Our church has cancelled tomorrow's church activities, thanks to Winter Storm Jonas (in 2017, it's Winter Storm Helena). I'm reminded of a time when our oldest was about eight years old. We were staying home from church (due to some complications in my pregnancy), and Jeff told Christopher on Saturday night that we were going to have church at home the next day. When Jeff and I came out to the living room that Sunday morning, we discovered that our son had built a small pulpit out of boxes and books, had selected some songs for us to sing, and had even hand-written bulletins for us! He had a very definite idea of what church should look like!
As I'm sure many of you will be kept home, too, it seemed like a good time to share some ideas for worshiping at home when you are prevented from meeting together (Hebrews 10:23-25). You won't need hand-written bulletins and a make-shift pulpit for any of these, but I have included some links that might be helpful.
- Listen to (or watch) one of your own church's previous sermons. There may be one you missed while serving in the nursery, traveling over the summer or holidays, or home with a sick child. Or there may be a favorite you'd like to chew on a bit more. For those at my church, a few recommendations might be The Real Grinch of Christmas (only 28 minutes!), Walking Worthy, or Putting on an Honest Intimacy. Tip: Find at least one take-away for your family to encourage one another in throughout the week.
- Watch another church's live-streamed service. This allows you to see the full service, not simply the sermon. You can still participate to a limited degree, and it's a great opportunity to work with young children on church etiquette. Faith Bible Church and Grace Community Church both offer live-streaming of their services, and you can be certain of God-honoring worship and a sound biblical sermon. Tip: Some live-streaming requires you to set up an account prior to watching. Be sure to check on this prior to the service time to avoid being delayed.
- Watch (or listen to) a previously recorded sermon from a church other than your own. Both Faith Bible and Grace Community have sermon video available; you can also find audio via their websites or podcasts. Other messages I'd recommend include If God is for Us, Who Can be Against Us? by Don Whitney, and The Church: The Beginning and End of Missions by Thabiti Anyabwile. Tip: Take a few notes to help prompt some discussion afterward.
- Read aloud to your family, and talk about what you read. Whether you read a portion of Scripture (maybe from the book your pastor is preaching through), or a book that has encouraged you in your own walk of faith, or a missionary biography (some of these are free to download) share it with your family. Tip: Read enthusiastically -- you and your family will enjoy it more.
- Sing together. Find some favorite songs and worship together! If you grew up singing hymns, but your kids aren't as familiar with hymns, this is a great time to introduce them to some solid, time-tested favorites . Or, if you're not as familiar with some of the newer music your church sings, now's your chance to practice together. Maybe there's a song that particularly reminds you of the gospel (In Christ Alone, anyone?); this is a wonderful time to sing it together and discuss its truths with your family. Tip: You don't have to be musically or vocally gifted to do this. Singing together karaoke-style is fine!
- Pray together. Really pray together. Tip: Tim Challies shares some wisdom from John Piper about how to pray, and I believe this would be helpful for families praying together.
- Enjoy this unique time with your family. Whatever you decide to do, relax and have joy in it. Tip: Remember that the word worship literally means worthness (not workness!).
Photo: AnnaKate took this photo of Bella two years ago during an unusual snow event in Middle Georgia. This is pretty much representative of Bella's attitude about the snow, which contrasts sharply with my own.