Thank you to everyone who was involved in making VBS 2018 a great success! Instead of VBS being a “Children’s Ministry Event,” we believe that it is a church-wide, community-wide event for kids. 368 kids participated and over 155 volunteers made it happen. We are thankful for the wider Church body coming together in this special event.
Furthermore, 87 children were selected by local families to receive sponsorship! How amazing is that!? And 2274 people went through the Compassion Experience. God was up to a lot of good things this last week at Calvary!
Now, to the topic of the day at Feast.
Over the last several months, the Family Ministry Team has been working on clarifying our goals and the vision God has for us as we lead the families of Calvary. We’d like to start sharing part of that vision with you today.
One piece we are developing is what we call “Family-Together Habits.” These are behaviors families can practice to strive for greater intimacy with Jesus. While personal, spiritual disciplines are often discussed and often written about, family-together habits are rarely discussed.
We’d like to begin a five-installment discussion about these habits to flesh them out a bit. The five key habits are:
Today we will focus on gospel-centered worship. The expression of this habit really has two main expressions: corporate worship and worship at home.
Corporate worship is the people of God coming together to bring an offering of praise to the King. Together is the key. The community of God’s people cannot adequately love and serve one another without regularly meeting together. Hebrews 10:24-25 is a key verse here: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Now, let’s be careful not to make this overly legalistic or pragmatic. Jesus is not taking weekly attendance at church, and mere attendance is not the point. This isn’t about shaming people into “going to church more.” But there is a reality of necessity to be together in order to “stir up one another to love and good deeds.” We can’t stir someone whom we never see. YOU can’t be stirred if you never connect. You can’t offer or receive encouragement if you aren’t with God’s people. We need each other.
Furthermore, wouldn’t you agree that God, who gives us every breath in our lungs and sustains our very being, who died for our sins and offered us eternity with Him as our eternal reward, deserves to be prioritized in our schedules? The meeting of God’s people together, under formal leadership, shared teaching, and shared community (among other things), is an incredibly important part of the life of a follower of Jesus, and is an essential part of growing closer to God’s purpose for our lives.
WORSHIP AT HOME
The second major expression is worship at home. There is less understood about this idea than corporate worship because more of us grew up attending worship services in a church building than in our own living rooms. And this makes sense culturally. I don’t fix my own car, cut my own hair, pour my own concrete, or drill out my own cavities. We have experts for that. They have studied it and understand it “better than me.” And that’s how so many parts of our culture work. So it’s no surprise that we utilize religious experts to lead us in worship. They know how to do this better than me, right?
Sure, ministry professionals are, hopefully, good at their roles of ushering people into the presence of God in worship, discipleship, service, and the like. However, home worship is not about expertise, it’s about responsibility. My kids are, first and foremost, my responsibility. I need to teach them well how to know, love, follow, and serve Jesus. Will they? I don’t know, and it’s not up to me; that is Holy Spirit work and I pray for it almost daily.
What does worship at home mean? It includes several disciplines that families can do together: prayer, devotionals, bible reading, and singing praise to God. [Yes, singing. In your house. With your family. I believe in you.]
Conclusion + Action
There is a lot more to say about these two things – we have just barely scratched the surface – but our action step is clear: We need to worship 1) corporately, and 2) with our families at home. And let me encourage you – it is never, ever too late to start this! You may get push back from older kids, but it’s still not too late.
Worship with a community of Jesus followers. Worship with your family at home. Simple ideas, difficult to execute in the busyness and demands of our lives.
May God lead and guide you in your pursuit of sustainable rhythms for both. May God guide you as you consider your goals around each – deciding, perhaps, that these expressions of worship may need to take precedent over other things that feel like they are important.
If you would like more guidance on what worship at home looks like, please consider the work of Donald Whitney. He has a fabulous, short book on the topic, (https://www.amazon.com/Family-Worship-Bible-History-Your/dp/1633895351) and a series of videos teaching on family worship. (Search “Donald Whitney Family Worship” on youtube – the Crossway-produced videos are particularly good.)
See you at church! (See what I did there?)
Until the next Feast,
PS – Some Calvary families (and their friends) will be attending a Honkers game on Wednesday, June 27. The game begins at noon – arrive by 11 to get the best tickets. It’s a “buy your own ticket” situation. Any and all ages and stages are invited to join us! You can learn more about what to expect at the park by going on the Honkers’ website.