For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.(Matthew 18:20 NIV)
Those who were raised in homes where family worship was a priority, most likely have sweet memories of singing songs about Jesus, engaging in Bible study, and praying together with their family. There’s no doubt that family worship helps install a love for Jesus early on in a child’s life and set a strong foundation for a relationship with God that can be built on as the child grows into an adult. Because of this importance in establishing such spiritual life from an early age, as well as a commitment to the Church, researchers have been interested to learn more about trends in the practice and frequency of family worship among Adventist church members.
As part of the 2013 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS), members were asked if family worship had been a habitual practice in their family of origin (Q3.4). Over two in five (42.6%) respondents said it had very much been a consistent practice and priority in their family, while another 22.7% indicated that it often was a regular practice, but not consistant. Less than one in five (18.8%) said family worship was only sometimes habitual practiced in their home, which meant only during certain time periods, while less than one in ten (8.7%) said they never had family worship at all.
When the 2018 GCMS was conducted, the same question (Q22.06) was posed to global respondents, but the response options changed slightly. One in five (20.8%) respondents strongly agreed that family worship was a habitual practice in their family, and another 27.5% agreed. One in ten (11%) shared that they aren’t sure. One in five (21.4%) disagreed to one degree or another.
As part of both studies, members were also asked about the frequency of family worship in their family of origin (see our previous blog). In the 2013 GCMS (Q3.74), over one third (36%) of respondents shared that they had experienced family worship daily or more than once a day as they grew up. Over one in five (22%) had family worship more than once a week, while 14% had family worship about once a week. About one in ten (12%) shared that they had family worship less than once a month, and 16% shared they never had family worship in their family of origin.
When the same question was asked in the 2017-18 GCMS (Q26.05), a similar but slightly greater number (37%) compared to the 2013 survey, shared that they had experienced worship daily or more than once a day. However, the 2018 study showed that only 16.5% of respondents had worship more than once a week, while 12.3% had family worship about once a week. A slightly greater number than in 2013 (12.6%) also reported having worship less than once a month, while a substantially larger number (21.5%) said they never have family worship.
The comparative analysis shows that more respondents to the 2018 survey grew up in the homes where family worship was not a habitual practice. Most likely, they won’t introduce it to their families unless somebody appeals to them regarding the family worship’s importance for Christian homes and children’s spiritual development.
Ellen White wrote:
“In every family, there should be a fixed time for morning and evening worship. How appropriate it is for parents to gather their children about them before the fast is broken, to thank the heavenly Father for His protection during the night, and to ask Him for His help and guidance and watch care during the day! How fitting, also, when evening comes, for parents and children to gather once more before Him and thank Him for the blessings of the day that is past!” (Ellen White, Child Guidance, 520.1)
It is time that we, as families, as a church, make family worship a priority once again!
For more data on 2013 GCMS, look at the Church Member Research Reports by Division
For more data on the the 2013 and 2018 GCMS, look at the following presentations by Dr. David Trim from the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research:
2013 Annual Council – Global Member Survey Data Report
2018 Annual Council – Global Church Member Survey Data Report
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry
prepared by Manuela Coppock