I picked up this book after a recommendation from a friend for a starting place and a motivator on what it looks like to lead our children in pursuing the Lord and family worship. I am a little torn by this book. I finished it wanting a little more but also know of some places where I may be able to go to find more because of his recommended reading. I think this book is just dipping your feet in the water and maybe I felt like my feet were already dipped and I’m ready to take the plunge.
Either way he sets up the book with a lot of statistics and realities facing the family today and the lack of pursuit on the parents part as far as raising our children according to the biblical standards set before us. Some of the statistics he lists are astonishing. I got some tones from his writing that he was so called “tooting his horn” a little and he came across a little judgmental and harsh at times in some of his vocabulary towards parents who are not raising their children to walk with God. It always makes me a little sad when I hear pastors or writers “mock” fellow believers out there who are struggling in some area. Maybe they just don’t know any better? Maybe they do know better and are being openly disobedient? Either way I always cringe when I hear the mockery tone towards them and wonder to myself if they are being turned away from this instead of convicted. Sometimes it’s best just to preach the word as it is and let the Spirit do the convicting instead of trying to force conviction through making people feel bad. Anyways… I’ll get off my soap box : )
Here are some passages from the book that I thought were really good:
“Obedience is a spiritual issue. Thus teaching my children to obey is not optional; it is a biblical mandate” p.111
“We want them to obey, period. Learning not to repeat ourselves, not to yell, not to call the offending child by all three of his or her names. but to speak in clear, level tones and follow through with consequences for every act of disobedience has completely transformed our home” p.113
“God has designed your family – not the youth group, not the children’s ministry, not the Christian school, but your family – as the principal discipling agent in your children’s lives.” p.120
He referenced an author named Arthur Pink and I really liked this lengthy passage from Pink:
“it is not enough that we pray as private individuals in our closets; we are required to honor God in our families as well. At least twice each day, in the morning and in the evening the whole household should be gathered together to bow before the Lord parents and children, master and servant to confess their sins, to give thanks for God’s mercies, to seek his help and blessing. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: all other domestic arrangements are to bend to it. The head of the house is the one to lead the devotions, but if he be absent, or seriously ill, or an unbeliever, then the wife would take his place. Under no circumstances should family worship be omitted, If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer.” p.138
And again from Pink:
“Family worship will prevent much sin. It awes the soul, conveys a sense of God’s majesty and authority, sets solemn truths before the mind, brings down benefits from God on the home.” p.145
“Our family traditions do not guarantee that our children and grandchildren will follow in our footsteps, but they do lean in that direction… Children who grow up in homes that had daily family worship will see it as the norm.” p.146
He finishes off the book with a few chapters on his conviction of a “family integrated church”. This is a church where there is no segregated age groups (i.e. no nursery, youth group, children’s church, Sunday school classes that are age separated, etc.). You go as your entire family of all ages and sit together in the congregation as the whole family. He has a very strong conviction on this and especially towards the youth group and his belief that having a youth group enables parents to continue to sit back while the youth pastor does the job of discipling and evangelizing their children so they don’t have to.
This is the first time I’ve heard of a family integrated church. I can see a lot of good points to having the whole family together but am not sold on his conviction. He states multiple times that this type of church is a radical departure from the norm and not popular by any means. I just do not have a conviction at this time on it being right or wrong and I don’t think this is one of those areas that needs to bring any division between people who are sold on this type of church and those who are not. I respect his conviction and his passion to share his conviction and educate others who like me have never even heard of this type of church.
Overall as I said earlier this is a good book to wet your feet in the concept and conviction of leading your children to walk with the Lord and begin family worship. I don’t think this will be on the top of my list for recommended reading but I am looking forward to reading some of the books I found on his recommended reading list and hope to get a little deeper into this journey through those books.