Amazingly church is not as quiet as some think it to be. That is right; believe it or not church services can be a place where your sense of quiet can be down right disturbing.
There are various reasons for which to attend church services on Sunday morning. Some come to worship. Others come to God’s house to study the Word of God. Others come to participate through song, prayer and testimony. Others come to socialize.
Now, here at Rockford we do all of the above. We worship, lifting up the Lord and praising His most Holy and Righteous name. We study the Word in Sunday School and in worship; I attempt to preach the Word with passion each Sunday. We sing, and pray and sometimes we give opportunity to testify of God’s blessings.
And, yes, we socialize. During the beginning of our worship time together we greet each other and take time to shake hands and visit in the aisles and around the altar. Even though of January of this year I began my fourth year as pastor of this fine, historic church, I am still amazed at the intensity with which we socialize. As soon as I invite the attendees to turn and shake hands with those around them, they are darting into the aisles to hug and show love and care for those who are present. They stand around the front of the sanctuary talking and laughing, and clog the aisles as they visit for a few moments. Debbie Mullins will play through a chorus or song several times before it becomes apparent that all are ready to move to the next item in the order of worship.
Yet, with all of these reasons to be in God’s house on Sunday morning, there is one reason some come and I believe it is a selfish, self-centered, self-serving reason. The moment a song is complete, or a prayer is being prayed or the sermon begins, they will turn to the person nearest them and start a conversation. This is not one of those, “Please pass that Bible to me, so I can follow along with the pastor.” Or, “Excuse me, but do you have a Kleenex I may use?” Or, “May I borrow a pen or pencil, so I may take notes on the sermon today?” No, it is more like a continual dialogue; a conversation that starts and seems to continue throughout the entire service.
These individuals will sit where they think they cannot be seen. Yet, their thinking is faulty at the beginning. They may try to sit behind their parents or grandparents, or on the back pew, or behind someone who is taller than they are, but they have messed up in their thinking. There are two people who see them no matter how hard they try to hide: the preacher and God. Both are not happy to have these talkers in the pew.
Talking in church can do several things. One, it will distract the preacher. Two, it will divert the attention of those around the offenders from hearing the gospel. Lastly, it will sidetrack the ones doing the talking. It may be that God really wants to speak to the very ones doing the talking or to those sitting around them, but because of the conversation, neither is positively productive.
For those who seem to not be able to hold conversations until after church, they need to remember that the scripture says, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Luke 17:1-2 HCSB)
Jesus said, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer.” (Matthew 21:13 HCSB)
Talking to God is good. Talking in testimony is good. Talking about the Word is good. But whispering and carrying on a conversation with someone during these things is not good; it is disturbing, annoying and rude!