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6 Things Mom Taught Me About Church

6 Things Mom Taught Me About Church

I’m a preacher’s kid, so growing up, I sat on a church pew every time the doors were open (and they were hard wooden things back then).

Mom was pretty strict about attending church, and I’ve sat through about a million worship services, weddings, funerals, vacation Bible schools, Sunday school classes, revivals, youth rallies and more. Along the way, my mom had some pretty tough rules that have mostly fallen out of fashion since those days.

But after a few decades, I’m wondering if they weren’t so bad after all. Let me know if you think my mom was nuts or maybe on to something:

1. Dress up.

My mom felt that church was about honoring God, and looking right was a big part of that honor.

I had a whole collection of clip-on ties, and she made sure I was dressed up before I left the house. Today, even pastors preach in jeans and t-shirts, and the truth is, I love being casual.

But attorneys and other professions have learned that how you dress impacts your attitude and perception.

As my mom said, it shouldn’t be about pride, it should be about honor. Looking around the congregation these days, I just wonder if we could use an occasional dose of my mom’s advice.

2. Pay attention.

I got slapped a lot in church for not paying attention. Even as kids, my mom wouldn’t let us lay down on the church pew, draw in coloring books or scribble on paper.

We had to pay attention—which, if you know how easily distracted I am, was like a personal nightmare. But looking back, it taught me discipline and a remarkable amount of Bible teaching.

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."