What’s the Rudest Thing People Do in Church?

by | Jul 24, 2018 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

It doesn’t bother me anymore when I hear a phone ringing during a church service. Welcome to life in the 21st century. But I was shocked recently when I heard a blaring ringtone while I was preaching—and a woman on the second row pulled her phone out of her purse and began a conversation as if she were in the waiting room of a hair salon.

That incident prompted me to ask my friends to share their own stories of rudeness in church. My question triggered an avalanche of pent-up frustration about crinkly candy wrappers, smelly feet (yes, someone took off their shoes during the service), unruly children, coffee-sipping saints and parishioners who try to finish their pastors’ sentences during sermons.

When I tallied the responses, I came up with this list of the rudest things people do in church:

  1. Talking during a service.
  2. Texting, surfing the web or playing video games.
  3. Sleeping—or snoring!—during a sermon.
  4. Clipping fingernails or toenails during church. (I was amazed at how many people listed this offense. One person said his church’s sound technician clipped his nails routinely during the sermon, and it was amplified over the loud speaker.)
  5. Answering a ringing phone in church.
  6. Painting fingernails during a service. Three coats, in fact!
  7. Eating potato chips during the sermon.
  8. Playing Words With Friends during worship.
  9. Letting babies cry incessantly.
  10. Selling Avon products in the sanctuary.
  11. Chewing gum noisily. (One friend from Puerto Rico said he is particularly annoyed when people “chew gum like a goat.”)
  12. Public display of affection. (One person complained about a man and wife who enjoy giving each other back rubs during worship.)

Those were the most common replies. Other infractions included 1) “Pushing people to the floor while praying for them”; 2) “Eating fried chicken in the pews and leaving the bones”; 3) “Taking change from the offering plate”; 4) “Swearing in church” (I didn’t ask for the details on that!); and 5) “Flossing teeth during the sermon.”

But as I mused over these replies, I couldn’t help but wonder: What does God consider rude?

I don’t think crying babies annoy God. Nor do I think He is offended if a husband and wife get cozy in church. And surely He has compassion for a person whose tiny bladder forces them to go to the restroom more often than everyone else.

Some of us need to lighten up and extend grace to latecomers, fidgety kids, teeth-grinders, Millennials who enjoy good coffee, young mothers with infants and people who have to report to work promptly at 1 p.m.

But when I look at the Bible, it’s obvious God doesn’t like it when people refuse to focus their attention when He’s talking. He calls us to listen. Moses told the Hebrews they would be blessed if they listened to God’s commandments (see Deut. 11:27). Solomon said when we come to God’s house we should “draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools” (Eccl. 5:1). Ouch!

Isaiah said God awakened him “to listen as a disciple” (Isa. 50:4c, NASB, emphasis mine), while Jeremiah rebuked Israel because they “did not listen or incline their ears” (Jer. 17:23). And when Jesus was glorified in His transfiguration, the Father declared, “Listen to Him!” (Luke 9:35b, MEV, emphasis mine). We can’t please God or be His faithful followers if we don’t listen.

Yet today we live in a distracted culture. We are sleep-deprived multitaskers. We surf the web while we watch TV; we text while we drive; we tweet while we work; we take calls when we are meeting friends for conversation. Some people even crash into each other on the sidewalk because they are so busy Googling they didn’t see another distracted Googler headed straight toward them.

We are so focused on everything that we can’t focus on anything. I sometimes wonder if the proliferation of fast food, sugary drinks, movies on demand, “smart” phones and 24-hour news isn’t rewiring our brains so we can no longer pay attention to anything.

I’m not bashing technology. But we could lose the art of discipleship if we don’t reclaim the habit of careful listening. That means when we come to church, especially, we should not just turn off our phones but also tune out all other distractions so we can focus on what God is saying to us—through the preacher, the worship songs, the prayers and the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice.

Please don’t be rude to God. Don’t just go to church. Go and hear the word of the Lord. Don’t talk, text, sleep or take calls when He is speaking. Listen as if your life depended on it. {eoa}

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Prophetic Word: Don’t Hold On to Your Unbelief

Prophetic Word: Don’t Hold On to Your Unbelief

Look within your heart and honestly assess the state of your trust in the Word of the Lord. This hour of history is too important. God is speaking clearly! Are you taking Him at His Word or believing in what your circumstances are telling you? Hebrews 3:16-19 (NLT)...

5 Reasons Prayers Are Not Answered

5 Reasons Prayers Are Not Answered

Many Christians struggle with consistency in their prayer life, or they simply don’t pray because they were discouraged when they did and nothing happened. By going to God only when we need something, we devalue prayer. Prayer is a means by which we get to know God....

Is the False Prophet Alive and Well on Planet Earth?

Is the False Prophet Alive and Well on Planet Earth?

Note: As the World Economic Forum rolls out the "Great Reset’"—and a new poll shows 77% of the public is concerned "microchip implants will be used to usher in a never-before-seen level of totalitarian control"—an Israeli professor and New York Times bestselling...

Knowing the Character of God When It Matters Most

Knowing the Character of God When It Matters Most

If you have found yourself in the direct path of a searing fire in life, your bravest choice is to recognize who God is and then glorify Him as Lord. If you refuse to recognize the character and goodness of God when the temperature of life is uncomfortably high, you...

Don’t Make ‘Parties’ as an Excuse for Over-Indulging

Don’t Make ‘Parties’ as an Excuse for Over-Indulging

I love a party or any get together where there is food. How about you? However, it is a big excuse many use for not losing weight. I had this excuse. It went something like this, “I can’t lose weight because I want to eat at family gatherings, parties, church carry-in...

Relax and Let the Holy Spirit Work in You

Relax and Let the Holy Spirit Work in You

Here’s an honest confession: I struggle to rest in the Lord. Maybe I’m a bit compulsive, but I find it difficult to be still and know that God is working when I can’t see what He’s doing. When I need the Lord to do something in my life, I tend to “help Him” do it. But...

RECENT ARTICLES

3 Qualities of Successful Kingdom Leaders

If you grew up in the 1990s, you knew Mike. Michael Jordan, that is. It was spectacular to watch him play basketball. He’d make “impossible” shots with only three seconds left on the clock and win...
How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the apostles in Acts 1:8 (NLT), “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Jesus promises a gift that would give them comfort, power, strength and encouragement. That gift is the Holy Spirit, and that...

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

One of the wonderful things about reading through the Bible is that the more you read it, the more things you find within its pages. No matter how many times you read a verse or a series of verses, because the Bible is a living document, there will always be more to...

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Sometimes, I think Martha in the Bible gets a bad rap! I am not saying that Jesus labeled Martha at all. Please hear me out. But I think we would be wise to avoid picking up and holding onto some of the dynamics in this potential sibling rivalry between Martha and...

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

On the morning of June 5, 2022, I was praying in preparation for the Arise Women’s Summit I was hosting near Knoxville, Tennessee, when the Lord took me into an encounter. I found myself in the library of heaven standing before a giant staircase made of extremely...

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

During the past two years, I believe the church at large has been in a season of returning to God. Repentance is crucial when it comes to revival. Scripture shows a clear pattern that repentance precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2:12-28 and Acts...

Pin It on Pinterest