Today I read a number of blogs that labored over things that happen during worship that might be distracting to the worshiper.
Worrying about whether or not our worship offering to God is distracting just seems silly. What is the Biblical precedence for this kind of thinking? I can't think of anything - sure there are passages that warn us about doing things for our own gain - but that isn't the same as worrying about being distracting.
When it comes to our worship offering we need to be concerned with excellence. Not whether or not person A or B is going to be distracted by something that is going on during the service. I have said this a thousand times: if somebody is distracted from giving God his due during our corporate worship offering, then the problem isn't the thing that distracted him in the first place, the problem is the individual's lack of discipline when it comes to worshiping God.
Back when I was learning to fly planes, I had an instructor who would jab me and throw things at me while I was working out particularly complicated problems. He did this while we were on the ground, he would do this while we were in the air. He would make me put on a hood and then make me put my head between my legs (as much as you can do in a little plane) then completely disorient the plane. Then he would say "OK, fix it. You have 10 seconds". So while I'm assessing and fixing, he would complicate things by hitting me in the head with the Snickers bar that he had in his pocket (this is probably why I don't like Snickers anymore).
While it was annoying, and even angering, it really helped me learn to focus in tight situations. Seems to me that if we want to make worshipers less distracted, the goal should be to allow more distractions during worship service (though, I'm not sure how to do this and accomplish excellence).
yea, thats a bit extreme.......i think that if a person forgets to turn their phone down and it goes off, the pastor should tell everyone to point and laugh at the person who owns the distracting cell phone. that would fix the problem, everyone can go to the service still and it would save money on not having to purchase expensive cell phone signal killing devices. from my perspective, its a win win.
Regarding the idea of distractions vs bringing excellence, I think we have a responsibility to do both. We need to always bring our first fruits (so to speak) and give God the best we have to offer (whatever our best is). We also need to create an environment that is conducive to allowing others to focus on God and God alone. My personal prayer for the body of believers envisions everything melting into the background except their connection with their creator. It is a blessing to look out and see someone who is obviously in their own world and completely engaged with God.
Logically for many it is just easier to focus if you eliminate distractions. Personally I prefer to call them barriers to worship. Obviously we as worship leaders and teams have to work within the constraints of our resources. We should play to the best of our ability. We should do our best to make the sound as balanced and pleasant as possible.
There is a key element for both the worship team and the congregation that can’t be left out. We all need to have a personal worship and a strong relationship with the Lord. Making this our focus will help keep it all in perspective and distractions won’t be as big an issue.
1. I pretty much totally agree with this.
2. When it comes to our worship offerings, we must give God our best.
3. I have skills when it comes to production. When I'm in charge, it is my responsibility to do my best to produce a smooth worship offering to God. This doesn't just mean tight music, this also means tight transitions. I tell people "TV tight" when I direct a worship service. Be on cue on time and you'll be amazed at how much better our worship offering to God can be for God and for the congregation.
So while I work to minimize "distractions" that really isn't my motivation. My motivation is to do the best work that I can with the position and the knowledge that God has given me.
Not for anything but Michael has a bit of a point. There is always going to be someon who is offended by something. I have to ask though is there a difference between being offended and stumbling? Just because someone is annoyed about something does that mean we have caused them to stumble? How do we define stumbling?
You are correct to ask! It has nothing to do with "being offended" or "being irritated with" someone! Otherwise, we're in this endless legalistic / judgmental thing that never ends - "hey, you're wearing two suspenders, you should wear one". (A direct quote from an Amish sect.)
"Causing someone to stumble" is easily discerned from the context in Corinthians. It's when your actions cause a weaker person to violate their own conscience and/or sin. If you are an alcoholic and someone you respect spiritually is drinking in front of you and you decide to order a drink and then spiral into your old way of life, that would be stumbling. The brother who drank in front of you contributed to it. His guilt in that situation depends on his knowledge of your problem. If he had no idea and was horrified, I think it's safe to say that he's not culpable in that situation.
However, if you are a staunch prohibitionist and you're at your pastor's house and he offers you a beer, you might be offended and think poorly of him. That's not stumbling, it's judging. (I mean that in a totally neutral way.) Being offended that your easter choir didn't wear a suit and tie is also in this category.
Another good example is when one of your brothers mentions Swedish fish and you have to drive to the nearest 24 hour drug store to get a fix. It's all over now...
PS - if you find your easter choir stumbling onto stage with disheveled ties, un-tucked shirts and reeking of scotch, you should be offended!
"Causing someone to stumble" is easily discerned from the context in Corinthians. It's when your actions cause a weaker person to violate their own conscience and/or sin."
OK--now we're getting somewhere. It's so difficult sometimes to follow what's going on in the site with all the spiderwebs in the 'conversation'. In so many threads here a sort of judging takes place without knowing the context that the person being judged had in mind when posting. It's always better to ask for clarification on something before flat out stating that somebody is wrong in what they write!!!! It's also maddening when someone states that you're wrong about something and never acknowledges any response you may make to being declared wrong/incorrect/in sin/etc.