W.A.D.S. - Worship, Apologetics, Doctrine, Stories (Bible Stories)Jan 14, 2024
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
– Psalm 1:2
In the home of the Christian family, the study of God’s Word should be a top priority. It can be easy to fall into the ditch of assuming that this discipline falls to the pastors, teachers, and youth leaders of a local church, with parents content to have their kids attend services on Sunday and perhaps on Wednesday. But the truth is that God commands parents to be the primary disciplers of their children, all day and every day. This is not something that comes easy to most of us, and it can feel forced or unnatural. Many families feel this way and not long ago, we did as well.
When our children were starting to hit school-age, we sent them to a local Christian school. We knew that they were being taught the Bible at church on the weekends and in their classes during the week. Conversely, we were not being intentional at home. Within those first couple of years, the Lord convicted our hearts about this very fact and we began homeschooling, striving to take this sacred task more seriously. Over time, we started incorporating more spiritual activities into our routine as well. Today, we make these four “Power Practices” a part of each day to help keep our minds and hearts focused on Christ. The elements of our routine can be easily remembered by the acronym, W.A.D.S: Worship, Apologetics, Doctrine, and Stories.
W – Worship
Family worship is an essential part of our day together. We usually have it in the evening around the supper table. We’re almost always together at this point and we start off the meal with our Family Huddle and talk about our day. After that, Family Worship begins.
Family Worship includes a devotional or Scripture reading, singing a hymn together, and praying. Derek usually reads for us, and we sing the same hymn each day for a month. This might sound repetitive, but it is such a good way to memorize rich songs of the faith! We often use Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Family Hymn of the Month (https://www.gettymusic.com/hymnofthemonth).
Family Worship usually takes us about ten to fifteen minutes, but it could be shorter or longer to fit your family’s needs. If you have lots of little ones, ten minutes might be pushing it! If you have a few teenagers who love discussion, feel free to extend it. The important thing is to include all three elements (read, sing, pray), and establish a routine that works for your family. And here’s a hot tip: Keep your devotional and Bible in a location nearby so it can be seen regularly. It’s hard to forget to do Family Worship if your Bible is sitting next to your table!
A – Apologetics
The practice of Apologetics is simply learning how to defend the Christian faith. We like to include this in our family’s bedtime routine; some of it we do together, and some is done one-on-one. We start this when our children are quite young, with the goal being that our kids are growing in discernment. We like to discuss world events or popular culture that we’ve encountered (age appropriate, of course), and then we hold them up to Scripture to see how we should think about them. If the idea of Apologetics is new to you, two excellent starting resources are AnswersInGenesis.com and the book Mama Bear Apologetics.
D – Doctrine
Doctrines are the great truths of the Christian faith, and one of the best ways to study this with children is through catechism instruction. We also read the Bible together daily. We really encourage parents not to be intimidated by this practice in particular. You don’t need to know everything about the Bible in order to teach it to your children. In fact, reading Scripture together and memorizing a catechism is an incredible way to grow alongside your kids! And remember, if you’re ever really stumped, your pastor would probably love to answer any questions you have.
S – Stories
Knowing the stories and overarching narrative of Scripture is another important part of our family's spiritual growth plan. It’s easy to focus on the well-known ones: Adam and Eve, Noah, David, Elijah, Jesus and the Apostles, etc. But it is also important to learn the lesser-known parts of Scripture and how all of these stories weave together to form one cohesive whole. Using commentaries to learn about historical contexts and theological truths can be a great way to flesh out these stories as well. It’s important to read from the Bible itself, but solid Bible storybooks can be a helpful resource too. We recommend looking into The Growing in Faith Bible Story Book, The Story Bible, One Hundred Bible Stories, The Child’s Story Bible, The Action Bible, and The Biggest Story Bible Storybook.
Discipling our children is an incredible privilege that God has entrusted to us as parents. Being intentional won’t happen by accident, and so we encourage you to consider implementing one or more of these disciplines into your family life! To give yourself the best chance of success, it would be good to choose a consistent time and location for your spiritual activities, and make sure at least one parent is responsible to make sure it happens. You’ll probably get started and then modify as you figure out what works for you. Feel free to try a resource or two, and then change it if it isn’t working. Ultimately, remember that consistency is the key, not perfection.
- There are many ways to grow in faith together as a family.
- You can choose some or all of these elements to implement, based on your unique family’s routine and spiritual growth plan.
- Daily spending time together in God’s Word as a family will help you point your children to Jesus.
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