Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Church Etiquette" - Wisdom From A Bygone Age

One of our church members recently brought me an old bulletin from a nearby church that she found stuck away in a book.  It was dated January 10, 1963.  The front of it was entitled “Church Etiquette.”  As I read these, I was amazed at the wisdom in many of these points.   I don't necessarily subscribe to every one of these, but overall I found them to be quite helpful.

We live in a ultra-casual age.  Where people used to dress up for public functions, whether it was work, church, or some kind of other event, but now it's "anything goes."  Actually, I admit that I like some of this.  I often don’t wear a suit and tie to church, and we have members that come in all types of garb.  I would much rather someone come to church in a pair of ratty jeans and a shirt with holes in it than not come to church at all! 

However, somewhere along the line we’ve lost our way in the way we approach meeting with God.  We don’t have a nonchalant God, so we shouldn’t approach him in a nonchalant way!

These points from a bygone age are instructive to me, and I hope they may be to you as well:

1.       COME. Never miss unless absolutely necessary. George Washington's pastor said of him, "No company ever kept him from his church."
2.       COME EARLY. Rushing into service at the last minute is not conducive to true worship, yet often scores of our people will come in after the service has started when they could easily have been on time.
3.       COME WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY. The service is not a convention where a family should merely send a delegate.
4.       TAKE A PLACE TOWARD THE FRONT of the church.  Leave the rear seats for those who of necessity may come late.
5.       BE DEVOUT. The church is not a theater or place of amusement. You come to worship God, not to whisper, lounge, or sleep. If you must talk, talk to God, pray for the preacher.
6.       BE THOUGHTFUL of the comfort of others. Never make a haystack of yourself at the end of the pew and expect others to climb over you to reach a seat.
7.       HELP STRANGERS to follow the service by sharing the hymnal and following the order of service. Always remember that strangers are guests of the church. Treat them with the
same courtesy you would if they should visit in your home.
8.       GIVE A GOOD OFFERING TO GOD. It is one of the highest acts of worship.
9.       NEVER RUSH OUT BEFORE THE BENEDICTION. This is the critical time of the service and someone's future or eternity may depend on your action. After the benediction, remember to stay long enough to speak to and be spoken to.
10.   NEVER STAY AWAY because the church is not perfect. How lonesome you would feel in a perfect church.

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; His truth endureth to all generations." —Psalm 100:4-5

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