Gather the Family: Open the Word. Awaken the Worship. Franklin: Franklin Springs Media, 2011. 43 minutes (plus 30 minutes bonus footage). $18.95. Purchase here.
January is Family Worship Month. With the movie Courageous having an impact on men (see my thoughts here), now is the time to take that next step and begin taking leadership spiritually and otherwise in your own home. You can find out more about Family Worship Month at the website dedicated to helping Christians develop family worship. Furthermore, you can sign the Family Worship Declaration as well.
Family Worship has been gaining steam in recent years and for that I am grateful. I have reviewed numerous resources here that would make great aids to family worship. Now, we have a video that will be a great aid to starting a culture of family worship in your own church and home. Gather the Family is a practical video guide to showing how to start family worship. You can learn more about this movement at Family Worship Resources.
You can read another review by a guy who reviews documentaries here.
This documentary, hosted by Adam Black, introduces the concept of family worship in a wide-variety of settings. With R.C. Sproul Jr., Mark Holden, and Kevin Swanson offering their comments, the theological foundation for family worship is well established. Interspersed through out the documentary are seven different families, at various places in life, who all practice family worship. You will find a family with an infant, a single-parent family, a large family of children (all 6 and under!) a former Major League Baseball player.
Throughout the video you will find that there are various methods and styles of family worship. Each method or style, however, has three particular features in common. They are prayer, Scripture reading, and singing. Not always in that order. The 30 minutes of bonus footage offers more commentary as well as a deeper look at one family’s method of family worship.
Let me begin by stating that this documentary is extraordinarily well done. Watching it just once you will be challenged and encouraged to begin (or continue) family worship in your home. Regardless of where you are as a family, you can begin family worship and this video will show you how. If there is a father in the home, he will be challenged to be the leader in this endeavor.
The narrator does a great job of introducing and concluding the clips of the different families. The reality that family worship is pouring a solid biblical foundation into the lives of the children as well as being a major aid to the parents is prevalent throughout the DVD. Ultimately, the argument is made, and I believe sustained, that family worship is essential to transforming one’s life as well as the the surrounding culture.
There is one criticism I personally had with the documentary. While I heard mention of the gospel as being part and parcel of family worship, I personally believe the gospel to be the main reason in which we should do family worship. As Christian parents, we are the front-line in the spiritual war over the souls of our children. Family worship gives us the opportunity to be intentional with that gospel message each and every day. Even after becoming a believer (Lord willing) we all still need the gospel.
One other comment I would like to add is that when practicing family worship, we make sure that we do not inadvertently misplace our faith. While we are to be biblically saturated and our worship is to be founded on the Word of God, we must be careful that we do not worship the Bible (as Muslims do the Koran). Those involved in this documentary did not say this or even give lead to this. It is simply something I have noticed in others as they discuss their own family’s worship practices in the home. All I am saying is be careful that your worship is Christ centered and founded on the Scriptures and that it does not drift toward worship of the Bible.
In the end, Gather the Family does a superb job of equipping all families to gather around the Bible at some point in their day to worship God. I appreciated the wide range of families they showed who engage daily in family worship. The numerous instances of family worship will show that while it is easy to start and continue family worship, it is also the hardest thing you will ever do!
Family Worship Resources
As I said above, I am really excited about this resource. I would like to spend some time here highlighting their website. Family Worship Resources is, in my estimation, going to become your one-stop shop for all things family worship. First, they have a community where you can upload videos of your family doing family worship. You can also find a link to Kevin Swanson interviewing Donald S. Whitney on the practice of family worship. There are numerous resources available as well through the website.
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As this movement gains traction, I expect this website to grow in both content and practical resources.
If you are a pastor, this resource needs to be in your library. This resource will be instrumental in recovering the lost discipline of family worship. Youth pastors and children’s ministers ought to become familiar with this DVD as often times they are the inroads into the family. Gather the Family would make a great premarital counseling session as well. In essence, I highly, highly recommend this resource to everyone!