hausvater 2c horiz 800x300

Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

  • Luther’s Morning Prayer

    Learn to chant Luther’s Morning Prayer—an excellent way for your family begin each day in Jesus’ name! Read More
  • A Guide to Our Order of Worship

    As we now walk through the liturgy, note how it presents the life of Christ: His birth, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, etc. All true Christian worship is centered in Him and performed through Him. Read More
  • Jesus Sinners Doth Receive

    Download a free study guide for this Gospel-centered hymn, including questions, an answer key, and traceable handwriting practice sheets to aid memorization! Read More
  • How to Design a Family Altar Board

    Here are some practical tips for engaging your family in a discussion of the Sunday Gospel lesson, the weekly catechism section, Bible memory work, and hymnody. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Our Most Popular Articles from Past Years

As we begin a new year, we also look back to the resources that have guided us in God’s grace thus far.

Here are some of the most widely read articles from past years ...

What do we mean by "natural law" and the "natural family"?

Natural law refers to God’s moral law as revealed through nature—in particular, through God’s gift of the human conscience. Christians are more familiar with God's moral law as revealed through Scripture and commonly cite Bible passages when addressing moral issues. However, God’s moral law is not uniquely biblical. Whereas the gospel of forgiveness in Christ is uniquely biblical (for God reveals it to us only there), the divine moral law may be discovered also in nature. We appeal to natural law when building a case for our understanding of marriage in the civic sphere, since God has written His moral law in the consciences of all people and created all people with the faculty of reason for discerning these truths of human nature (Romans 2:14-15). The Lutheran Confessions at times also appeal to natural law, natural rights, and the like, even while still maintaining the sola scriptura principle (e.g. Apol. XVI, 11; Apol. XXIII (XI), 6-12, 60). This is possible because natural law, properly construed, will not contradict Scripture. We recognize, of course, the injury that original and actual sin cause to the conscience and human reason, and thus we affirm the need for our consciences to be continuously reformed by the Word of God and for our reason to be taken “captive to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).


By the term “natural family” we mean the family as defined through natural law. We prefer this to the notion of “the traditional family,” since we are not basing our definition of family merely on human traditions, but rather on human nature as God created it: God, in the very process of creating the first humans, instituted marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman and blessed this institution as the proper sphere for begetting and nurturing children (Gen 1:26-28; 2:18,21-25; LC Sixth Commandment, 207).

Raising Children in the Paideia of the Lord

So how do we raise a child in the paideia of the Lord? This means much more than simply taking your kids to church on Sundays and enrolling them in seventh and eighth grade catechism classes. It also means that we don’t simply follow the public education model of schooling and extracurricular activities. The danger is that the public education model of curriculum and pedagogy leaves very little time for the paideia of the Lord that I am talking about. ... Raising children in the paideia of the Lord means raising them in such a way that they see and do everything in and through the light of God’s Word—both Law and Gospel.

→ Click to Continue Reading →

Rescuing a Marriage from “Divorce by a Million Molehills”

The conversation usually goes like this: “Pastor, I’m in trouble. My wife says she’s done. She wants out. She’s talking divorce. I don’t know what to do.” For many men this is the first time a wife’s words of desperation have hit their mark. It’s not that she hasn’t expressed her heartache. She’s shed oceans of tears asking him repeatedly to talk to someone, to go to counseling, to get help for their marriage, and he’s promised to do it more than once but has never followed through.

How has such a huge chasm rifted apart a man and a woman whom God has made one flesh (Matthew 19:5–6)? Often we find that sin has exploited the basic distinction between how men and women handle conflict:

  • When it comes to conflict men tend to equate the passage of time with the resolution of conflict.
  • For women the passage of time does not equal the resolution of conflict, and so the molehills multiply.

→ Click to Continue Reading →

Studying Luther's Large Catechism: A Workbook for Christian Discipleship

Studying Luther’s Large Catechism:
A Workbook for Christian Discipleship

By Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D.

Book CoverAlways beginning with prayer and concluding with song, the twelve lessons in this study book provide biblical instruction concerning:

  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Apostles’ Creed
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Holy Baptism
  • The Lord’s Supper
  • Confession & Absolution

Studying Luther’s Large Catechism includes hymn lyrics for meditation as well as references to the accompaniment in seven widely used Lutheran hymnals: Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal (1993), Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), Lutheran Book of Worship (1982), The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), The Lutheran Hymnary (1913), Lutheran Service Book (2006), and Lutheran Worship (1982).



12 lessons, each with carefully designed study questions:

  • Introductory Materials:
    • The Place of Martin Luther and His Catechisms in Church History
    • How This Study Is Organized
    • Supplemental Resources
    • Suggestions for Teachers
  • Lesson 1: Learning and Teaching God’s Word (The Prefaces to Luther’s Catechisms)
  • Lesson 2: Trusting in and Calling upon God for Every Need (The First and Second Commandments)
  • Lesson 3: Listening to God’s Word and Honoring Parents (The Third and Fourth Commandments)
  • Lesson 4: Protecting Lives and Safeguarding Marriages (The Fifth and Sixth Commandments)
  • Lesson 5: Respecting People’s Property and Honor (The Seventh and Eighth Commandments)
  • Lesson 6: Serving in the Roles God Assigns (The Ninth and Tenth Commandments)
  • Lesson 7: Worshiping One God in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity (The Apostles’ Creed)
  • Lesson 8: Praising God through Prayer (The Lord’s Prayer: Introduction through Second Petition)
  • Lesson 9: Praying to God for All Our Needs (The Lord’s Prayer: Third Petition through Doxology)
  • Lesson 10: Becoming God’s Child through Holy Baptism (Holy Baptism)
  • Lesson 11: Receiving the True Body and Blood of Our Lord (The Lord’s Supper)
  • Lesson 12: Assured of Forgiveness and Empowered to Serve God (Absolution and the Table of Duties)
  • Scripture Index
  • General Index

→ Click to Continue Reading →

"The Majesty Concealed within Them": A Mother's Day Sermon

In God’s eyes there is no vocation higher than parent. Think about it. Is the vocation of teacher higher than parent? Why does the vocation of teacher exist? To assist parents in teaching their children. The vocation of teacher serves the vocation of parent. What about the vocation of doctor? Well, who does a doctor serve? Families. The vocation of doctor may pay more than parent, but it exists to serve parents and families. ...

As the Church of God it’s time we rightly extolled the vocation of motherhood and it’s time we finally saw the resplendent majesty concealed therein. There is no greater vocation on earth, for it is God’s chosen means to bring children into this world and, likewise through parents, to bring children into Christ’s kingdom of forgiveness through Holy Baptism. Happy Mother’s Day. ...

→ Click to Continue Reading →

The Love a Wife Desires, the Respect a Husband Needs

Based on Ephesians 5:33, Emerson Eggerichs makes the simple but profound assertion in his book Love and Respect that love and respect are “primary needs” for women and men, that women need love and men need respect like they need air to breathe.


Over 26,000 people have read Pastor Jonathan Conner's Hausvater Project review of Love and Respect. We hope you find Conner's review and Eggerich's book helpful for your marriage, too. And please remember to share these resources with other couples. May God in Christ bless your marriage with a spirit of reconciliation and joy. ... 

→ Click to Continue Reading →

Conversation Starters for Family Enrichment

Through conversation, we bond with our family. We learn about one another and instill values in our children. But conversation does not come easily for everyone. If you would like some “talking points,” here are some questions for starting conversations with your family. Along the way, practice “salting” your conversation with pertinent truths from God’s Word. ...

→ Click to Continue Reading →

Constructing a Family Altar Board



The photo above is our “Family Altar Board” hung directly above our piano.

What is it?

Simply, it is a 2' by 3' white board which we have drawn on with both permanent and dry-erase markers. All of the boxes and labels are permanent, as is the cyclical church calendar. Then, each week, we update the pertinent information with a dry-erase marker. In the center, there is an erasable message or a simple picture drawn representing something in the church year or from our devotion.

There are 4 basic areas:

  1. Divine Service Summary (top left)
  2. Church Calendar (top right)
  3. Christian Virtue (bottom left)
  4. Home Devotions (bottom right)

How do we use it?

It's a very simple idea which has grown into a powerful family tradition.

→ Click to Continue Reading →

“Balancing Work and Family” vs. “Redeeming the Time”

As I’ve received the joy of marriage and the bounty of children, I also have come to know the struggle that so many men have faced before me—how to be a faithful husband, a loving father, find time for myself, and also fulfill my responsibilities at work? The key, according to many voices in our culture, is balance: strive to balance work and family.

As in so many other aspects of life, Scripture and society disagree. The Bible does not teach that I should balance work and family, but that I should prioritize family and recognize that my work is for my family (as well as for the community I serve). In God’s Word, one does not find the metaphor of “balance” applied to the hours of the day; rather, when Scripture speaks of a Christian’s proper attitude toward time, the image is one of “redemption”—of buying back what once was lost, cherishing it, and devoting it to the Lord’s work.

→ Click to Continue Reading →

Encouraging Daily Devotions in the Congregation

How can pastors encourage their parishioners to live out the Word of God every day of the week, using the Sunday Divine Service as a foundation? The Hausvater Project invited Pastor David Mumme of Trinity Lutheran Church in Waterville, Minnesota, to explain the resources he uses to promote the prayer life of his congregation.


pray 11746 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16 ESV).


It is essential to our life in Christ that we heed those words of St. Paul both in our life together within a faithful Christian congregation and in our life together within a faithful Christian family and home. We pastors spend a significant amount of time planning and preparing for this in the congregation by choosing hymns and preparing bulletins for Divine Services. But how do we help the members of our congregation let the word of Christ dwell richly in their homes and families? Every pastor encourages his members to read the Scriptures, to pray with and for their families, to sing hymns together, and to learn by heart Bible verses and the texts of Luther’s Small Catechism. But how do we help them to actually do this?

→ Click to Continue Reading →