8 Tips for Developing an Impactful Family Worship Time

Today's Guest Blogger is Natasha Crain. Natasha is a married mom of three young children who is passionate about reversing the trend of 20-somethings leaving the Christian faith en masse. She writes about intentional Christian parenting at christianmomthoughts.com.

For the last two years, our family has had a nightly worship time together. When the idea first came to mind, I honestly wasn’t sure what family “worship” would look like or if it would even be possible with three very young children. But we took the plunge one day and never looked back! Our nightly time together has become a core part of our family life. Whether you’ve already started a worship time, or you’re just thinking about it, here are 8 tips that can make the experience much more impactful.

1) Create structure.

There is no “one way” worship needs to look. It’s important, however, to decide what your family’s worship time is going to consistently look like. Creating that structure means answering questions like: When in our day will we do this (for us it’s before bed)? How long should we expect it to last (for us, it’s usually 15 minutes)? What elements will we include (for us, it’s a Bible lesson, 3 songs, and group prayer)? Consistency is important for setting expectations.

2) Use variety within the structure.

Structure doesn’t need to be boring. For example, we always have Bible time in our worship, but we vary the Bible activities. We’ve acted out Bible stories, used coloring pages to compile Bible timelines, listened to relevant kids’ songs to help us internalize Bible passages, and so on. Variety keeps kids’ interest, which ultimately helps them better retain the message.

3) Set ground rules. (and make them reasonable for your kids' age)

When we started worship time, I envisioned my small children sitting like cherubs listening to the Word of God. As you can imagine, I soon found that was unrealistic. Finding a balance between respectful behavior and behavior that is possible for a child’s age is the key. As an example, we originally required the kids to remain seated during song time, but later loosened the rule to allow them to respectfully clap and dance while singing. It made a huge difference in maintaining their attention span.

4) Give special priority to questions that arise.

It doesn’t matter what we plan for a given night: if someone asks a relevant question about faith, God or the Bible, we thoroughly address it. You can never know exactly where your kids’ heads and hearts are. When they give you a peek inside through a verbalized question, it’s an incredible opportunity to teach and grow together. The other night my 4-year-old son simply asked why we can’t see God. We spent our remaining time together discussing it.

5) Always involve the Bible.

Bible literacy is at an all-time low, and according to various research studies, fewer than one in ten families read the Bible together each week. At the same time, uncertainty about the truth of the Bible is one of the major factors turning two-thirds of 20-somethings away from their (previously) Christian faith. It’s more important than ever to ground our kids in God’s Word.

6) Beware of auto-pilot.

Like anything else, family worship can become routine. Bible story? Check. Songs? Check. Prayer? Check. Good night! When your heart’s not in it, you can be certain your kids’ hearts won’t be. When you catch yourself just going through the motions, think of ways to bring variety to your time together. (see number 2)

7) Make sure everyone understands what they're singing.

I recently realized how difficult the words of most worship songs are for kids to understand – even songs written for kids! It’s nice to sing, but it’s not very impactful if you don’t know what you’re singing. Whenever you introduce a new song, walk through it line by line to make sure everyone knows what the words mean. This isn’t just relevant for small kids! Ask an older child what a word like “righteousness” means in a song and you’ll quickly see how much opportunity there is to facilitate discussion and understanding.

8) Foster a sense of holy time, but don't expect every worship time to feel holy.

We consistently remind our kids that we are singing to God and praying to God; that God is right there with us and that worship is directed to him. It is holy time. But, rest assured, that doesn’t mean every night feels holy. A child might refuse to pay attention, another child might need us to keep sitting him/her up during prayer, or all the children might be fighting over who gets to hold the Bible we’re reading (yes, the irony is lost on them)! It’s easy to get discouraged on those days. But we persevere in our calling to train up our kids in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) and are overwhelmingly blessed by seeing the clear impact on their spiritual development.

If you have a family worship time, what tips would you add? If you don’t yet do this, what is your biggest challenge in getting started?


Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. This is a wonderful post. I've been wanting to step up our family devotional time. We have small children also and I love all of your ideas. Thank you!

  2. We use several resources to keep variety. We work on Scripture memory, read a devotional or Proverb of the day, and enjoy stories of Christian heroes, like the HERO TALES series!