Post by Pastor Tim – In the past, Pastor Foley and I have written on the importance of family worship. One key Scripture in a previous blog post that Pastor Foley referenced was 1 Timothy 3:1-5. This Scripture passage provides a great framework for understanding the importance and foundational nature of family worship.
The problem often arises when practical situations make family worship difficult or untenable. I faced one such situation as I traveled to South Korea for two weeks earlier this month. While my wife and even my two older children are perfectly capable of leading family worship themselves, it’s ultimately my responsibility to make sure that discipleship doesn’t stop when I’m gone.
When I first traveled to China, fifteen years ago, my communication to the U.S. was extremely limited. Today, things are much different with texting, cell phones, e-mail, Facetime and Skype. The greatest difficulty with this was the time difference between Korea and Colorado – when I was awake my family was asleep! But I was still able to use Skype to pray together with my family, to sing a hymn together and even to practice our Scripture memorization from time to time.
Even more important than using technology during travel was the importance of prayer for my family (whether traveling or not). While I’m responsible for my family’s discipleship, only God can actually do the sanctification in my children’s lives (1 Thess. 5:23). Prayer is a recognition of this fact, but also it is a dependency on and faith in what God has promised to do (1 Thess. 5:24).
And in all honesty, ensuring that family worship and discipleship continued while I was gone probably had more to do with what I did before I left than what I did after. In other words, because our family had established a regular pattern of family worship, it wasn’t quite as difficult for them to continue this in my absence.
Pastor Foley models this in his own family, in that when he is gone the other members of his family have to “step-up” and lead! He said that his travels are a perfect opportunity for the next person “on the bench” to take a more active leadership role. I saw this in my family as well in that my travel gave my wife and children valuable leadership experience in being responsible for the spiritual growth of each other.
Another friend mentioned that when he is traveling, his family incorporates their family worship throughout the day rather than having an extended period of time at night like normal. This allows for a similar amount of discipleship time, but with a little less burden on the spouse who remains behind. Regardless of the timing, the expectation is the same as when I am home – the whole family is still memorizing a new song and Scripture passage each week!
Ultimately, family worship is not easy (most good things aren’t), and worship while family members are thousands of miles apart is even more difficult. The bottom-line is that family discipleship shouldn’t stop even if our lives get a little crazy, i.e. travel. And even though traveling doesn’t always present an optimal situation, it may actually be an important opportunity for other family members to be more deeply challenged in their spiritual growth!