family worship and into our family itself,” says 19-year-old Donald in Togo. Can you think of a project that will make your family worship even more enjoyable?
Although variety and flexibility make the family worship interesting, to make it really instructive, all need to prepare. Sometimes young ones get tired, so fathers need to put forethought into the material chosen and take time to prepare well. One father says, “When I am prepared, everyone has a more meaningful study session.” A father in Germany informs his family in advance what they will consider in the weeks to come. When scheduling a Bible-based DVD as part of their family worship, a father of six preteen children in Benin provides questions ahead of time. Indeed, preparation does make a difference in the quality of our family worship.
When the family know ahead of time what will be considered, they can talk about it during the week, thus building their enthusiasm. And if each one has an assignment, each one will feel that it is his or her family worship.
STRIVE FOR REGULARITY
Not a few families face the challenge of having their family worship regularly.
Many fathers have to work long hours just to make ends meet. For instance, one father in Mexico leaves home at six o’clock in the morning and does not return until eight o’clock in the evening. Furthermore, there may on occasion be a need to adjust the Family Worship period because of another spiritual event.
Still, we need to be resolute about having family worship regularly. Eleven-year-old Loïs in Togo says this about her family’s determination: “Even though we sometimes have to start our family worship late because of something that has come up during the day, we always have our family worship.” You can understand why some families schedule their family worship earlier in the week. If something unexpected occurs, they can reschedule family worship for later that week.
As the very designation “family worship” indicates, it is part of your worship to Jehovah. Let all members of your family bring to Jehovah ‘the young bulls of their lips’ every week. (Hos. 14:2, ftn.) And may that be a joyful time for each one in the family, “for the joy of Jehovah is your stronghold.”