Let me own up front that I am a punctuality freak. I hate to be late for anything.
So I am trying to check my idolatry/control issues up front in raising this question: could more of us church folk strive to be seated for worship at the very latest by the appointed starting time?
I get how hard this is. In our case, fifteen minutes is too little time between hours. Fellowship goes on in the lobby. Community takes place. There are no easy solutions.
But I want to suggest that the values gained by making the transition into the service in a punctual fashion outweigh those lost by doing so.
First, the missional value. Most new people will go right to a seat rather than linger in the lobby. Scanning the room for unfamiliar faces and greeting them has a powerful impact for the gospel.
Second, the community value. I know it’s tempting to think so, but announcements aren’t throw away time in a worship service. Important details about how we engage as members and do mission in our city get covered then.
Third, the worship value. Getting the heart in the right place before corporate worship takes at least a little focus time. Once the service is over, we can go hard after people. Before the service, going hard after God in preparation is a must. One reason why we do a call to worship song at 10:45 is to help with this challenge. Next time you hear that cue, please consider it a nudge to shift gears toward the welfare of the whole not just the individual. Better yet, be mindful of the time and take a seat before that cue.
We pastors everywhere thank you church goers for giving this some prayerful thought.