Monday, December 19, 2005

The Challenges of Gym Worship

There are certain challenges to worshiping in a gym--especially if you've been taking your three-year-old to basketball games all winter.

It's hard to keep him from bopping along during Hallelujah if he's used to grooving with the high school dance team during halftime. It's even harder to make him sit on the metal folding chairs while the bleachers look so much more fun.

We tried the bleachers once, until the birds-eye view sent him giving a play-by-play of Communion preparation. "Look, he's getting out the blood cups now!" in a loud stage whisper sent a ripple of laughter through our section.

None of his antics upset me more than the churchgoer in front of us yesterday. She brought in a steaming cup of Starbucks and sipped it throughout the service, putting it down only to receive Communion.

I know gym worship has relaxed all our standards, but please! Has Starbucks become so acceptable that people don't bat an eyelash about taking their caffeine in church?

Maybe we should go ahead and open the concession stand to raise money for the building fund. Popcorn, anyone?


Anonymous said...

I think that this is setting a really bad example for the little ones when an adult can't do without a cup of coffee during worship. Church is a place to worship, not a place to be entertained and have coffee. By the way, I really love your blog. You do such a great job. Nancy in AL.

Terri said...


I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. It's very encouraging to me!

Anonymous said...

Your little boy sounds so sweet! I got quite the giggle over the blood cups comment.

Sarah E. said...

For some reason when people have drinks in Sunday School I don't have a problem with it. I guess because the church where we used to attend before we moved offered juice, milk and doughnuts before Sunday School. I loved that. But drinks in the sanctuary during worship service, I can do without. This happens sometimes in our church unfortunately. One man got up and got a soda one night, I found out later that he is diabetic. Okay I can excuse that one but come on. It's just like some adults who can't sit through a whole worship service without getting up to use the rest room or whatever else they do.

Shannon said...

It bothers me, too, Meredith (by the way, I love your blog, too!). Beyond the occasional baby bottle I say no food or drink in the sanctuary!

Robin said...

The church I attend used to meet in various Vet's Halls. One of the advantages to that was that we could have coffee during the service.

When we finally got a full time building (an old school), food and drinks were outlawed from the sanctuary multi-purpose room beacuse of the potential mess.

I miss the old days of being able to enjoy a cup of coffee during the message. But then again my pastor teaches for a solid hour or more and I really enjoy my (decaf) coffee. In the old days I also heard that people liked the coffee and it helped people who wouldn't normally attend church feel more at home. Just anonther thought.

Layla said...

Worshipping in the gym does pose some problems, but this church seems to have a much more reverent spirit, overall, than some others in the area. (I live an almost equal distance from both your church and the one in Temple Hills.) It's the one I prefer to attend when I'm at home.

Meredith said...

"Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Robin, I guess this means caffeine and all. Thanks for giving me a gentle nudge toward a new perspective.

Layla, I didn't realize you lived so close! I also live between the two churches--in fact, we had been attending both until we made up our minds. Despite the construction hassles and enormous size, this church strikes me as having one of the most sincere and vibrant faith communities around.

MommyLydia said...

We aren't allowed to have food or drinks in our gym. (Evidently communion doesn't come under that) It's part of the contract with the school.

Can't have it in the classrooms either. So for our treats, we have to take the kids out to the open area where you ARE allowed to have it. They sell treats and coffee there for "donations" -- to encourage people to congregate there and get to know each other I'm sure.

Another large church in the area just built a new church, and deliberately put in a coffee bar in the open area outside their sanctuary.

Anonymous said...

Don't jest, there is a church in my area that has a coffee bar and another with a concession stand type set up. I agree, (Sunday school classes asside) can't we just get up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee BEFORE going to service?

Here in Arizona people are even so over paranoid about 'dehydration' that they can't let go of their bottle of water long enough to hear the word taught. If you've got a medican need, fine. If your teaching goes on for hours, ok. Pull a small bottle out of your bag, take a discreet sip and get on with it. We've got people pulling out their super-jumbo sports bottles in the thermal carriers, etc.

When people start polishing thier toes during service, I quit.

Love your blog,

Anonymous said...

I have forgotten the year, but during the Renaissance, the Pope had to forbid the drinking of hot chocolate in church, because the ladies had such a fad for it. Precedent?