Church & Culture
Comments 11

Little rules that keep churches little


Rule #1: No Coffee in the Sanctuary

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There are different reasons why churches come up with this kind of rule. Maybe they are concern that the carpet or seats will get ruined by spilled coffee. Maybe it’s the false notion that eating or drinking in God’s house is irreverent. Maybe it’s the excuse that it is distracting to see others drink a cup of coffee in the house of God.

Whatever the reason, in my opinion – it is completely ridiculous. Would you feel the same if I brought a bottle of water into the sanctuary? Would you really be distracted if I took a sip of water from my water battle? I don’t really think so.

I am sure some of these folks mean well. They don’t want spills, distractions, irreverence etc…  Like the 89-year-old woman in my congregation who consistently asks visitors and church members to take their coffee out of the sanctuary. Unfortunately, well-meaning people always act out of a misinformed, zeal without knowledge, religious spirit with no basis in the gospel.

Quite frankly, if you read the Bible well, you will see that our faith is a breaking bread kind of faith. It is a grab a cup of coffee, sit down, let’s listen to the master, kind of faith. It is a wait for the others, pass the bread and the cup and lets fellowship one with another.

Imagine a first time visitor being told, “you can’t take a cup of coffee into the sanctuary.” Or imagine him/her being asked to go out of the sanctuary to drink his/her cup of coffee? I would never return to that church, if that happens to me. That’s why little churches remain little.

It is time for churches to get rid of that rule and allow each person the freedom and personal conviction to make such a decision.

Thanks for reading. I am sure you have an opinion, so please leave a comment or join the conversation.

 

This entry was posted in: Church & Culture

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There are three things I think about every moment of everyday... they consume me deeply. How to: 1. Refine my theological understanding 2. sharpen my ethical rigor 3. and heighten my devotional intensity. These are the things I write about. Welcome you to my blog... Join me on this incredible journey of exploration and discovery of all the things God has in store for His children. Join by following or subscribing. I appreciate your thoughts, comments and friendship. Walter

11 Comments

  1. I see your point, and it is well taken. Our church is fairly lenient on this policy ourselves.

    It does beg the question, however… How far are we willing to allow this policy to be taken? (e.g. Are people encouraged to bring their lunches into the church service?) At what point do we draw a line, or do we? While I believe in welcoming all who enter wholeheartedly and making them feel welcome, are no guidelines needed in order to prevent unnecessary distractions from the teaching? (e.g. Would this be an appropriate time to clip toe nails? It’s been done.)

    Great food for thought! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hahaha…(clip toe nails)lol. i haven’t seen that yet. I tell you what… a few weeks ago, one of our members walked into service with her little chiwawa or chihuahua. Quite frankly I was taken aback – I thought to myself, “she should know better.” As much as that bothered me, I had to extend grace. I had never seen her come with the dog before, neither has she brought the dog again.
      Last week a woman who had been homeless walked into our church with a cup of coffee from our cafeteria. this was her third visit and had expressed to me her excitement about things the Lord was doing in her life since she started coming to church. Anyways, last week she decided to rededicate her life to the Lord and get baptized. That same morning, one old time member asked her to take her cup of coffee out of the church. So she did. I felt her pain when she told me about it. i guess my point in this post is about being gracious, sensitive, and kingdom minded. When we are, things always work out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What good thoughts you’ve shared, Walter…I read this and immediately considered how our precious Lord Jesus fed thousands physically even as He fed them spiritually….and that is our example….that a caring, social connection ought to be considered always a part of any worship and ministry gathering. How easily we can get stuck in formalities and even make idols of our ‘sanctuaries’. At the same time, I also think it is good at times to set aside a reverent place where we choose to lay aside for a time our physical needs and food and drink, and to focus solely on the Lord. I suppose that how various churches choose to gather and do ‘fellowship and ministry’ together may vary and be different, and that one ‘way’ is not necessarily better than the next. Nonetheless, how good it will be for His Kingdom should we ever strive with all sincerity and love of God to welcome others, just as they are, just as they come, with open arms of love, with no thought for ‘the small stuff’ (i.e., coffee spilled on carpets), and that we will always be led by the Spirit in all of our gatherings in His Name —for where the Spirit of the Lord is — there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 Shalom & grace, Susan

    Liked by 3 people

  3. pruningthetwig says

    I think this is a brave post to share. Thank you. I think what I got from this is the fact that sometimes I miss the point. I care so much about these little things that I miss out on the most important thing… Relationships… This is what Jesus is all about. Thank you for this Mr Bright 🙂

    Blessings,
    Steph

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely little thinker of a post Walter! Thank you! And after a little pondering – I wonder if the rule “not to have a rule” about this is equally open to those who carry a pet peeve and exercise it at every opportunity. I hear it (and its variants) more and more: “I should be able to drink my coffee wherever and whenever I want to!”
    The variants always begin with I (or she or they or we) and are always followed by “should … ”

    “It is time for churches to get rid of that rule and allow each person the freedom and personal conviction to make such a decision.”
    And I find myself thinking that if this conversation is even necessary – then it is time to ask those who ARE that church just what “God” they have been taught and are protecting.

    Your serial “gatekeeper”? I would be tempted to enquire of her underwear – and (whatever colour she is not wearing) is ruled that day as the only acceptable colour for underwear in the sanctuary. And after she has been ushered out – to draw the parallel between that and “coffee”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • “It is time for churches to get rid of that rule and allow each person the freedom and personal conviction to make such a decision.” yes sir!

      Like

  5. zambydmcd says

    Great post again, Walter, touching on one of the sacred cows of the rituals we practice with little actual reference, if any at all, to what Jesus actually looks for in our gathering.

    I don’t mind so much people getting all fussy about no food or drink in the ‘sanctuary’ as long as they’re honest in giving a reason for it that is about their culture and preferences rather than making it a ‘holiness’ or ‘reverence’ matter.

    My idea of a sanctuary was not just of a place service apart, but a safe place. Little expresses safety more than being able to be relaxed, vulnerable, open, able to be attentive and having something to eat or drink as the need arises. Often the meat of the matter in the conversation is enough to fill your appetite anyway, but that surely does not mean a cup of coffee or tea or water or orange juice is not allowed.

    Thanks once more for your post, sir!

    Liked by 1 person

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