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Parents: Please watch your children in the church building! Children should not be running in the church building. Toddlers and young children left to themselves WILL run and play. That’s what kids do. It is their nature. The only way to prevent that from happening is for the parents to teach their young ones how to behave in the Lord’s House and to watch them. Running is good for children at the playground, but not inside the church building. It can be dangerous for them and for others. Children don’t think of the consequences of their actions. They may run and push open a door, not realizing that they nearly knocked over an elderly lady walking in. Unattended toddlers running inside the building have nearly knocked folks down. Imagine if this happened to an elder visitor to the church? This is not a good testimony for the Lord. Consider the words of Solomon in Prov. 29:15: “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” It is not the responsibility of the ushers or the Sunday School teachers to watch your children. This is the responsibility of parents.
We live in perilous times. This is another reason why parents ought to watch their children on church property. These doors are open to the public. We have no way of knowing WHO may walk in. Would you go to the mall, and let your young children run around unattended? I hope not. There are a lot of evil people out there and who can say they couldn’t walk into the church building some Sunday looking for kids to abduct or harm? Unfortunately in this day and age we DO have to be concerned about kidnapping and child abuse. Parents, be aware that this building is open to the general public on the Lord’s Day.
Our testimony for the Lord is another reason why children should be watched. What must it look like to a visitor who comes in to see the chaos of children running wild and unattended in the church building? The Bible says that all things in the local church are to be done decently and in order. (I Cor. 14:40).
Be concerned about safety. Therefore, parents, make sure that your children do not throw snowballs, rocks, sticks, or any other object that could cause bodily injury. Please, no ball playing near the building.
There are some areas in the building that are off limits…
→ The platform area is off limits. There is no reason for kids to be up there.
→ The piano is off limits – except for church pianists. (Please don’t ask if it is OK for your child to be the exception to the rule!)
→ Upstairs in the old building – the classrooms – are off limits after the class is over. Parents should seek their young children right after Sunday School to provide supervision for their children.
→ Children should not be in the balcony or the kitchen.
→ The woods around the church are off limits too. A child could wander off into the woods and be harmed.
→ The parking lot is off limits as a playground. Children playing behind cars have been accidentally run over. We don’t want that to happen here. If small children are running in and out of the cars – it is virtually impossible to see them when backing out. If children are going to be outside, they should be in a designated play area.
When entering the sanctuary – this is a time to quiet our hearts before the Lord and prepare our heart for worship. Read over the chapter we are studying… pray for visitors… pray for the pastor… pray for the Spirit to work in hearts… pray for people to be saved! This is YOUR responsibility as a believer/priest.
Let the ushers usher you to your seat. The usher’s are going to be ushering folks into the sanctuary around five minutes before the service. Please LET them usher you in. Everybody loves the last row, but we want to save them for visitors who may come late, so as to prevent embarrassment their first time here.
Beware of noisemakers… such as cell phones, beepers, pagers, wristwatches that beep, or electronic equipment of any sort. Let’s make this church an unplugged zone! Please turn off such devices during the church services… or even leave them home. You might discover that life without electronic devices is not so bad after all!
Food and Drink… Opening cough drops or mint wrappers can be quite loud and distracting. No one MEANS to be a distraction – nevertheless it IS distracting. If you know you need a mint – put a couple in your pocket so you don’t have to unwrap during service. Try to be thoughtful. And then there is gum… it gets stuck under chairs, tables, pews, etc. It would sure be appreciated if gum was not brought to church. Chomping on gum can be distracting in church, and it doesn’t look very attractive either.
Coffee, tonic, water bottles, pop corn, peanuts, and candy should not be brought to Sunday School or to into the sanctuary. Going to church isn’t like going to a movie theatre or a Red Sox game. This NEVER would have been seen in any church 20 years ago. This is not a healthy trend. It brings in the casual atmosphere, and that affects behavior and attitude. Going to church ought to be something special and sacred, not common.
Please bring the children to the rest rooms before the service. Every one of us, kids included are able to go an hour without a visit to the rest room. Kids are itchy by nature. They can sit still for a while, but then like to get up and move. Too often they use “I have to go to the bathroom” as an excuse to get up and move about. Most parents do a good job at seeing to it that their kids go to the restroom in between Sunday School and the morning worship service, but some parents are lax. The kids will not think of this themselves. It is the parent’s responsibility, so parents – let’s do our job!
Hygiene: Please do not brush your hair in church. Please do not clip or file fingernails in church. One might think this to be an unnecessary warning, but it is not. Believe it or not, it does happen. It is annoying to all who are sitting nearby. It is also an indication that the person attending to his/her hygiene needs is not engaged in the worship or the teaching that is taking place. And in a practical sense, those fingernail clippings are difficult to vacuum off the rug and have to be picked up by hand, one by one.
Please be on time. Everybody is late once in a while. Sometimes it cannot be avoided because of traffic or other issues. Some folks are constantly late. That CAN be avoided. Walking in late can also be a distraction. The Pastor might be in the middle of making a point, when you walk in late – and all attention shifts from the Biblical point being made, to the latecomer. It is a good idea to get a good night’s sleep on Saturday nights so as to be awake and alert on the Lord’s Day. Come refreshed and on time.
Come prepared to worship. (Psalm 100:4 – “Enter into His courts with praise.) It’s not the pastor’s job to get you stirred up for worship. It’s not the choir’s job. It is YOUR responsibility to come to church PREPARED for worship! If you come with a heart prepared for worship, you will be surprised how much sweeter the choir sounds… how much more meaningful the responsive reading is… and how much the preacher has improved!
Dress appropriately – Dress is a reflection of an inner attitude. It is also part of our testimony to the world. It is a good testimony to come to church in our “Sunday best.” It testifies that we believe God is worth the extra care… that we believe that what we are doing here is special.
Clothing affects attitude. Dressing appropriately for church is a way of showing respect. (Of course it can be ONLY an outward show… that’s hypocrisy). But it can also be an outward reflection of an inner attitude of respect. It is especially desired that “women adorn themselves in modest apparel” (I Tim. 2:9). Immodest clothing on women is a distraction to the men and a stumbling block. Don’t cause your brother to stumble! (I Cor. 8:9-13) Think of others. If IBM can have a dress code, and if restaurants can have a dress code – how much more should we be careful, considerate, and respectful in the way we dress in the house of the living God? (I Tim. 3:15)
Come to minister – to others, and especially to visitors. It is wonderful to fellowship with old friends, and we should. But here’s the danger: we end up talking with our old friends, and an unsaved visitor comes in and no one talks to him. He may never return. Or perhaps a brother comes discouraged and really needs fellowship, but everyone is too busy talking selfishly to their friends, and the work of the ministry is left undone. We should come to give ourselves to minister to others. Be aware of the needs of our brethren. Sometimes folks come with heavy hearts – and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! Someone might come in with the burden of the world on his or her shoulders, just hoping for an encouraging word – and we are all busy talking to our old friends!
Keep an eye open for visitors. Be friendly and minister to them. A smile, a handshake, and a friendly conversation with a visitor often means the difference between whether they will return or not. Give them a tract. Help a new family find out where their kids go for Sunday School or Junior Church. Try to introduce them to the pastor or one of the elders. Visitors should be a priority to us. We want them to be saved! Be concerned about their soul. They may never enter a Christian church again. This is the responsibility of every one of us.
Watch the time when you are out in the foyer, and take a seat about five minutes before the service. Once in the sanctuary, forget about the time. Don’t keep looking at your watch. Zipping up Bibles near the end of the message can be quite distracting. When the pastor is making his final point, many folks miss it because of the noise of Bibles being closed and zipped up. Think of how that must sound to a visitor. It SOUNDS like the people can’t wait for the service to get over. It SOUNDS like those folks can’t wait to get out of church. That sends a wrong message to visitors.
Solomon said that it is the “little foxes” that spoil the vine. Sometimes, paying attention to little details like the ones mentioned will make all the difference in our assembling together on the Lord’s Day. It can mean the difference between distraction or blessing. Every member of the body, by his behavior can either enhance or detract from the work that God wants to do in and through His people on the Lord’s Day.
THANK YOU for taking the time to read this over. Please pray that the Lord would use you and your family to promote behavior in the Lord’s House that will enhance our time together and edify the Body of Christ.
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Timothy 3:15)
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (I Tim. 4:12)
Unto Hm be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Eph. 3:21)
Thank you for your thoughtfulness in these areas!
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