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Paul Carter on Family Worship

Editors’ note: 

In an attempt to embody this practical emphasis, I’ve compiled a series of brief interviews with a handful of men. I hope these interviews will provide a helpful overview of what family worship looks life in their families and an example for those seeking to engage their family in worship. This series aims not to provide you with the why of family worship, but the how in order to encourage you to start, or persevere, in leading your own family. We hope that you will glean some ideas that you can transfer to your own family context, and that it will ultimately help your family behold and worship Christ all the days of their lives. — Chance Faulkner

Paul has been married to Shauna Lee for 22 years and together they have 5 children ages ranging from 7–21. He is the lead Pastor of First Baptist Church, Orillia and host of Into the Word podcast.

When did you start doing family worship?

We’ve always done a form of family worship but began to be far more intentional and structured in our approach about 12 years ago.

What does family worship look like in your home?

We aim to practice family worship four or five times a week after dinner time. There are two nights a week when our schedules don’t allow for it (The girls have dance on one and there is soccer on another). On the nights where our schedules don’t allow our whole family worship routine, we will usually sing a song and pray.

Read. We generally just read through books of the Bible. We just finished Exodus and before that did Genesis. We read a chapter and I try and explain it and point out applications. I ask a lot of questions, the kids take turns reading, working through the chapter in 5 verse segments.

Sing and Pray. After reading Scripture and discussion we sometimes sing a song, and then we pray around the table for people in our church or neighbourhood or family. Everyone prays. We go around the circle and then we say the Lord’s Prayer at the end.

Catechisms. I also wrote a mini-catechism for our church called Family Foundations. We take the kids through that as well and ask a few questions and give out M&M’s for correct answers.

All of this (Read, sing, pray, and catechisms) usually lasts anywhere from 20–25 minutes.

Advice for families starting out

Don’t over complicate it. When we first started I made handouts and word searches and it was so labour intensive that we could only pull it off once a week.

I recommend that you just read, sing and pray. Many parents are worried that they don’t know enough. The solution to that is to study a little deeper and then simply share what you are learning in an age appropriate way.

One of the reasons we created the Into The Word podcast was to help dads prepare for family devotions. Listen to a chapter of the Bible read and explained while you drive home from work and then share what you’ve learned with your family after supper. Then sing a song and spend some time in prayer. It can be that simple.

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