I met Dr. Williams a few years before he earned his Ph.D. In that first meeting, and in every interaction since then, Dr. Williams consistently has shown his heart for Jesus.
Dr. Williams’ passion for family ministry, and thorough scholarship, comes through beautifully in his book on the practical theology of the seventeenth-century English Puritan Richard Baxter. One way to predictably become an advocate for family worship is to examine Church history. Families worshiping together, out of obedience to God’s word, is not a new fad but rather deeply rooted in the history of our faith. This book is saturated in careful historical research and filled with practical application for families, pastors, and modern churches.
As is true every month, limiting the number of favorite quotes was literally painful. This was, without a doubt, my favorite family ministry book of 2021. I trust that you will see why when you pick up your own copy. Here are my top 5 favorite quotes from this very inspirational book:
- “For many today, the idea of incorporating regular rhythms of worship seems overwhelming. Faithfulness in teaching the Bible in the home, consistency in praying with spouses and children, and regular times of praise may seem out of reach and challenging. However, as families begin these practices, they inevitably become more natural over time, and the challenges are overshadowed by the blessings.” (1)
- “Baxter’s deeply rooted and extensively defended belief that family worship is God’s will shaped his entire pastoral ministry and motivated him as he spent his tenure in Kidderminster (1641–1642 and 1647–1660) equipping families through preaching, home visits, catechisms, and counseling.” (5)
- “This heritage is a legacy of faith that parents pass on to the next generation. Through family worship–including teaching the Word of God, praying together, and singing praises with one another–heads of households have the great opportunity and privilege of passing on the gospel to their children and their children’s children. Instead of focusing solely on a worldly inheritance or heirlooms that may be handed down, families today are called to embrace worshiping together so that faith in Jesus may endure as their lasting heritage.” (80)
- “Baxter was not content simply to teach about family worship or put forth a theological foundation. He built on this and sought to offer a practical theology so that families actually practiced worshiping together and could truly enjoy the transforming power of Christ in their homes…Baxter’s conviction that family worship is God’s will led him to equip families through preaching, home visits, catechesis, church discipline, and counseling.” (83)
- “Baxter spent his Kidderminster ministry convinced that family worship is God’s will, and he spent these same years encouraging family worship. His prayers were answered as nearly every household under his pastoral leadership embraced and faithfully practiced family worship through prayers, Scripture reading, and teaching catechisms.” (98)
While Richard Baxter was imperfect and while it’s not advisable for ministers to try to re-create everything he did, the man remains a very valuable figure in the history of our faith. The ripple effect of his ministry is still advancing God’s Kingdom today. May we possess even an ounce of his passion, and may we reach for his commitment to seeing families truly equipped and discipled.
Director of Training and Consulting
Family Time Training