How to Behave and Act Inside the Church
A place of worship
A church is a religious place where a person can pray, worship and practice their religion. It is the most common used venue for mass and other religious activities like prayer meetings. Therefore it is important to observe proper behavior and etiquette when going inside the church.
Often times, you will see that there are some people who gets bored during church services. Some kids become restless and is starting to get noisy during the mass. In my experience, these kinds of things really annoys me as I have my intention to properly participate during the mass by listening and paying attention however is getting distracted by what is happening around me.
To avoid this from happening to you and to other people around you who only wants to pray peacefully without any interruptions, here are some of the things people should do or not do inside the Church.
1. Turn your phone off.
While it is okay to also have your phone on silent mode, I would say that turning off your phone is much better. This is because if you're phone is just on silent mode, whenever someone sends you a text or is calling you, chances are, you'll see your phone's screen light up and you'll take a peek to identify the person who sent you that message or worst, you'll go outside the church (interrupting your prayer) just to answer that call.
Another thing, if a person didn't switch off their phone or placed it on silent, then if your phone beeped or rang, it will be heard entirely by everyone including the priest who's holding the mass. Not only did you disrupt your own attention but you disrupted everyone else attention too. What a shame.
2. Dress Appropriately
Going to church is not an excuse for you to show off your newly bought clothes and accessories. There's a particular setting for each styles of clothes and if you are going to church don't dress up as if you're going on a party or a night out.
The best clothes to wear are clothes that doesn't show too much skin. A knee high dress with sleeves is good, partnered by comfortable closed-shoes is okay. Don't wear eye blinding accessories. If you are going to accessorize, choose a simple jewelry. A pair of pearl earring will be fine.
Don't wear racer back tops or shorts and slippers. Make sure that you are wearing your best decent outfit to look groomed and ready for worship activities.
3. Don't talk or distract your seatmates
It is considered bad manners if you talk with your seatmates while the teacher is discussing something in class. That goes the same when you're inside the church. There are times that you can talk during the mass especially if the priest told you so, like say good morning to the person sitting beside you or etc. But unless told, pay attention to the mass and not to the new gossip you're about to share to your friend or relative.
If on the other hand, someone is trying to talk to you or distract to you, it's time for you to look for a different seat or make a hush sign to the person to keep quiet. This will give them the idea that you don't want to be disturbed. Just be assertive.
4. Parents must be responsible.
If you are a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your child proper manners. Know how to properly supervise your kid. If your kid is getting noisy and is starting to get everyone's attention, tell your kid to behave. Don't wait for someone, a stranger to do the "teaching" or lecture your kid. You are the adult one, use your common sense and make sure that you are also setting a good example to your kid.
There are also some cases where a toddler or a baby starts crying so loudly. This is the time for you to exit. This is not a bad thing because you're just doing the right thing in order to avoid glaring eyes from other church goers. Going outside the church with a crying baby just means you don't want to disturb or distract the people inside. Now, to avoid this from happening, if you know that your kid will probably go wild or cry, try to educate them already on proper behavior inside the church so they'll know how what not to do.
5. Always arrive 15-30 minutes early
If you will be hearing a mass, attend a group worships or prayer activities, arrive earlier than the actual event time. This is to ensure that your entrance won't distract other people's attention on the ongoing activity. You are also doing yourself a favor because you have avoided the shame that will occur if you came late for the mass or meeting.
You can also use this 15-30 minutes time catching up with people you know attending the mass or to go to the bathroom before the mass starts.
6. Participate and Keep your intentions straight.
Going to church means that you intend to attend a mass, pray or be present in a prayer activities. This also means that you will be participating in the prayers and songs as well as listening to the readings, homily and the whole mass. What is the purpose of going to church if you won't spend your time engaging yourself into these activities.
You intention is to pray, to give thanks and ask for forgiveness. Keep that in your heart, mind and soul. Praying requires participation. It doesn't need to be commanded to you, you will do it wholeheartedly because you wanted to.
7. Make the sign of the cross
The most important thing to do as you enter the church is to make the sign of the cross. This is a way of showing respect to the Lord. Then quietly walk into the aisle and as you reach your bench genuflect as you are in front of the tabernacle because it is the most sacred area of the church.
Remember that when going to church, your mind is already set or ready to have its moment of silence and peace even just for a short time. It is a time for rest from thinking about problems at home, at work, in relationships. You are giving time to rejuvenate your heart, body and soul so use your time on church wisely.
Once you get out of the church, you'll feel a weight has been lifted even though you have no problems bothering you at all.