The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Sunday service

with 9 comments

The following advice seems to have tickled a thousand fancies, being all over the shop at the moment. It began life in a seminar reported at the 9Marks Ministries blog. Since I have a deep-rooted need to jump aboard every passing bandwagon, and out of a slavish attachment to the 9Marks blog, and – more seriously – because it is good advice which bears repeating, here – for your delight and delectation – are some things that church members can do to serve Christ in his church on the Lord’s day.

Apart from the always grating assumption that we only go to church once on Sunday (which I have already assaulted by changing a few singulars to plurals), is there anything more that might be added to the list, or any caveats that might be included (I have added a couple)?

Before the services

  • Read the passage in advance [if you know it].
  • Pray for the gathering.
  • Greet newcomers (act like you are the host).
  • Think strategically about who you should sit with.
  • Arrive early.

During the services

  • Sing with gusto (even if you can’t sing) [as part of the congregation, and not apart from or against it].
  • Help with logistics (if there’s a problem, help fix it).
  • Don’t be distracted.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Be aware of your facial expressions (you may affect others and discourage preachers).

After the services

  • Connect newcomers with others.
  • Get newcomers information.
  • Start a conversation about the sermon.
  • Ask someone how they became a Christian.
  • Stay late.

So, anything missing or needing clarification?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 6 November 2010 at 22:37

Posted in Ecclesiology

Tagged with , , ,

9 Responses

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  1. Yes. When a cat walks in, let it do its thing, don’t chase it around during the sermon.

    Jonathan Hunt

    Saturday 6 November 2010 at 23:27

    • Are you speaking from experience? And, what thing is it that the cat wants to do?

      I am tempted (and almost hopeful) to see this as the first in a long line of comedy contributions, but I am a little fearful that Mr Hunt speaks with the straightest of faces.

      Jeremy Walker

      Saturday 6 November 2010 at 23:38

  2. Actually, let’s limit the comedy by requiring rules based on specific and real situations and circumstances. So, for example:

    During the service, you must not throw a hymnbook at the preacher because your conscience is afflicted.

    Jeremy Walker

    Saturday 6 November 2010 at 23:41

  3. Now THAT is hilarious.

    Yes, the cat thing is true. My second Sunday at my current church, very hot. We have many fully glazed doors and they were mostly open.

    The cat strolled in through the main door, so only I could see it as all the church was facing forward listening to the sermon. ‘Its thing’ was just to be strolling around, and unmolested it would probably have found a quiet corner for a comfy nap in the sunlight.

    Somebody saw it as it strolled down the side aisle (so to speak, we have loosely arranged chairs), and stood up to ‘shoo’ it.

    Perturbed, it decided to bolt for the nearest exit. Which happened to be about the only glass door that was NOT open.

    Poor cat. It seemed to be ok, as was the glass, but I did have to stop preaching until it had truly left the building due to the mixture of stifled laughter and gasps of concern!

    Jonathan Hunt

    Monday 8 November 2010 at 10:23

    • Yup, always tricky to continue the service when no-one is able to concentrate for some reason. I am not sure whether genuine tragedy or unintended comedy is worst. Both can have a humanising effect on us; one tends to sober us and the other to cheer us, but both can distract us.

      Jeremy Walker

      Tuesday 9 November 2010 at 09:57

  4. Things to do during the Service:

    IGNORE the old lady who is faking a heart attack (for the umpteenth time) because she doesn’t want the preacher to go past the half hour mark!

    Matt Holst

    Monday 8 November 2010 at 17:43

    • Wisdom from Mr Holst. It rather suggests an addition to the “After the service” list, involving some rather deliberate words of counsel to the lady in question. I have had people shake watches at me, make audible comments about the length of the tape that was in the machine, tut or huff loudly, make snide comments afterward about eating burned food, and get up and walk out, but I must admit that repeatedly faking a heart attack takes the biscuit. Can anyone better that, and/or provide a Spurgeonic comment that would – with his almost-inimitable blend of humour and thrust – resolve such a situation on the spot?

      Jeremy Walker

      Tuesday 9 November 2010 at 10:00

  5. I haven’t got a funny one – but I was struck by one or two of the points. I like the thought that we are to welcome people as hosts. A useful way to think about it! Also staying late after the services – and ideas of what to do with that time are worth taking on board and putting into practice.


    Monday 8 November 2010 at 21:23

    • Thank you, Rachel. They don’t have to be funny, and I agree that simply “staying late” without any useful purpose is not particularly helpful.

      Speaking of things after the service, how about this?

      Leave the building and everything in it as you would wish to find it for the next meeting.

      Jeremy Walker

      Tuesday 9 November 2010 at 09:55

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