How to Worship as a Family Without Losing Your Mind
There is a sound that is released from our living room on a weekly basis. It’s a cacophony of chaos. Loud voices singing off key, loud instruments being played off beat, running and dancing, laughing and crying. It may sound like madness on earth, but it sounds like a symphony of pleasure in Heaven. It’s a sound that only our family can make, a sound that breaks the yoke of oppression.
Worship is powerful. It is our privilege.
Praise changes the spiritual atmosphere as well as the way we think and process. It helps us to renew our minds and step into the truth that nothing is impossible for our God.
Worship is a weapon.
So, how do we lead our children into this privileged reality? I mean, without losing our mind?
Every family is different, and every family worship time will look different. That’s not just okay; It’s beautiful.
Here are some tips that you may want to try:
1. Allow your children to choose the songs.
Sometimes parents struggle to get their children to engage because the parents are the ones that call all the shots. The parents choose the songs and the order and the children are just expected to go along with their agenda. Instead, allow your children to choose what songs you sing together during this time. They may have difference preferences than you. Their favorite worship songs may not be on your top ten list. Let them choose anyway.
2. Add motions- or better yet, follow theirs!
Especially if you have younger children, motions are marvelous! You don’t have to watch and copy a choreographed dance. Just make up some simple motions to the songs as you go along. If your children like creating motions to these songs, allow them to do so and then follow their lead. An older child can make up motions for the whole family to follow if they want to.
3. Instruments are a blast!
Investing in a few quality child instruments can bring your family worship time to a whole other level. A ukulele or guitar, a bongo drum, and/or a tambourine can help your children to engage during this time. Drop any idealistic visions of The Partridge Family like a hot rock. Unless you are musically gifted and your children naturally inherited your musical genes, it ain’t gonna pretty, folks. And that’s okay! Allowing children to make a joyful noise that delights the heart of God is worth the mess. If you are gifted at musical training, go ahead and teach your children how to sing and play. Just don’t use worship time as a training session. Save the tips for another time so that your children feel the freedom to be imperfect in their technique as they endeavor to enter in to praise. The heart is what the Lord is after.
4. Scarves, Flags, and Banners
Scarves, flags, and banners are excellent tools for worship expression. You can buy “music and movement” scarves that are safer for young children and easier for them to handle. (Just be careful not to leave them on a hardwood floor. They can cause a slipping hazard!) Worshiping with flags can be beautiful if you have enough room to do so safely. You can use a large fashion scarf as a banner. Two people can each grab an end and raise and lower it while others run and dance underneath.
5. Add a microphone to the mix
A simple microphone system can add a new dimension to both worship and prayer times. Children can take turn singing in the microphone at worship time, being the “worship leader” for that song. This can help cultivate boldness and is also just plain fun.
6. Feature popular worship leaders via YouTube
Using YouTube and a streaming device (Such as Roku or Fire TV) allows you to have popular worship leaders like those at Bethel, Jesus Culture, or Hillsong to lead your family worship time. (You can also use Alexa, etc.) This gives non-musical families a no pressure way to enter in.
Personally, we like to veer away from YouTube videos where there is a lot of action, flashing words and pictures, etc. because we’ve found that with those types of videos the children tend to want to stand and watch them instead of worshiping along with them. There are lyric videos with simple, unchanging backgrounds that tend to work best for our family. Or alternatively, live worship gives the children context for what worship can look like (seeing others raise their hands, dance, etc.) You don’t need songs geared only to children (though there’s nothing inherently wrong with that). Children can engage in the same worship songs adults do.
7. Alternate worship and prayer
We did this until our family got so big, we needed separate nights for both. You can have a child choose a worship song, then follow it up with a child choosing someone to pray for, followed by another worship song. Alternating in this way can help children stay engaged for longer periods of time and enables them to enter into both worship and prayer.
8. Song Cards
Check out this article on using Song Cards.
Whatever your family worship looks like, know that it is beautiful to the Lord. Carving out time to worship God as a family is a sacrifice of praise. It delights His heart and shapes the hearts of your children. Growing up in a home environment where praise is a priority sows seeds of faith that will reap a harvest. Just don’t give up!