While I truly appreciated the experience and all I learned at Rosspoint Elementary, there are many aspects of being in school that should be left behind. Unfortunately, far too many churches continue to display the following elementary school traits that prevent us from “growing up.”
1. Assigned seats – Sometimes I feel like the last five minutes before a church service can look like the school bus scene from Forrest Gump. “Can’t sit here.” “Seat’s taken.” Unfortunately, far too many visitors have already decided they won’t be coming back before they can meet their Jenny.
How about this? For the next two months, sit in a different pew every Sunday. I think you’ll find that you get quite the blessing out of it, yourself. Getting out of your comfort zone, mingling with members and visitors alike that you don’t speak to very often, can make each worship service feel fresh, new, and exciting in ways that you haven’t experienced in quite some time.
2. Fear of hand-raising – I understand that people worship in different ways, and that’s great. Some people feel led to praise the Lord by lifting their hands and shouting. Others worship silently in their seats with their heads bowed. The rest of us, though, fall somewhere in-between. As long as people are worshiping as they feel led, that’s all that matters.
However, just like the kid that is always afraid of giving the wrong answer, some church folk tend to get scared of how they will be judged and refrain from lifting their hands. Feeling as though everyone is looking at them, people tend to worship however they want…as long as it won’t draw any attention. It seems that pride is a much bigger barrier between us and God than we are willing to admit.
3. Keeping up with the Jones’ – Okay, I couldn’t figure out an elementary school term for this, even with the help of my elementary school teacher wife. But the principle still applies. If I didn’t have the latest G.I. Joe figure or Gameboy game when I was a kid, I felt completely left out. I feel the same way at church when I hear anybody use the term “Sunday best.”
In my opinion, there are very few terms that are as condescending and un-Christ-like as this one. Assuming that people should wear the best clothes they can find to come and worship is both arrogant and off-putting to those who may not have a “Sunday best” or those that may already have a negative view of “church people.” Not exactly the Great Commission, is it?
4. Lunchtime Rocks! – Not everything on the list has to be negative, right? Seriously, though, how awesome is lunchtime? Whether you are in the cafeteria talking about your favorite cartoons (Transformers, here) or at a fellowship potluck planning the next fellowship potluck, it’s good times had by all. Some of my greatest memories, both at school and church…and work…and my house, revolve around food.
Do you see any “elementary school” traits at your church?