There has been an effort to get attendees to sit closer together at testimony meetings on Wednesday evenings at my church.
Our auditorium is much larger than it needs to be and people tend to sit in the back row or in isolated spots throughout the room. They use a microphone to give testimonies when they could sit next to each other and talk face to face.
One protest that popped up in this effort to create more of a family like atmosphere where attendees come to worship God together was that some people like to sit by themselves. They don’t want other people around them. They come to church to be alone, to pray to God alone, listen to the readings alone, and ponder truth in quiet solitude. And then they go home, alone.
It occurred to me that this type of mentality sits down in a pew, and mentally sends out the signal to those around them of, “Don’t come near me. Leave me alone. I want to be by myself.” Since everything is thought, if there are enough people in the church auditorium sending out this message, the whole acreage the church building sits on will be sending that message out to their surrounding community of, “Don’t come near me. Leave me alone. I want to be by myself.” When cars drive by the lot, passengers in that car will unconsciously feel that message. They will hear in their mental ear, “Don’t come near me. I want to be left alone.” And they drive on by. When neighbors walk by the edifice on the nearby sidewalk, they will feel the same message inside, and they will keep on walking. Soon, it will be like the branch church doesn’t exist in that neighborhood, like its’ invisible.
I’m happy to report that we’ve made great progress in breaking this church-killer attitude. One member who traditionally sat in the back moved up to the second pew from the front, and several people joined her. It was fabulous! Wow, what a relief, people were sitting up by the reader and next to each other, like a family would sit. Others moved up until most everyone is sitting in the front section together now, and we can talk to each other like normal people. And the reader doesn’t feel like they have to speak to someone sitting in the next state. LOL
I look forward to more progress.
Church is about togetherness. It’s a collective experience where self gets checked outside at the door and the unity of man with God is celebrated.
People can pray at home alone, with God. But at church, it’s all about unity, oneness, and the family of God worshipping God together in one grand whole. It’s a unique spiritual experience that can’t be had in any other way. It’s about closeness, not separation.