Little Screens and Corporate Worship

My local theater has a new “Silence Your Cell Phones” announcement.

It states that you came to the theater to enjoy what is on the big screen. And you should not allow the little screen on your cell phone to make you forget what you came to see on the big screen. This is not the time for selfies, text messages or social media. It is time to drink a cola, eat a tub of popcorn and enjoy the happenings on the big screen in front of you.

Movies are for entertainment. It may be a comedy, drama, horror, historical, adventure, fantasy or action flick. But the goal is that you leave the theater entertained. Yet theaters feel what is happening on the screen is important enough to ask you to stay off your phones while the moving is playing.

Is this too much to ask when you go to church to publicly and corporately worship the Lord Jesus Christ?

Our cell phones and tablets constantly add useful functions. As a result, some do not feel the need to come to church with anything but an iPad. Their Bibles and journals for note taking are on the tablet. And they don’t need an envelope anymore. They can give an offering through their cell phone.

The apps on our devices make life so much easier. But they make worship more difficult. Cells and tablets distract you from the truth, fellowship and service that should characterize corporate worship.

Social media is a great way to connect with family and friends. We instinctively share with our friends and followers things that catch our interest throughout the day. And this instinct naturally continues when we are in corporate worship. As we are blessed in worship, we immediately share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If something silly happens in worship, we do the same.

Is this a good thing?

I am becoming increasingly convinced that when we start sharing or recording the moment we are no longer worshiping God.

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H.B. Charles, Jr.
H.B. Charles, Jr. is a pastor, speaker, and writer. He lives with his wife and children in Jacksonville (FL), where he serves as the Senior-Pastor of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.