Bringing Back Family Worship

Recent studies have found that the single biggest indicator of whether a child raised in church will turn out to be a committed Christian adult is what the parents (or guardians) do at home.  Is prayer, Bible-reading, and talking about our faith (what Methodists call "holy conferencing") part of the family life along with regular church attendance?

For Methodists, we can look to the example set by Samuel and (especially) Susanna Wesley in how they raised their children (including John and Charles Wesley) for inspiration: in addition to family prayers and Sunday Worship led by Samuel (who was an Anglican priest), Susanna spent an hour with each of her children each week to discuss the state of their souls and their relationship with Christ.

Theologians have called the family that embraces these sorts of spiritual practices a "domestic church."  Unfortunately this discipline (like the small-group accountability and the rule of life that combined to give the early Methodists their "method" and their vitality) was let slide and replaced with a more institutional church in which it was assumed that the "professionals" (i.e. the clergy, church staff, Sunday School teachers, youth ministers, etc.) rather than the parents have primary responsibility for raising children in the ways of Christ.  The results of this shift are obvious: ever declining commitment to Christ and his body among young adults and teens over the last 3 generations.

Certainly our new cultural situation requires that the Christian church become a community of pilgrim missionaries, rather than a complacent civil religion.
Our new situation also requires that we recover this vital discipline of family devotion, or "the domestic church."  HERE is an article from The United Methodist Church with 8 different suggestions of how you might do this.

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