Help for Families
1. How did the weekly Sabbath benefit Israelite families?
1 The Sabbath observance was a loving provision from Jehovah that benefited families. Israelites rested from their regular labors and had time to reflect on Jehovah’s goodness and on their relationship with him. Parents could take advantage of this opportunity to inculcate the Law into the hearts of their children. (Deut. 6:6, 7) The Sabbath provided time each week for Jehovah’s people to focus attention on their spirituality.
2. What does the Sabbath teach us about Jehovah?
2 Of course, Jehovah no longer requires families to observe the Sabbath. However, that law teaches us something about our God. He has always been deeply interested in the spiritual welfare of his people. (Isa. 48:17, 18) Today, one way that Jehovah expresses this loving interest is by means of the Family Worship evening.
3. What is the purpose of the Family Worship evening?
3 What Is the Purpose of the Family Worship Evening? In January 2009, the Congregation Book Study began to be held on the same evening as the Theocratic Ministry School and Service Meeting. One reason for this adjustment was to give families an opportunity to fortify their spirituality by scheduling a specific evening each week for family worship. Each family was encouraged to move its family study to the night formerly used for the book study, if practical, and to use this time for unhurried Bible discussion and study tailored to the needs of the family.
4. Must the family limit their discussion to one hour? Explain.
4 In order to attend the Congregation Book Study, we needed time to dress, travel, and so forth. For many of us, attending this one-hour meeting took the better part of the evening. With the adjustment to our meeting schedule, we now have this evening to worship Jehovah as a family. Therefore, we need not limit our Family Worship evening to just one hour. Rather, we should think about the needs and limitations of our family and set the time period accordingly.
5. Must the entire time be spent in group discussion? Explain.
5 Must the Entire Time Be Spent in Group Discussion? When married couples and families with children discuss Scriptural topics together, they encourage one another. (Rom. 1:12) The family draws closer together. Therefore, Scriptural discussions should be the centerpiece of the Family Worship evening. However, each family member could also spend time in personal study. For example, after the group discussion, the family might remain together while each individual continues to study separately, perhaps finishing his preparation for the meetings or reading the magazines. Some families choose to keep the television off the entire evening.
6. How may the discussion be conducted?
6 How May the Discussion Be Conducted? The format need not always be a question-and-answer discussion. In order to make the Family Worship evening lively and interesting, many families have a program that is similar to our midweek meeting. They divide their discussion into several parts and handle them in a variety of ways. For example, they might read the Bible together, prepare for a portion of the meetings, and have practice sessions for the ministry. Page 6 provides some suggestions.
7. What atmosphere should parents strive for?
7 What Atmosphere Should Parents Strive For? Your family will learn best in a loving, relaxed atmosphere. You might sometimes study outdoors if the weather is favorable. Feel free to take breaks when needed. Some families include refreshments after the program. While parents will avoid using the Family Worship evening to scold or discipline, they may need to devote some of the time to address a specific trend or problem that has come to their attention. However, it may be best to discuss sensitive personal issues privately with a child at another time during the week so as to avoid embarrassing him in front of his siblings. The Family Worship evening should not be a dry, somber occasion but should reflect the happy God whom we worship.—1 Tim. 1:11.
8, 9. What preparation is required of family heads?
8 How Can the Family Head Prepare? The family will benefit most if the family head prepares in advance for each Family Worship evening by determining what should be discussed and how best to consider it. (Prov. 21:5) A husband does well to consult with his wife regarding this. (Prov. 15:22) Family heads, why not also occasionally ask your children for their recommendations? If you do, you will gain valuable insight into their interests and concerns.
9 On most weeks the family head will not have to spend extensive time preparing. Likely, the family will enjoy having certain regular features each week, and the family head will not need to come up with an entirely new program every time. He may find it advantageous to prepare after each study while his family’s spiritual needs are fresh in mind. Some family heads write out a brief agenda and post it where the family can easily see it, such as on the refrigerator. This creates excitement and anticipation and gives the family time to prepare if needed.
10. How can those who live alone use their Family Worship evening?
10 What If I Am the Only One in My Family? Those who live alone can use the Family Worship evening for personal study. A good basic personal study program should include reading the Bible, preparing for meetings, and reading The Watchtower and Awake! Some publishers supplement this with a personal study project. On occasion, they may wish to invite another publisher or family to join them for an upbuilding Scriptural discussion.
11, 12. What are some of the benefits of having a regular Family Worship evening?
11 What Are the Benefits of Having a Regular Family Worship Evening? Those who wholeheartedly engage in true worship draw closer to Jehovah. Additionally, families who worship together strengthen family bonds. One married couple wrote regarding the blessings they have enjoyed: “As a pioneer couple without children, we really look forward to our Family Worship night. We feel like we are drawing closer to each other and to our heavenly Father. Now when we wake up on the day that we have scheduled to study together, we say to each other: ‘Guess what tonight is? Family Worship night!’”
12 The arrangement of having an evening for family worship also helps busy families. One single mother who is raising two sons and regular pioneering wrote: “In the past, our family study suffered. It was sporadic and inconsistent because I was tired. I just couldn’t figure out how to fit it in. So I am writing you to thank you so very much for the Family Worship evening. We have been successfully having a regular family study and experiencing the benefits.”
13. What determines how much your family will benefit from this arrangement?
13 Like the Sabbath, the Family Worship evening is a gift from our heavenly Father that can help families. (Jas. 1:17) The way that Israelite families used the Sabbath determined how much they benefited spiritually. Similarly, how we use the evening that we have been given for family worship determines how much our family will benefit. (2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:7, 8; Col. 3:23, 24) By making good use of this arrangement, your family can echo the sentiments of the psalmist: “But as for me, the drawing near to God is good for me. In the Sovereign Lord Jehovah I have placed my refuge.”—Ps. 73:28.
[Blurb on page 5]
The Family Worship evening should not be a dry, somber occasion but should reflect the happy God whom we worship
[Box on page 6]
Some Ideas for the Family Worship Evening
• Read a portion of the weekly Bible reading together. If the material lends itself to doing so, one person can read the narration, and others can read the words of the different characters.
• Reenact a portion of the Bible reading.
• Assign each member of the family to read the designated Bible chapters in advance and to make note of one or two questions that he has on the material. Then research everyone’s questions together.
• Each week prepare a flash card with a Bible verse on it and try to memorize and explain it. Build up a collection of cards, and review them weekly to see how many scriptures you remember.
• Listen to an audio recording of the Bible reading while following along in the Bible.
• Prepare together for a portion of the meetings.
• Practice the Kingdom songs scheduled for the coming week.
• If someone has a talk on the Theocratic Ministry School or a demonstration on the Service Meeting, discuss ideas for presenting it or rehearse it in front of the family.
Needs of the Family:
• Consider material from the Young People Ask or Learn From the Great Teacher books.
• Have a practice session on how to handle a situation that is likely to arise at school.
• Have a practice session where the parents and children reverse roles. The children research a subject and then reason with the parents.
• Have practice sessions to prepare presentations for the weekend.
• Discuss realistic goals the family can set to expand their share in the ministry during the Memorial season or vacation time.
• Allow each family member a few minutes to research how to answer different questions that may arise in the ministry, and then have practice sessions.
• Read together an article from the current magazines.
• Have each family member read in advance an article that intrigues him from the current magazines, and then have him give a report on it.
• Occasionally invite a publisher or couple to join you for your Family Worship evening, and perhaps interview them.
• Watch and discuss one of our videos.
• Discuss together “Young People Ask” or “For Family Review” from Awake!
• Discuss together “Teach Your Children” or “For Young People” from The Watchtower.
• Read and discuss a portion of the current Yearbook or a release from the last district convention.
• After attending a convention or assembly, review the highlights.
• Observe Jehovah’s creation firsthand, and discuss what it teaches us about Jehovah.
• Work on a project together, such as a model, a map, or a chart.