Church Etiquette 3

Discussing ‘church etiquette’, this blog is using 7 guideposts to summarize it for us here at NCM: DO NOT: disregard, disrespect, disrupt, distort, distract, distress, or disturb. We have previously dealt with the 1st two, so today we consider the 3rd in this list: Do Not Disrupt. A disruption occurs when ‘some type of interruption shifts attention from the main focal point to something else.’ Growing up, many children were taught ‘not to interrupt’. Many are not being taught this today, and still more do not think it applies when they ‘have something to say!’ But this is still the best way to determine if something is disruptive or not. ‘Service interruptions’ occur… (1) when people talk to each other during the service (during announcements, singing, preaching) [a common way to judge disruptive behavior is “is this rude?” — & since we all know that it IS rude to talk when someone else is talking, this one is easy to conclude as ‘disruptive’); (2) when people enter or leave the room at inappropriate times (“inappropriate” here is in tandem with how much attention is diverted; e.g., it is NOT appropriate to ‘interrupt’ the invitation/altar call! This is the time for folks to respond to God, and the SLIGHTEST interruption is magnified! 2 ways to avoid this etiquette breach: (a) be on time – it is ‘rude’ to be late when you can prevent it; (b) Plan ahead – e.g., go to the restroom before the service; (c) And if you have to leave/enter a service already in progress, be as inconspicuous as possible! Remember the goal is NO ATTENTION DIVERTED. (3) when moving about or responding in a way that is different than the rest of the congregation. This last item on the list has to be considered delicately: some might view raising one’s hands in worship as disruptive (and for people who are uncomfortable with ‘expressive praise’, it might be)… BUT that does not constitute a true ‘disruption’. The question in distinguishing whether something is disruptive or not is “is this seen as a ‘correct response’ or is this ‘creating a ruckus’?” The answer must be mindful of the flow of what is happening and whether one’s <actions, words> interrupt that (or shift the attention/direction). If God impresses you to go to the altar, go to the altar (yes, even in the middle of a song)! If you feel the need to say Amen, say Amen. If you are moved to stand during a song, stand! These are NOT disruptions to the flow of the service! But asking, “what’s for lunch?”… really?

Elevate your worship by taking seriously what is going on and CONTRIBUTE to it! Do not interrupt, impede, or interfere with the direction the service is heading or the attention of others in worship!

Leave a Reply