Distractions From Worship in Church

Nothing better than a camp meeting.
Nothing better than a camp meeting. | Source

A camp meeting

Every Labor Day Sunday our church has a special service called Camp No-Go. The fellowship hall is decorated like a camp - tent, trees, a deer head peeking out of the bushes, and other camp type props. We all dress in shorts and other camp type attire. The reason we do this is because many of the families in our church go to family camp on that weekend, so those of us who don't go decided a few years back that we would have our own camp at church, thus Camp No-Go was born.

The songs are old time gospel choruses and there is a lot of hand clapping and foot stomping. It is a joyful time in the Lord and in fellowship. We usually have a good old gospel message from a brother in our church. Afterward, we have smores and hot dogs and more fellowship. I look forward to this service every year. It's different, fresh, and very simple.

Do you worship the god of coffee?
Do you worship the god of coffee? | Source
Or how about the hot dog god?
Or how about the hot dog god? | Source

Worship of the hot dogs and coffee?

This year I donned my shorts and arrived at Camp No-Go a little early to help in any way and enjoy some pre-camp fellowship. I couldn't wait for the camp meeting to start. When I walked in a dear brother came up to me very upset because he had just had a disagreement with the sister in the kitchen who was making the coffee. She made the coffee way too weak, which was very annoying to him, and they had had a "discussion" about it. He told her the way it was always done, and she said, "No wonder we're always running out of coffee so often. We are struggling in our budget, you know." He was just livid.

While I was still listening to his disgruntled story of woe about weak coffee, a dear sister called me over. "Psst, Lori, come here a second." Her voice was whispered and secretive.

"Hi (let's call her Susan) Susan, what's up?"

"Do you know if they're boiling the hot dogs?"

"Uh, I have no idea Susan, why?"

"I can't eat boiled hot dogs, they taste just like bologna. I told them I wanted barbecued hot dogs. But I think they're going to boil them. I am not okay with that."

"Well, I can understand that Susan, but you don't have to eat one if they're boiled."

"Well I want a hot dog. But it's not right to boil them. I want them barbecued. They better not be boiling them. They wouldn't listen to me about barbecuing and why I can't have them boiled."

Something in me just snapped. I came to worship the Lord with joy and gladness, and enjoy the fun morning of fellowship, regardless of the menu. The coffee guy and the hot dog gal were standing within and few feet of each other and I blurted out, "We came here to worship the Lord, not the hot dogs and coffee. Let's focus on what's really important."

Susan was a bit embarrassed, but it lasted only a nano second. She was very indignant.
"Now wait a minute. I came to worship too, but I want a good hot dog too."

I bit my tongue and found a seat up front so I could enjoy the service without looking at scowling parishioners. Now I was in a bad mood. Satan was alive and present. But I prayed, asking the Lord to forgive me and surrendered my attitude to Him. I would not, and did not, let their pettiness ruin my time of worship. And it ended up really great. The singing was awesome, as was the message, and we also had a time of testimony. I sang louder than the rest because I wanted God to know I was there to worship and glorify Him, not the eats afterward. God showed up anyway, to which I am thankful.

As soon as the camp meeting was over, everyone rushed the table and piled their plates with hot dogs and the trimmings. I found my seat at a table and dug in. I happened to notice a few minutes later that Susan had a hot dog on her plate and a smile on her face. She passed by and whispered, "It all worked out Lori. They didn't boil the hot dogs, they put them in the oven." Well, praise the Lord and pass the mustard.

My friend who was disgruntled about the coffee left early in a bad mood. It was his loss. It made me very sad. And actually, this was extremely uncharacteristic of him.

When we come to church we need to enter into worship with a thankful heart, full of praise to Jesus, who reigns forever.
When we come to church we need to enter into worship with a thankful heart, full of praise to Jesus, who reigns forever. | Source

Does your congregation get distracted to petty things?

  • You don't want to know.
  • Don't even ask.
  • Some do, but it's not too bad.
  • My church seems pretty centered on lifting Jesus high.
  • Don't get me started.
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Thanksgiving and the sacrifice of praise

All this to remind us of why we come to church - to worship and glorify the Lord. Psalm 100:4 tells us "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

I will admit I have had days where I was very sad, irritable, hopeless, and cranky upon arrival at church. On a few of those occasions I did not sing, or if I did, it was by rote, duty, and without joy in the Lord. I also remember for several months being unable to focus on worship because I was so peeved that people were coming into the sanctuary with coffee and tea. I often mumbled to myself, and to God," This church is about worshiping You, not having coffee hour at Starbucks." I let my anger and annoyance rob me and God of my worship time. I wasn't alone in this, there were several others who were miffed as well. But you know what? The Lord spoke to me that these people with the coffee were worshiping with their whole hearts and I wasn't worshiping at all. I decided it wasn't a hill to die on. I had expressed my concerns to the pastor and others, and they kept saying "Church is about Jesus, not what people are drinking and wearing, etc." And He was right. I still don't like or agree with it, but it is no longer my focus.

When we come to church we need to enter into worship with a thankful heart, full of praise to Jesus, who reigns forever. When I don't "feel" like it, I now recognize I have an attitude problem and I confess it, and offer up the sacrifice of praise. I might say to the Lord while singing, "Lord, I don't feel joyful. I am grumpy or sad, but that doesn't mean that you are not worthy of my praise. So I offer to you my thanks for never changing, being grumpy, or slaying me every time I sin. I thank you for dying in my place, so that I might be right before God and given eternal life." Worshiping the Lord in church is not about what I "like" or "prefer." It's about giving glory to Jesus, period.

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Comments 14 comments

rgmg50 4 years ago

Wow, this is a trap that we all fall in. Thankfully there is repentance and forgiveness. And thankfully God does come through despite our thoughts and actions. I think sometimes we forget that we go to a service to worship God, and yes we receive as well, but the goal is to serve Him.


Rina Pinto profile image

Rina Pinto 4 years ago from Dubai - UAE

Hallelujah! & Amen .. Its a heart of worship .. whether we like it or not .. our attitude must be behind us .. we are all weak in our human state and God our Father understands this. In His Time He is gonna perfect every heart like His .. in line with our Maker .. That is His area and our duty is just to Obey and do all that we can hear Jesus lead us through His Holy Spirit. .. Where Worship there is God .. He delights in this ... God Bless ya and its a good encourager to people with such attitude. We waste our time with such stupid and ignorant thoughts while on Worship and loose our focus .. satan is cunning old fox .... knows how to get off our focus on Worshiping our Maker .. Thank you once again to be an encourager!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon

I suppose I could write a book on this subject, but, instead I will try and condense what I've learned in 40 years of growing up with God.

My early years were spent in similar disapointment. It was either the sermon, the worship, the programs, the people, where the money was going, ect. Then there were the years of settling and thinking myself as having matured. I was coming for God, to worship Him alone. It wasn't about me. Then I entered my older years and I learned that I was mistaken. It was about God, but it was about me too. It is about us. It is a collective and an individual relationship. Above everything, it is about grace. The moment I assign some personal idea of appropriateness to the way things are done I institute a form of ritual, a law and I fall from grace. I am a sinner as is every living body within the church. I now know that each and every living body within the church is an example of living under that grace and not under the law. Each and every christian I have ever met is a complainer at some time and yet, He loves us, welcomes us and excuses us. Now I smile at our foolishness, our inappropriateness, our complaining nature. Each and every one is a living example of the grace we live under. If God should extend us freedom from the law, I suppose I can too. If she doesn't want her hot dog boiled, God bless her, her complaint is covered under grace. If the old crumungeon doesn't like the coffee, God bless him, he is excused by grace. The wonder of God grace is that if someone forgets why they are in church and it is more about them than Him, they are excused by grace. And the person who attends and is lost in worship, they like the complainer will sin somewhere, sometime that day and God's wonderful grace will count them both the same. What an extraordinary privilege, we have been liberated from the law and from judging one another. When I am confronted with a complainer now, I smile knowing they and I are both the same and we are o.k. We are under grace.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Well thank you arb, for a fresh perspective. Certainly is food for thought and prayer. We are living under grace and I should extend it more, for certainly he has given me plenty. God bless you.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Great reminder for all of us -- it's all about Him! Best/Sis


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

This sounds like putting the cart before the horse...well food before God. It does sound like a wonderful thing and I am sure satan was very jealous. Look at the world today, most Christians have no idea even what their bible says. Even whole churches...they want to say we all have the same God and God forgive them and show them their err. I guess it is just a sign of the times. Glad you got to enjoy it finally.


teacherjoe52 profile image

teacherjoe52 4 years ago

Hi lambservant.

I agree. We should go to church to praise God and share good fellowship. Not, to be negative nellies.

God bless you.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

jackie, you are so right. Christians are not reading their Bibles, thus a lot of false beliefs creep in.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

I bet this story could be told a hundred times a week. I have heard of churches that have split over the color of the carpet. I mean, come on, really . . .


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I love this article. I actually laughed out loud at "Well, praise the Lord and pass the mustard." So often we get into the human flash and forget that it is not about us at all. May we all be convicted and better behaved. Thank you and bless you lambservant.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

LG, my Pastor told me that in another church he was youth pastor at, and also a member of the worship team, that the matriarch of the church accosted him 10 minutes before a worship service threatening to have him fired for using bongos during worship. He got bongos because they didn't have a drummer and they needed some help keeping the beat. She went to the board and tried her best to get him fired. All I can say is, give me a break.

HB, isn't it ridiculous how petty we can be? It was infuriating at the time, but now I too just laugh. I need to give them grace and keep a watch on my own attitudes as well. Much love sister.


FSlovenec profile image

FSlovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

Very well done..we are with the Lord to Praise Him, worship Him it is not all about me. I think we all need to remind ourselves of this simple fact and thank God you reminded me! Amen and thank you!


kenyanXstian profile image

kenyanXstian 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

You see Lambservant, this is something that happens all too often. Something happens in church that involves a brother or a sister, and the reaction is anger. This often causes someone to leave the church like the coffee brother or fail to connect with God. But I learned to ask myself this question. Who is the problem? Because if it is a brother or a sister who made you angry, why do you have to take that out on God; that is failing to connect with him in worship or quitting the church or even withdrawing membership. If someone does something that hurts you in church, they don't own the place, so go to the owner - God, and let him know about it. He will sure help you deal with the human aspect in the brother or sister.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Amen Kenyan. I have a dear friend who is no longer attending church because people made her mad, and more so, they hurt her. I know she wrestled with God and about forgiveness, which I think she has done, but she doesn't trust anymore. I understand it to a degree, if we say we have fellowship with God, we need to take the issues to Him and obey.

I know many who say, Church and Christianity just didn't work for me (not my friend, others). Their mindset is that the church and God owe them to make them happy and comfortable. They haven't allowed God into their hearts.

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