Mt. Vernon Church of Christ Services Sunday A. M. Bible Study - 9:30 Sunday A. M. Worship - 10:30 Sunday P. M. Worship - 5:00 Wednesday Evening Bible Study - 6:00 Address 700 Mill Street Mt. Vernon, Indiana  47620 Contact (812) 838-2635 email Gospel Plan of Salvation Hear - Rom. 10:17 Believe - Mark 16:15,16 Repent - Luke 17:3 Confess - Rom. 10:10 Be baptized - Acts 2:38 Live faithfully - Titus 2:12 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God...” (I Peter 4:11) Mt. Vernon Church of Christ

It does not really surprise me anymore to hear a phone ring during a Sunday morning class or even worship service. But I will admit to being shocked when I heard a ring tone once while I was preaching--and someone pulled their telephone out and began a lengthy conversation in the back of the auditorium as if they were on a street corner waiting for Uber.

That incident (among others) prompted me to think about what constituted rudeness during the worship service. You probably can think of an avalanche of pent-up frustrations you have had about crinkly candy wrappers, smelly feet (yes, some people see nothing wrong with taking off their shoes during the service), unruly children, coffee-sippers, and no doubt more.

Here then are some of the rudest things people do in church, perhaps without consideration of the fact that we often have visitors among us:

  1. Constantly talking (and whispering) during a service.
  2. Testing or surfing the web during a service.(One person has mentioned seeing people playing video games on their phones.)
  3. Sleeping—or snoring!—during a sermon (yes, we have even had that).
  4. Clipping fingernails or toenails during worship.
  5. Answering a ringing phone in church.
  6. Constantly getting up and leaving the auditorium, presumably to use the restroom.
  7. Walking out of a service early, especially during a prayer or invitation.
  8. Letting babies cry incessantly in the service.
  9. Chewing or smacking gum. (One person said they were particularly annoyed when people “chew gum like a goat,” and I am really expecting someone to blow a bubble soon.)
  10. Overly public displays of affection. (One person complained about a couple, who may not even have been married, giving each other back rubs during worship.)

God does not like it when people refuse to focus their attention when He is talking. He has called us to listen (to His Word). Moses told the Hebrews they would be blessed if they listened to God’s commandments (Deu. 11:27—NASB). Solomon said that when we come to God’s house we should “draw near to listen [“be more ready to hear”] rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools” (Ecc. 5:1).

Isaiah said that God awakened him “to listen as a disciple” (Isa. 50:4), while Jeremiah rebuked Israel because they “did not listen or incline their ears” (Jer. 17:23). It is hard to imagine anyone thinking that we can please God or be His faithful followers if we do not learn to listen in the worship service.

Everyone realizes that today we live in a distracted culture. We can be adequately described as sleep-deprived multitaskers. People surf the web while watching television; some people still attempt to text while driving; we tweet while we work; we take calls when we are meeting friends and having dinner. What, exactly, are we teaching our children?  

Some people even crash into each other (or fall into fountains in shopping malls) while walking because they are too busy Googling (or texting) to see another distracted Googler (texter) headed straight toward them.

People are so focused on everything that they cannot focus on anything. I sometimes wonder if the proliferation of fast food, sugary drinks, movies on demand, “smart” phones, and 24-hour news is not rewiring our brains so we cannot focus on what is really important. We are turning ourselves into media zombies (Romero movies?).

I (of all people) am not bashing technology. But could we lose the art of discipleship if we do not reclaim the habit of careful (actual) listening. That means when we come to the church building, especially, we should not just turn off our phones but also tune out (and put away) all other distractions so we can focus on what God is saying to us—through the preacher, the worship songs, the communion, and the prayers.

Let us not be rude to God. Do not just go to church. Sit up and hear/listen to the Word of the Lord. Do not talk, text, sleep, chew gum, drink coffee, or take calls when He is speaking. Listen as if your life depended on it, because your soul surely does.

Johnny Oxendine, The Beacon, April 16, 2018

Things to Be Mindful of  During Our Worship