Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Best Available Seats

Have you ever noticed that when we fly on an airplane, we want our family to sit together? When we purchase tickets for a baseball game, we want four seats together as close as we can get? We do these things? Because we want to share in the excitement, thrills, and fellowship. Then, why at church do families sit apart from each other and as far back as they can get. Should not the church house be THE PLACE of excitement, thrills, and fellowship?
Our next question on our teen questionnaire reads:
If I could sit anywhere in church, and it would be fine, it would be:
A. On the back row 10%
B. On the front row 20%
C. With my friends 47%
D. With my family 23%

A few months ago, my sister was having her first child. Baby Caleb Sallee was born on February 1, 2009 on a Sunday morning. We went to the hospital on Saturday evening, and after a long evening of waiting, Caleb decided to cooperate. I had pre-arranged for one of our missionaries to preach that Sunday morning. By the time I left the hospital, I arrived at church that Sunday just before the preaching. I came in the back and sat in the back pew. I don't know how anyone, with a spiritual bone in their body, can sit week after week on the back pew....
Nine people left for the restroom. Three were sleeping in front of me. There were many mothers with babies sitting around me (which in my opinion is the only ones that should sit in a back pew at church), and the noise was quite distracting. You could not hear the preacher when he spoke softer. All movements and distractions were overwhelming. I enjoyed the message-the parts that I truly heard. I wasn't so much disturbed by the distractions, as for the most part they could be expected and normal. (Those that left for restroom were either visitors or those that rode our bus; the three sleeping were elderly who I consider a blessing that they have the strength to get to church; the mothers with babies is a reward from the Lord and babies make noises; the other sounds come with 120 people being people). I just don't understand why someone who loved the Lord and wanted to mature in the Lord would choose to sit in the back and miss a part or majority of a message from the Lord.
At Great American Ballpark, home of our Cincinnati Reds, the front 8 rows behind homeplate are $200 a seat! I've never sat there, but would love to have the opportunity once in my life. We cherish front row seats at concerts, sporting events, races, and more...while our front rows at church sit empty. Why?
Our young people, according to our survey, are less concerned with the geographic location of their seats, and more concerned with the associations they sit with. Only 23% desire to sit with their families in church. 47% would rather sit with their friends.
We could discuss all the reasons and disect the problems and give suggestions as to answers...but I believe a best suited principle would be...
Why do we go to church?

If we are there to worship God, shouldn't we desire to hear every word?
If we are there to learn and mature in the things of God, shouldn't we want to be in a location where we can be fed the most?
If we truly want our families strengthened and desire for our children to learn the things of God, shouldn't we sit together as a family and 'inspect' our young people listening as they should?
In my experience, the majority of young people that go on to serve God faithfully are not the ones sitting on the back pew each service, they are the ones sitting with their families towards the front of the service. It's the ones in the back that are texting in church (21st century note writing), laughing, doodlling and grossly blaspheming the Lord and His church.
Parents, let us each evaluate why we bring our families and sit in the best available seats.

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