Here is an interesting and welcomed news item from the Southern Baptist Convention last week. Each year they debate and pass a slate of resolutions. This is basically a chance for the SBC to take a position about various issues. Usually these are cultural or political positions that more or less preach to the choir. My church financially supports the SBC, but we stay distant from some of their not-about-Jesus positions.
This year I was really pleased to see them adopt a resolution about the value of families having devotions in the home. I’ve included the full text of the resolution below, but I wanted to note a few items.
I like the definition they offer of family worship. It is the “regular meeting together of a family for a time of prayer and Bible reading, which may include other activities such as . . . ” This gives a simple framework for parents to get started. The statement also recommends informal times of approaching God.
I also like the specific call for fathers to fulfill their biblical duties. The wording of the statement is careful not minimalism mothers (who frequently are the real spiritual champions) but to challenge dads to obey God’s Word.
While I’m encouraged, we all know this statement is mainly a symbolic victory for family ministry. It makes a strong case for the importance of family worship, but it is a very modest starting point. It’s more of a directional sign pointing to a potential starting point.
Here is the real question for people who want kids to love Jesus – how can we make this happen for the regular families in our community. I would love to hear your ideas about that in the comment section.
I think this statement can be part of a renewed vision for family worship. The real work will also take resources for training parents, and materials for families to use in the process. For now I am happy and hopeful that the SBC might continue to move in the right direction.
For more information on this topic, browse our practical resources for family worship. You will find printable materials and a video training series I created to teach families how to have devotions in their home.
2010 Southern Baptist Resolution on Family Worship
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches the spiritual discipline of family worship for the glory of God, the strengthening of the church, and the spiritual nourishment of the family (Deuteronomy 6:1-18; Psalm 78:1-8; Ephesians 4-6); and
WHEREAS, Scripture pictures the Christian home as a place in which parents are instructed to teach and disciple their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:1-18; Ephesians 6:1-4); and
WHEREAS, Family worship has been a cherished Southern Baptist principle reflected in church covenants which have called believers “to maintain family and secret devotions” and “to religiously educate” their children; and
WHEREAS, In recent years, family worship has been emphasized in The Baptist Faith and Message, which states that “Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth”; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have launched major initiatives which have brought to the forefront the need for families to pray, read from the Bible, memorize scripture, and give praise to the Lord within their homes; and
WHEREAS, In 2009, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention included family worship as a key catalyst for a Great Commission resurgence calling on Southern Baptists “to build gospel-saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and as our first and primary mission field”; and
WHEREAS, Family worship is integral to laying a foundation for multi-generational faithfulness to the gospel (Psalm 145:4) and a necessary complement for the strengthening of the local church to fulfill its commission (Matthew 28:18-20); and
WHEREAS, Family worship serves as an important preparation for the corporate worship of the local church on the Lord’s Day (Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:25); and
WHEREAS, In recent generations, the act of family worship has been neglected, evidenced by the breakdown of the family in our time; and
WHEREAS, The embracing of the spiritual discipline of family worship in the Christian home has the capacity to nurture stronger families, a stronger church, and a stronger nation; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 15-16, 2010, encourage churches and families to rekindle the spiritual discipline of family worship; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we define family worship as the regular meeting together of a family for a time of prayer and Bible reading, which may include other activities such as scripture memorization, singing spiritual songs and hymns, and discussing biblical truth and Christian mission; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage families to cultivate not only structured times of worship together, but also ongoing intentional and informal conversations about the things of the Lord; and be it further
RESOLVED, That as we call families and churches to embrace family worship, we urge fathers particularly to fulfill their divinely mandated responsibility to lead their families toward spiritual maturity (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:19-21); and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage all parents to consider times of family worship to be an opportunity to introduce their children to the gospel, to train their children to seek the salvation of their friends and neighbors, and to pray for the nations; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage churches and families to make use of the many resources produced to aid in family worship; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and their pastors to promote family worship and encourage the families of their congregations to place the highest priority on embracing this foundational spiritual discipline for the well-being of families, the spread of the gospel, the making of disciples, and the glory of God.