Tuesday, June 8, 2010

21st Century Church Etiquette

Photo Source: http://garrisonphoto.org/sxc/

Suggestions for a pleasant worship experience

  1. Smile and speak to your neighbors (seated to your left and right). Please don't let the first time you speak, be to demand that s/he move down a seat for your friend who is 45 minutes late. Also, don't let it be your motioning with your hands and making eye contact with your neighbor's pencil while avoiding contact with your neighbor's eyes. Translation: Let me borrow your pen, now! This action is becoming quite common. What happened to asking politely? "May I borrow your pen to jot down that scripture, please?"
  2. Please refrain from smoking before service. Look, I'm not judging. Smoking is your business. However, cigarette smoke really does a number on people suffering with allergies. Last Sunday, I had to change seats within 15 minutes of being seated because the residue was overwhelming. Too late. I suffered a near migraine-sized headache for the entire 90 minutes of the service.
  3. Please brush your teeth and gargle after eating breakfast. Some people act like morning breath isn't an issue. The best mouth washes are those that kill the bacteria and tackle the volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath- CloSYS or BreathRx
  4. Pay attention to the sermon and stop checking your email, Facebook or Twitter.
  5. Be engaged. Flow with the service. When prayer is happening, you should be praying. As an intercessor, this is my pet peeve! If you have trouble focusing during intercessory prayer, read/pray the Psalms. Or go old school - fall on your knees, clasp your hands and close your eyes. Recite the Lord's prayer. Any of these options is better than staring into space, fidgeting (as if you wish this part of the service would end), playing with your iPhone, noting the fashions and comparing yourself to the fashionistas, or catching up on latest news and gossip. When worship is happening with songs, you should be singing (lip singing is allowed) and/or clapping. When reading the Bible is happening, you should be following along in your Bible, your neighbor's Bible or the projector screen.
  6. Smile often and genuinely Where did we get this idea that being spiritual means looking so serious and deep? It's OK to smile or look pleasant when you're praying or praising.
  7. Respect your elders. Give them first choice. Be patient.
  8. Respect the ushers. Respond politely. Say thank you often.
  9. Show genuine compassion to everyone. If you see a need, be the first to fill it. Pray, too. If someone shares a need and you don't have the means to fill it, pray with them immediately and encourage them. Avoid unsolicited advice. Listen before you speak.
  10. Take advantage of children's church and the nursery. If Little Raquim refuses to use his inside voice, then take the initiative to sit with him on the back rows. Or head for the lobby where you can watch the service on TV monitors. In the lobby, Little Raquim can cut up in utter freedom without those nasty looks from your neighbors.
Stepping down from my spiritual soapbox.

Do you have any suggestions to add?

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