Most people want to have a positive worship experience. But if you secretly want to ruin your church experience, here are seven surefire ways to do it.
1. Don’t expect anything. We typically get what we expect out of things. Church is no different. If we show up and expect it to be boring, our expectation will most likely be met. When we show up and expect to see God move in powerful ways, it is amazing how He opens our eyes to see His work in our midst. When we come to church with a spirit of anticipation and expectation, we have primed our hearts to receive the blessing of corporate worship. When we are expectant, the songs are louder, the sermon is spicier, and the fellowship is sweeter.
2. Practice buffet spirituality. If you want your church experience to stink, don’t open your Bible except on Sundays in church, don’t pray throughout the week, and don’t practice any spiritual disciplines regularly. Just show up on Sundays and wait on the preacher to feed your soul so thoroughly that you don’t have to have a vibrant devotional life throughout the week. Treat church like an all-you-can-eat spiritual buffet that will have to maintain you until the next time you show up.
3. Isolate yourself. People who slip into church, tolerate others during the greeting, and leave as soon as possible have a really good shot at ruining their worship experience. After all, who wants to hear about the problems other people have? Isolating yourself is the surest way to avoid hearing about the struggles of others. If folks are standing around warmly chatting after the service is over, do your best to avoid them. They will try to engage you in conversation and get to know you. Steer away from this at all costs! Getting to know others will enrich your worship experience, so do your best to avoid others. And whatever you do, don’t go to lunch with anyone after church!
4. Be fake. If people ask you how your week has been, politely smile and respond, “Fine. How about you?” It doesn’t really matter if your life is falling apart. If something inside of you is urging you to be transparent and ask them to pray for you, ignore it. Think of that urge as a sign of weakness. People who are serious about ruining their worship experience have to act like they have their life all together. Smile. Look pretty. Keep telling yourself that nobody really cares how you are doing.
5. Be fatigued. One of the best ways to ruin your Sunday morning worship experience is to stay out too late on Saturday night. Or if you are too old to stay “out”, just stay up until about 3 am binge-watching something on Netflix. If you are alert, you might have to stay awake and listen attentively to the sermon. Instead, prep for your Scripture-ignoring slumber by being sleep deprived as you walk into church. If you are tired enough, you can be asleep before the pastor clears the first point of his sermon.
6. Be critical. Feel free to critique the music. Is it too loud? Too new? Too old? Too pitchy? Don’t get lost in worship. Instead, stand there like Simon Cowell critiquing musical contestants on American Idol. And don’t forget the preacher! I bet his sermon is too unclear, too biblical, too long, and too loud. Don’t think of church as a worship experience to nourish your soul; think of it as a performance designed around your preferences. After all, this is what Seeker Sensitivity is all about anyway! If the service doesn’t meet your standards, let as many people as possible know. You might even want to post it on FaceBook.
7. Don’t show up. If you want to ruin your Sunday worship experience, the most sure path to success is to not show up. Go play golf. Go fishing. Sleep in. Don’t think about how your presence at church encourages others. Ignore that still small voice that reminds you that God has gifted you uniquely to build up your church. If you listen too closely to those voices, you might slip up and show up. Instead, just go AWOL.