This month we have been emphasizing the five acts of worship, focusing each Sunday on one of them. Last week we discussed preaching and your words were so encouraging. This church has a heart to ensure we let God change us. Let me share two ideas given to me last Sunday.
In that sermon about preaching and God’s plan for it to be the avenue for building our faith and changing our lives, we talked about how our behavior impacts those around us. We talked about Christians who might be sitting near us and we can never tell how they are hurting. We also talked about how distracting our behavior can be to visitors at our services. One member at Palm Beach Lakes mentioned how when shopping last week she was parking her car and another lady saw the “Back to the Bible” bumper sticker on her car. She said to our sister, “I went to that church once.” Obviously a very thrilling moment for any Christian and then she said words I shall never forget. “I could not worship at all, for all during the services the people behind me were talking to each other.” How tragic! What a vivid reminder of how our behavior impacts others. This might be an isolated incident—those talkers may have also been visitors, but let’s learn a great truth from what happened.
Another involved a kind, heartfelt note from a mother. She was hesitant, even apologetic, about giving this to me. “Parents of young school age children can teach their kids to listen to the preaching. Parents should not allow kids to entertain themselves while preaching is going on by allowing eating, puzzles, drawing, coloring and talking. It is not school, it is worship! Parents need to encourage their kids to sit correctly and be attentive to the words being said. Attention must be placed on the reverence of worship—not on the kid trying to get attention during this special time.
“As parents, we must help our kids to know how to behave during worship. Parents must explain the expectation while worship is happening and explain the reasons why to the child. Too often parents are prolonging incorrect behavior during worship because they are giving into what the child wants to do. Children can learn a different expectation—to be quiet during worship—not to eat, play with cars, etc. Correct behavior must be communicated and exercised.
“Worship is not a time to keep kids entertained! They should not be using a phone, playing a game on the floor, drinking or eating, making noise, talking, etc. Parents must encourage correct behavior and self-control. They must expect and teach mature behavior.”