Worship Experiment Alters Family

December 21, 2019 | Church | Heidi Baumgartner

Nattie Perez rarely had family worship with her children. She knew it was important but hadn’t made it a habit.

Then one Sabbath at the Renton (Wash.) Church, she heard about the Altar Project, a 31-day family worship challenge hosted by Washington Conference prayer ministries in October 2019.

“I thought to myself, ‘How can I challenge myself?’” Perez says. “We needed to up our spiritual game.” She talked with her children — Jaylon, 11, and Jeneah, 13 — and together they committed to trying out a family worship time. They even wrote their chosen worship time on their daily schedule boards.

“We chose the mornings for our worship time,” Perez shares. “It was too hard to do an extended worship time in the evening when we were all going different directions.”

The family developed their own routine with worship prompts that arrived by email. Each morning at 7 a.m., the family would sing two songs, read a passage of Scripture, participate in a short discussion and have a prayer for their day. Most evenings, the family took a few minutes to reflect on how God worked in their day and to play a Bible game.

“My son loved the ABC praise game,” Perez says. “He still asks to play the game.”

But there was one worship time when Jaylon was frustrated and didn’t want to participate midway through the Altar Project. The 11-year-old was giving his mother a hard time, and she was ready to quit their family worship experiment.

“My husband, who joined us three times for worship, spoke up and reminded us, ‘You can’t quit. You made a commitment,’” she remembers.

In the audience feedback component of the Altar Project, Perez ended up sharing five family worship selfie photos — more images than any other of the 172 participating families.

“We are slowly understanding that we need God in our lives more,” Perez says. “We are understanding our deeper and personal need for Jesus to bring stability and confidence for each day.”

A couple days after the Altar Project concluded, Perez proudly reports, “We’re still having family worship. We’re still wanting to grow. We’re praying to continue altering our altar, and I’m praying for my children and husband to spiritually be faithful and focused on God.”