Book Review: The Family Worship Book

“The Family Worship Book: A Resource for Family Devotions” by Terry L. Johnson

As a husband and father, it is my responsibility to lead my family in worship. I am to shepherd and teach them as one who will have to give an account. This is a duty I do not want to take lightly!

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a great job of this so far. The biggest reason? I didn’t know how; or at least I thought I didn’t know how. The reality, though, is that I just hadn’t tried. The first step is the hardest.

That’s why I’m so grateful for this book. While there is a short section at the beginning that outlines the Scriptural reasons why men should lead their families in worship — and everything in this section is solid — I didn’t really need to be convinced of that. I already knew what I should be doing. (However, it’s worth pointing out that Johnson is quite clear that our #1 responsibility is to have our families committed to and involved with the covenant community in a local church; a point much appreciated.)

The most helpful parts of the book are the practical considerations. How are we to structure family worship time? What is included? When during the day should we do it, and how often? Johnson lays out suggested elements of family worship time (singing, prayer, confession of faith, teaching, etc) as well as an outline for family worship. These chapters are especially useful for a guy like me, who has a lot of trouble moving from the theoretical to the practical; how to get beyond simply having a good idea and start putting it into practice. Perhaps one day I’ll be confident and competent enough to come up with my own order of worship for my family, but in the meantime having an outline (which, thanks to the vast amount of resources in this book, is almost infinitely variable) will make it easy to take that first step, and to commit to regular, daily family worship for long enough that it becomes a permanent part of our family culture.

In addition to the “how to” chapters, the book also includes plenty of “what to” resources. Among these resources are a family reading record (which has a suggested reading schedule omitting a number of chapters that are “ill-suited to family worship due to their contents or repetition”); two catechisms (the Catechism for Young Children and the Westminster Shorter Catechism); 50 suggested passages for Bible memorization; several historical writings on family worship; and a family hymnbook/psalter containing 60 hymns and 60 psalms for singing together. The reading plan and the hymnbook/psalter both come with a ten year teaching schedule to help make sure that families are able to benefit from the full counsel of Scripture and a wide variety of songs for worship over the long-haul.

This is a book that is sure to find a prominent place on our family bookshelf for years to come. If you’d like to make it part of your collection as well, you can buy it here.

P.S. — Thanks to Caleb Cangelosi for referring this book to me. It was a great suggestion!

2 comments on “Book Review: The Family Worship Book

  1. Joe Foell says:

    Thanks for this book review! I’ve been trying to implement Family Devotions for a good while now, but it’s mostly been varieous series of “fits and starts”. I’ve also been looking for resources to compile into some sort of small group teaching that will serve to challenge the fathers of the many young families in my church to strive to institute family devotions into our families’ lives. If you have any ideas or additional resources you can recommend along these lines, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  2. […] big thanks to Caleb Cangelosi for the recommendation of the Family Worship Book, which has many resources (including the Children’s catechism) that we’re using in our […]

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