Church is boring

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Church is boring. Right?

No matter what setting one is in the same basic activities are done each worship service. Sing, pray, Scripture reading, announcements, some sort of preaching, fellowship. Did I mention singing? However a worship service is set-up it is most likely going to be similar week after week.

Even if worship time is more varied people will still think it boring at times.

Whether it is boredom or some other attitude of doom it all points back to the lens in which worship time is viewed. The lens of sin. Of course, everything you do is tainted by sin as God is sanctifying you. This does not mean that every thought is not taken captive and focused on Christ as Scripture commands in 2 Corinthians 10:5-6.

God gives everything from jobs to homes to families. Some even complain about these things! Many people hate their jobs yet put up with them daily because they feel they have to. Yet, the same people come freely to worship God and complain about being bored.

God is not here to entertain you.

God does not need worship as if it completes Him in some way. Sinners on the other hand… Sinners, you, need to worship God. You experience God’s grace in forgiveness, mercy, love, fellowship, etc. in worship. And, you get to go home thankful afterward.

You get all of this in spite of yourself. God accepts your worship in spite of that last sinful thought prior to singing or saying that last “Amen.”

God accepts your worship and feeds you spiritually during worship all because of what Jesus has done on your behalf in the Gospel. You do not even deserve to worship the way you do! Nor to complain about it.

If you think that your boredom problem is a need to be met, you do not understand your true needs in Christ.

What do you tell people who complain about being bored? Or who complain about any aspect of the worship service? What do you tell yourself?

The above article was posted on December 1, 2009 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 pamsnyder December 1, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I think the problem with boredom stems from the lack of involvement of the congregation. I’m sure no one on stage (performing) is bored. It’s the congregation (audience) that is bored. Is there a way to “do church” without a performance/audience paradigm? There is in small, organic type churches, but is there a way in a larger setting? I don’t have an answer, but I think it merits some pondering. In small groups where everyone has a say or a part, there’s no complaining about being bored. The boredom comes from the congregation being the audience and the praise team and pastor being the performers. The people in charge have to change that first otherwise church becomes a sacrifice for God. I put my time in to “honor God.” What would Jesus Do?

2 Mark Lamprecht December 1, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Hi Pam, I’m not so sure that smaller and more interactive churches would ultimately “solve” boredom. I understand what you are saying about the performance/audience setting. Though I think it unfair and unhelpful to reference it as such.

It seems to have more to do with the American culture than the method of worship structure. I have no idea of the folks back in Jonathan Edwards day were bored, but Edwards gave long monotone sermons and many came to faith in Christ through them. It seems in today’s culture no matter what type of entertainment is given it soon becomes not enough. People start looking for something bigger and better.

Maybe what you propose in the smaller setting would be better for some people. However, where ever we worship we need the right perspective of why we are there. I mean that we should get rid of any attitude of being entertained and/or that there is something we deserve to have in some manner to satisfy a specific want.

There are some more thoughts from my perspective. Thanks for stopping by.

3 sdansmith December 2, 2009 at 10:26 am

I was bored growing up in a small church in Kansas, and I taught Sunday School as a high schooler, so the fact is that I wasn’t bored because of a lack of interaction. The problem was that it wasn’t a priority to me. Football, running, blogging, the Navy…all of that stuff is priority to me, so I do it and usually do it happily (or watch happily in the case of football). Church is different. In my nature, I am not excited about church. I know. I just admitted that I’m a horrible person. But if I can do that then maybe I can move forward.

4 pamsnyder December 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I’ve been on both sides of this fence. I used to wonder why people wouldn’t be sitting in the pew every chance they got. Now I wonder how ever did we get in the rut we are in. My intent is not to criticize the way church is done. God can get through to people in whatever setting, but in this day and age with our culture inundated with entertainment, it’s hard not to see the Sunday morning worship service as entertainment based whether that’s the intent or not. I’ve been on the side of the fence that criticized the people with the wrong attitudes coming to church, putting in their time, so to speak. That also is unfair and unhelpful. Rather than have the bored ones buck up and put their time in, why not look at new wine skins. It’s much harder to be bored when you have an active part in the proceedings. What can lead the people into a deeper relationship with Jesus that will take care of the boredom. These are just thoughts. Like I said, I believe there is a place for the big church worship service. There’s nothing to compare to a group of God’s people lifting their voices in worship, but it’s too easy to become a spectator when it’s three songs and a sermon each and every Sunday morning.

5 Jeffrey Holton December 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

This blog isn’t the time to get into a debate on the issue, but let me say that for all the time I spend being critical of the person-oriented “seeker service,” the best argument in their defense is that they’ve solved the “church is boring” claim. People who otherwise would never ponder spiritual thoughts are getting some exposure, and a chance to at least understand what it is that they’re saying no to. [But they’re not getting church, argh!]

That being said, I teach high school Sunday School at a *very* liturgy-based church. Every year, on the first day of class, I remind the kids of an article I read that said people stop going to church because it’s boring. I let them know that if they’re bored, they’re probably not quite clear on what it is that’s going on, because the services are rich, varied, complex, complicated, and amazingly, mind-blowingly incomprehensible at times (in keeping with the awesomeness of God). I encourage them to ask a lot of questions, even if they don’t get the answers.

Keep asking questions. It keeps our minds knowing that there’s something else to learn instead of blaming someone else for our lack of interest.

6 Mark Lamprecht December 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Jeff, good thoughts. I agree that the seeker folks have created environments that are not “boring.” But then there is that problem of the Gospel and/or maturity and growth in Christ. I.e. Willow Creek’s Reveal study.

I know what you mean about the kids as I teach middle-school boys SS. Part of the problem with youth groups sometimes is they focus too much on being “exciting” in a worldly-type of way. The youth get used to be entertained and miss the real reason they are there. Some how it seems we’d do better if we could get them serving the church in different capacities. That is, giving instead of just receiving.

7 tiro December 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm

“Hi Pam, I’m not so sure that smaller and more interactive churches would ultimately “solve” boredom.”

They actually solve a large part of it by involving those who want to be involved instead of sitting and listening. Seeker churches solve newbie problems, but we don’t stay newbie’s forever. At some point the newbie’s are going to get full up on the seeker programs and want something more. It appears that the church in general needs diversity in how church is done in order to reach all.

8 <MikeLu February 21, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Do you want to know why church is boring? It is simple. It is because it IS boring. Pampered priests carrying out orders from
some old man back in Rome. But when a parishoner asks an honest question about the faith, then the priest makes the person feel guilty. Do you want to know what would make church more interesting? Debates. Many people have questions
but are afraid to ask. Most are like my old aunt. When I asked her why she believes this way she says that it was the way
she was TOLD to believe. She is just another robot in the church, afraid to ask questions and always ASSUMING that she
was told the truth, even when it does not make sense.

9 Rocky Henriques February 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm

First time here, but I’ve got to weigh in. Someone has made the comment about church not being boring to the pastor and worship team, but that it’s the congregation that is bored. Sometimes it helps to “reframe” the issue. In this case, let’s compare going to church with watching a television program. Those of us who are watching could be compared to the congregation in the church. If the program is something we are interested in, we won’t be bored. But if we are not interested, we change the channel. I realize it’s not as simple as this, but there is certainly something to be said about our own interest level. If it is something I am not interested in, then I will be bored. It’s just too, too easy to assume that if I am bored, then it must be someone else’s fault.

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