I love technology. I really do. But sometimes it goes too far.
We provide wi-fi during our worship service so attenders can access youversion.live. I love youversion.live.
However, along with people accessing an online Bible and my sermon notes, this also allows people to access their FaceBook account, Twitter, and any other internet services. It can be pretty annoying when you are preaching and people in the congregation don’t even look up once. I wonder if I had a heart attack in the middle of my sermon if some people in the pew wouldn’t find out until the picture was posted on Instagram.
So, I thought I would have a little fun today and share some of the things that annoy me during church.
I’ve already talked about this but want to make sure to include it. When I preach it’s a live performance. Just like any other live event (play, concert, etc.) the ‘performer’ feeds off of the audience. When I preach and people are connected with their eyes, nodding their heads, even saying ‘Amen’… it gives me confidence and an increase of zeal. However, when someone isn’t paying attention it can get very distracting. I know people may be accessing good spiritual websites during church. They may even be posting to Twitter how great a preacher they have. But I don’t know that. I’m just assuming they are bored and much of my confidence is eroded.By the way, this also includes the annoying cell phone ringing in the middle of the church. Silence or turn off your cell phone during church.
We have a pretty ‘free’ church and I have lots of fun with the congregation. Sometimes I will interact with the congregation during the sermon. So I expect some chit-chat during the service. Maybe it’s my low self-esteem kicking in, but when I see people talking to each other, and sometimes laughing when I’m not telling a joke, I think it’s something I’ve said. Or, maybe my zipper’s down and I don’t know it. (That’s always a fear! Doesn’t matter how serious I am, if the barn door’s open, nobody’s listening.) So, help a preacher out and listen to him. Laugh after his jokes (especially when they’re not funny).
Crying Babies & Screaming Toddlers
I love kids and children and know how difficult it is to have them with you in church. But when their volume exceeds the preacher’s, he might as well give up. I cannot compete with a 6 month old. We have a nursery & toddler (all the way up to 3rd grade) for the little ones. However, if a family would rather bring a child into the service, I’m all okay with it. Please sit in the back (unless you have duct tape). Cause when the kid starts crying, it’s easier to slip out the back than to go all the way through the congregation. Another thought – even if your baby’s quiet, he or she can still be distracting. There’s nothing cuter than a baby or toddler looking around in church. And when the preacher is telling people how they can receive eternal life, we want no distractions to that message – even a cute baby.
Sitting in the Back
We laugh about it all the time, but if you want to give your pastor a heart-attack, have everybody sit in the front. Really! When we first moved into our sanctuary we roped off the back few pews so people would sit closer to the front. We had people take down the ropes and sit there anyway. It can really sting a pastor’s ego to see people sit in the front of a congregation during a special concert, then revert to the back when he’s preaching. So, sit in the front – there’s fewer distractions and I really think you get more out of the message.
Leaving during the Invitation
This is my #1 annoying event during church. I know sometimes people must leave during church. I’d never be one to embarrass someone for leaving – they may have an emergency. But to get a drink or go to the restroom (you should have gone between Sunday School and church) is usually not necessary. But PLEASE do not leave during the invitation. Everything is centered on that one event. People have been praying all week that people would make a decision for Christ. The pastor has been preparing his sermon and now has finished its delivery for this moment. Many people have invited friends and relatives to hear the message and make an eternal decision. God has been working all week (maybe all their lives) to hear that message and wants them to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus. But when the pastor asks people to come forward to pray or make a decision, and people turn the other way and walk out… it’s not just rude and annoying, it’s almost blasphemous. If God hasn’t been speaking to your heart during the sermon, please be considerate to those to whom he has and wait until the invitation is over to take a walk – unless it’s down front to pray for yourself.
Okay, I’ve let out a few of my annoyances. If you are part of my congregation and wonder if I’m talking about you, be assured I am not. I’m talking about all the other people who annoy me. But I hope you will all realize the impact your actions have on your pastor and your congregation during the worship service.
Pastor (or congregation), what annoys you most during the worship service?