A Practical Theology of Family Worship

A Practical Theology of Family Worship

Reformation Heritage Books

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Baxter believed that family worship is God’s will, a conviction that profoundly shaped and motivated his pastoral ministry in Kidderminster. It is said that, at the beginning of his ministry, hardly one family to a street honored God in family worship; by the end of his ministry, there were streets on which every family upheld the practice.

In A Practical Theology of Family Worship, Jonathan Williams examines Baxter’s context, the encouragements he gave for family worship, and his family-equipping ministry among the congregation. This study develops our understanding of this vital spiritual discipline among the Puritans. Yet it also draws out implications for family ministry in churches today.


Table of Contents: 

1. The Blessings of Family Worship

2. Historical Examination of Baxter’s Context as a Seventeenth-Century English Puritan

3. Baxter’s Encouragement for Family Worship

4. Family Worship Brings Opportunities for Teaching the Word of God

5. Family Worship Fills the Home with Prayer and Praises

6. Baxter’s Family-Equipping Ministry at Kidderminster

7. Implications for Today’s Church and Family Ministry

Appendix 1: Further Encouragement for Family Worship

Appendix 2: A Sample Guide for Family Worship

Appendix 3: Opportunities for Reflection: Discussion Questions



Jonathan Williams, Ph.D. (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the founder and executive director of Gospel Family Ministries. This ministry focuses on strengthening family ministry in the local church and cultivating family worship in the Christian home. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. Previously, Jonathan served for 10 years as the senior pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church, a multi-ethnic church of more than 50 nations. He lives and writes in Texas with his wife and three children.



“Any substantive work on the all-important spiritual discipline of family worship is more than welcome in our day when the vast bulk of professing Christians neglect it nearly altogether. Jonathan Williams’s book adds an exciting dimension to what has already been written on this critical subject by looking at Richard Baxter’s teaching on and promotion of family worship. By combining both a historical study with practical implementation through the eyes of Baxter and then adding contemporary implications for our own day, this book makes for an informative, stirring, and hopefully life-changing read for many families. I pray that thousands of husbands and fathers, together with their wives, may be persuaded to take up daily family worship as a nonnegotiable spiritual discipline in their home. Buy, read, and implement this book, and let it transform the way you do family worship, for then it will also, by the Spirit’s grace, transform your family for good.” — Joel R. Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, author of Family Worship, and editor of Family Worship Bible Guide  

“Regardless of how familiar you are with Richard Baxter, if you want to learn more about family worship you’ll profit from this book. Jonathan Williams has given us a readable, practical, and well-researched volume that is a significant contribution to the subject. The author presents a wealth of biblical instruction and helpful application about family worship woven throughout the life, ministry, and teaching of Baxter. A Practical Theology of Family Worship is suitable for either small group study or reading for fathers and couples. I’m confident that many churches and families will be blessed by their discovery and implementation of this book.” — Donald S. Whitney, professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, and author of Family Worship, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, and Praying the Bible

“In A Practical Theology of Family Worship, Dr. Jonathan Williams introduces Richard Baxter’s timeless and passionate teaching on family worship to a new generation of Christian parents. Williams uses Baxter’s teachings on the biblical mandate for family worship to demonstrate not only God’s desire but also His directive for worship in the home. A pastor himself, Williams understands the great need today for spiritual leadership in the home as well as the role of the pastor in equipping parents for their God-given responsibility. This book is just the tool for that assignment! A Practical Theology for Family Worship is relevant and accessible to a wide array of readers, including pastors, parents, teachers, and students.” — Chris Shirley, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and author of Family Ministry and the Church: A Leader’s Guide for Ministry through Families

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