In the forward to “A Neglected Grace” by Jason Helopoulos the reader is given two expectations:
“I expect everyone who reads this book will walk away with two great conclusions: “I want to grow in family worship” and “I have some great next steps to take in that direction.” -Kevin DeYoung
At the end of my reading these expectations had been met. I have heard many talks and sermons addressing the subject of family worship and on my shelf I have a variety of books to be used for the purpose; devotionals for the family, family worship guidebooks, and full scale family Bible study curriculum.
My desire to have times of family worship (not just a family night once a week but a daily time in the Word together) started several years ago. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact, for me it has been a struggle most of the time. That is where “A Neglected Grace” was most helpful for me. The author encourages family worship without neglecting to speak to the practical issues. Business, wiggly kids, not knowing what to say or where to start – these are all addressed admirably. The traditional family as well as the single parent family will find the book equally helpful.
The title focuses on grace and so does the author throughout the text. Mr. Helopoulos desires the reader to find family worship to be a joyful responsibility and not a burden. This grace-filled tone and encouraging posture radiates through the book and I found it very helpful.
This is a short work; short but full. A heftier treatise on the subject could have been written but would not necessarily be any more persuasive. Arguing for mankind as worshippers, then speaking to the three main realms of worship (the church gathered, the private closet, and the family), the author builds a case for centering our homes around Christ by way of family worship times.
This brings me to one place of critique. Although brevity is a strength of the book, and although the author claims that Scripture doesn’t speak directly to families worshipping together in the home, I do wish a stronger Biblical case would have been presented for family worship of the type described throughout the book. Biblical unction is the best motivating force for me.
In the book heads of home are challenged to make room for family worship. But speaking pastorally this author realizes that all homes are not spiritually led by a father, if one is present at all. The advice given to spouses of unbelievers is excellent.
Three things were especially helpful for me. The first was the reminder that God’s Word should be the center of our family worship. This may seem obvious but in reality it is easy to get sidetracked. Reading from a devotional, organizing Bible skits, or doing Sunday school type crafts all have a place but are not the same as family worship. The Bible, prayer, and singing are the prominent elements the author chooses to emphasize. Often I feel the need to teach and explain the text we are reading (this is a good thing), but this author reminded me that reading the Scripture alone (without commentary) is okay from time to time or as one gets started with family worship. This practice isn’t about the father being a scholar but the leader of the home taking everyone to the throne of grace. The home that does this regularly will be a home centered on Christ.
This brings me the second helpful point. Jason Helopoulos doesn’t only encourage family worship and explain it; he invest words to explain the manner in which family worship should be done. Family worship should be reverent, joyful, regular, and consistent. Working through each of these, the author sets a proper tone for worship in our homes.
The third helpful point for me was the section describing what family worship is not. This came for me by way of reminder. I knew these things, but reading them caused me to reflect afresh on my practice and be encouraged in focusing my family worship on what it should be focused upon.
Practical suggestions and several testimonies round out the book. Finishing I found myself encouraged to persevere in this neglected grace.
“..we don’t want to worship the family, we want worshipping families.” -Jason Helopoulos
I received this for free from Christian Focus Publications via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”