Read the Bible Together
Families should try to read the Bible together, especially when children are smaller. It’s a good habit to maintain throughout your life.
Schedule a time each night to read a little bit of the Bible together aloud. Take turns reading a certain number of verses. The length of the reading or time isn’t so important, but make sure you’re reading with a purpose in mind. In other words, have some method or plan that you follow. The simplest method is to simply start with the book of Matthew and begin reading.
As your children grow older the readings may take longer because they’ll have questions. You’re going to want to know the answers or at the very least, you’ll want to be able to find the answers in God’s Word.
When children are very small, tell them Bible stories. The Bible is full of wonderful stories that teach your children valuable lessons. Tell them about Moses, Noah, Abraham and Jesus. Teach them about the characters of the Bible. Use the Bible to teach them lessons about how they should behave.
Don’t let anything get in the way of your nightly reading. Make it a priority.
Children should hear their parents pray and parents need to hear their children pray. Of course, God matters most in our prayers, but there’s something powerful about hearing the members of your family pray aloud. Parents, it will teach your children how to pray. It will also teach them that prayer is an important part of your life.
Feel free to let your children hear your prayers about them. Pray about those things you face as a family. Be open and honest with your kids as they see you place burdens on the Lord through prayer. You don’t have to share every financial woe or every trouble you’ve got as a family, but it’s important to let your children know that you lean on the Lord to help you in life. Teach them that the Lord is bigger than any problems you may face as a family.
Attend Church Regularly Together
Show your children, and God, that worship is a priority in your life. Demonstrate that rest, work or play matter more and you’ll reap the reward of that priority. Demonstrate that God comes first as the Word commands and you’ll reap a far better spiritual reward.
Let your family see that public worship is what you do as a family – unless you are physically hindered from attending. If you slip and decide that you don’t feel like attending, ask yourself if God will excuse your absence. If you think the answer might be “no,” then go to Church anyway. Staying away from the services for every sniffle and every pain isn’t the way to show God that worship to Him is important. We all have aches and pains. Do everything humanly possible to attend the public worship services and make it a goal to put the Church first in your family’s life.
Worship in Spirit and in Truth When You Do Worship
Parents of small children are notorious for wanting to sit at the rear of the auditorium because they don’t want to disrupt the services. The way to make sure your children don’t disrupt the services is to properly discipline your children. Make them behave in the public worship and sit wherever you’d like.
Don’t bring the toy box with you to church when you have small children. Worship isn’t play time. Your children need to learn that. Teach them to be still and quiet. Give them their own place to sit and make them sit there. Naturally, small children may need something to occupy them, but limit that to one or two Bible story books. Because children are visually stimulated you may want a Bible picture book. There’s nothing wrong with using these to occupy your children during worship, especially when they are very small. However, bring too many books and you’ll just be provoking your kids to see the worship as “play time” instead of worship time.
Don’t bring food to the worship services with toddlers. Bottles for infants is not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about small children, not infants. The worship service doesn’t need to be considered a place where we play and snack. It’s a time to sit still, pay attention (as much as children are able) and be quiet.
Don’t pass the child around like a football during worship services. The first time a child gets fussy he might get passed to someone else. That works for awhile, but when he gets fussy again – new arms are sought. Don’t do it. Give your child his spot, his own seat. Make him sit there and behave. Much could be said about how this can be accomplished, but suffice to say – train your children at home to sit still and behave from time to time. After all, when you go out in public you don’t want your child to create chaos. Train your child at home and when you arrive at the public worship – they’ll be better prepared to behave in worship.
Don’t play with your children in Church. This is a major problem with some first time parents, especially when their child is an infant. What starts out as innocent behavior may be difficult to stop, however, when the infant is a toddler (and they become even more fun to play with). Resist the temptation to play with your kids in the public worship.
Focus on the worship. Listen. Follow along with the speaker by using your Bible. Take notes if you’d like. Do the things necessary to remain focused on the service so your worship can be acceptable to God. Show your family how they ought to behave during worship.
Just a note here about the contribution. There is nothing wrong with teaching a child that on the Lord’s Day we lay by in store as God has prospered us. One minor suggestion, give the child a dollar bill to put into the basket. Coins get dropped and create commotion. Fold up a dollar bill and teach your child to NOT play with it or open it up and wave it around. Teach them to put it into the basket at the appropriate time.
Discuss the items of worship with your kids when you are at home. Make sure they know why we worship as we do. It’s important for them to understand God’s pattern for public worship.
NOTE: In public worship we all must be aware of our impact and influence on others. We all want to respect each other and help each other worship correctly. However, there are two critical times when many public assemblies let down their guard and fail to help the other members. One of those times is in the final moments of the communion service. Paul told the Corinthians to “tarry ye one for another.” The communion service is not concluded until the last person has partaken of the cup. It’s inappropriate to be fishing around for your contribution when there are others in the congregation who have yet to partake of the cup. Be still and wait. You’ll know when the communion service is over. You’ll have time to prepare for the contribution.
Another time when some audiences disrupt a service is at the close of a sermon. Be mindful that the invitation of the gospel is a time when some may need to give serious consideration to obeying. Don’t spoil the moment with commotion. We’re not saying it’s wrong to pick up your songbook, but we are saying that the invitation is an important part of the service. It’s an opportunity for people to make themselves right with God. Your disruption might just disrupt the focus of someone who is giving serious consideration to a public response to the gospel. Consider your actions and how they might affect others. Perhaps you are not in need of the invitation, but that may not be the case with someone sitting near you.
Put God First In All Your Life Decisions
Job changes, moves and all other important life decisions should seek God first. Make sure your family sees that God matters most in these decisions. Do what is best for your family SPIRITUALLY. Don’t put your bank account or anything else before God. Your kids will see that.
Let your children know that you consider God in all your decisions. As you teach your children to obey YOU, let them see that there is a higher authority than mom and dad. It’s GOD. Teach your children to submit to God’s authority at an early age.
Make God and Church an integral part of your daily life. God’s plan will determine where you allow your kids to go, who you allow them to go with, and what you allow them to do. Teach them that as children of God we don’t do what everyone else in the world does. Teach them at an early age that they are different. They might as well learn it early so they can get accustomed to it.
Don’t follow the world. Teach your family that sometimes the world will view them as “different.” Teach them that it’s okay, in fact – it’s necessary. Teach them what it means to be sanctified or set apart for God’s service.