Handling Interruptions in Worship Services

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article by Joe McKeever. You can read the full article in this week’s edition of Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox. Enjoy!

Most church interruptions and disruptions are not as dramatic as gunshots, as dangerous as bomb threats, or as unnerving as a wild-eyed schizophrenic. They might be as routine as a baby crying, as bothersome as someone simply talking too loud, or as distracting as unsupervised children misbehaving in the balcony. In any case, these situations threaten to end the worship service for everyone around them.

Church leaders are frequently in a tough situation during these interruptions. Deal with the distraction and you offend the parties involved. Ignore it, and you betray the larger crowd, those who came to worship God. If one has to err, it’s better to err on the side of the larger group.

Most large churches have faced these situations and developed plans for dealing with such interruptions. They will frequently have a small group of men in the area of the pulpit to protect that section of the sanctuary from harm or intrusion. They will also have a plan for dealing with other distractions, everything from a crying baby to a pet getting loose in the sanctuary. In most cases, this falls under the responsibility of well-trained ushers.

A church needs a plan. No matter the size, every church needs a plan. For the smaller churches, that plan might require one or two people to be designated, trained, and prepared to handle any emergency that might come up. The pastor will need to take the lead in this, and then will need to remind the others involved from time to time to stay on their toes.

Having pastored for more than 40 years, I’ve seen most of the emergencies that churches get into. Frequently, when someone is causing a disturbance, no one will take it upon themselves to get up and deal with the problem. I’m confident they’re sitting there thinking, “Someone ought to do something.”

“You are the someone,” I tell our church leadership. “Do not wait for a minister to come down from the pulpit to handle it. You are the person in charge.”

JoeMcKeever.jpg*Joe McKeever is director of missions of the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. For more of Joe’s articles, visit his Web site at www.joemckeever.com. ©Copyright 2007. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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