Distractions in Public Worship.
As we were studying 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 as a church, we noticed that the Lord really desires for us to be free of distractions as we gather corporately for worship. In this case, because of the way some of the women were dressing and behaving in the corporate gathering for worship, they were drawing peoples attention towards themselves and away from Christ.
Here are some ways that you can eliminate distractions while gathering for worship on Sundays.
1. Dress in a way that wont cause distractions.
Dress in such a way that does not draw attention to yourself, but limits distractions. I have been in churches where the girl in front of me has a belly shirt and her underwear is sticking out. Its a distraction. I have been in churches where the pastor is dressed to the nines and has gold all over his body. It's a distraction. Dress to eliminate yourself. This was the main issue of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. The point of worship is to point people to Jesus, not yourself.
2. Don't be the Tambourine Dude or the Flag Lady or the Cotton Eye Joe Dancer.
I'll never forget going to a buddies church and having to pass the flag lady to get in. If you bring a flag to church at Netcast, I will kick you out. If you feel its necessary to play a tambourine during worship, try out for the team so we can cut you and tell you NO because you are never on beat, you suck and you are distracting. And if you feel the urge to do the cotton eye joe dance moves in the front of the room during worship, you can do it. Just be prepared to be the first person to ever be dragged out of Netcast. The goal of worship is to point people to Jesus, not yourself.
3. Be careful that your Children are not a distraction.
The reason why we at Netcast do Children's Ministry downstairs and have people scheduled to teach your kids the scriptures downstairs is because I am a parent. The last church that I went to used to have the children sit with you in worship. So, I spend most of my time watching kids and trying to keep them quiet that I myself was distracted and most of the people around me are distracted. The point of worship is to point people to Jesus, not yourself or your kids.
4. Prepare your hearts before you get here.
Spend time in the morning doing things that will point your heart towards the gospel. Some things I do is, read some of the psalms, listen to worship music, or even just journal.
Pray with your spouse before you get to the gathered service.
Get to the church on time, and do your best to not be a distraction to others as you arrive late. Remember there is always grace with this, however it is helpful
5. Engage when you are here. (You have the grace to do it.)
Be attentive. If you are simply coming to church on Sunday in order to fulfill your religious duty, you have missed it. Things like being on facebook, texting, twitter, writing notes to the person next to you, etc. All of these things are a distraction during the gathered service. Pursue Christ by staying attentive to him during the preached word and worship through singing.
Uphold a posture of worship. Don't be afraid to do things like Lift your hands, sing aloud, rock your body, smile, pray. Your body language should match your emotions. I know many people in my reformed camp disagree with this, but I do think that evaluating posture, is also a good heart check.
6. Watch distractions outside of “Sunday”. (Worship in all areas of life.)
1 Peter 5:8 “The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour you. Resist him.”
Guard who gets your attention. Its not enough to just not cheat on your spouse. Guard your heart. Think through who are the people in your life who are getting your attention but shouldn't be.
Pursue an organized life. Things like schedule, bed time, dinner schedule, Grocery Shopping, keeping a neat home. All of these things help you with time management in your house. Many people claim to not do things like prayer, bible study, community, etc because they don't have time. Organize your life so that you have time.
Watch your debt. Create financial margin in your life to worship through giving if God calls you to. Often times, having bad debt is a distraction in your life and eliminates your ability to give when God calls you to give.
Remember the Gospel. Lastly, the most important thing we can do to eliminate distractions in our life is to continue to remind ourselves of the gospel. Preach it to yourself, live life with people who will remind you of it and look for it in the scriptures. Remembrance is an art and one that we aught to look to master. It is so easy to forget what Christ has done on our behalf and look to rely on our own ability to become reconciled to God. Remembering Christ and the gospel will propel us into worship.