Running late for Church..

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by BJClark, Oct 31, 2008.

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  1. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Why is it, when people are running late for work, they go anyway, when they are running late for an appointment they go anyway, yet, when it comes to running late for church, they decide not to go at all; as opposed to walking in late?

    For me, I look at it if I'm running late, I want to go anyway, so what if I miss a few announcements, or miss a song or two...I'm there for the preaching and
    teaching of God's word..

    So what is it, that causes folks, to opt out of walking in late to church?
     
  2. matt01

    matt01 Puritan Board Senior

    You already know the answer...church is not as important as all of those other things.
     
  3. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    a bigger "embarrassment factor"? Perhaps deep down they know that they have been negligent in preparing for corporate worship, and would rather not face the fact that everyone in church will thereby know it and "see their dirty laundry"? The same kind of social pressure doesn't really exist for other individual appointments, etc.
     
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I dunno...even Alfred P. Doolittle thought it was important to get to church on time (at least once). :)
     
  5. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    Or, even more unfortunately, the purpose of being at church is to be thought of highly. If that is no longer possible because you're late, why go?
     
  6. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Bobbi, because the Lord's Day is not a priority for these people. If we treat the worship of God as though it is a recreational activity, it's easy to rationalize coming in late or skipping it altogether.

    NOTE: I am not referring to genuine emergencies or acts of providence that make a person late or keep them from worship.
     
  7. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    It's possible that people are not properly preparing themselves for the sabbath therefore their priorities are misaligned. In my own life I strive to prepare for the sabbath Saturday evening this helps gathering for corporate worship with God's people on Sunday. Just to echo what Bill said, there are emergencies and acts of providence that prevent people from getting to chuch. However, I think your referring more to those who are always late or just don't show up.
     
  8. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Some churches won't let people in who are late. The doors close, and Deacons or ushers won't let them in. Or they will be chided from the pulpit by a pastor that doesn't want the sermon to be interrupted. In South Africa it's common to be singled out from the pulpit for coming in late. It happened to me once when I had car trouble, and I didn't like it. Coming back here to a liberal PCA where people pretty much came in whenever they wanted, I think I prefer the South African way. There was one couple from Latin America that literally never came on time, and the college kids with their coffee in hand wandering in only after an Elder pleaded with them.....I found it as disruptive as the young woman who would constantly whisper to her friend through the service.

    I guess ideally people would be trained, and if someone came in late it would be obvious to everyone that there was an emergency, and there would be no criticism. A good way of training would be a couple men at the door who would explain things.
     
  9. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    That's interesting about the South African Church. I think it is right and proper for Church to be a place where men/women are concerned about attending and others are concerned when they do not attend or have not prepared themselves properly. As long as people understand where that concern comes from.

    It is very frustrating to see such lack of care for worship.

    If we are ever late we would much rather suffer the looks that people give us for being late (and apologize for disrupting worship) than miss worship altogether. The problem is that, for most people, they view worship as something that is for them and so they don't think much about taking a week off. I also think it points to the "show" that many put on that wants everyone to see them as all put together instead of in desperate need of grace just like the rest of us sinners.
     
  10. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Blue Tick;

    Not necessarily always late, but even on occasion something comes up and they are running late, so they just stay home.

    It could be any number of reasons, your forgot to set the alarm, or the kids are being a pill, you and spouse had a spat that morning, and things just aren't going right that morning, and because of it, your running a little late.

    I'm not talking thirty minutes late, I'm talking even five or ten minutes. You know your leaving the house late, and there are a few lights that you'll hit because they seem to stay red a little longer..so you just don't go.
     
  11. Timothy William

    Timothy William Puritan Board Junior

    At my church, people are constantly walking in late.

    Maybe, if they are late for work they are still expected to go, and if they don't they will face greater penalties than if they are late, where as if they don't go to church people will assume they were unable to make it for some legitimate reason.

    I wouldn't like to see latecomers singled out from the pulpit (but then, I don't like to see anyone singled out from the pulpit, for any reason) but I don't think it is unreasonable to quietly ask any persistent latecomers to ensure they are on time.

    I should add, I have arrived late on too many occasions myself. It is a very easy habit to get into, especially when services start by singing four songs, three of which you won't like.
     
  12. Ex Nihilo

    Ex Nihilo Puritan Board Senior

    As someone who struggles with this problem, I can say that this is dead-on. It has nothing to do with consciously undervaluing corporate worship.

    But I dislike showing up late anywhere, though I often do. I'm not sure that I'm more likely to skip church because I'm late than I would be to skip class. I see the distinction as being between one-time appointments that I can't reschedule (like a dentist appointment or interview) and regular events (like class).

    I am glad you started this thread. It is something I have to work on.
     
  13. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    If people are consistently late I don't see a problem with the elders or the pastor gently admonishing people to be on time. I don't now if it is actually appropriate from the pulpit but after worship in private may help. I remember one time my wife and I were late to a church class and our pastor gently encouraged us that we were supposed to be there at a specific time. We were convicted. Therefore, we do make the effort to be on time.
     
  14. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    TimV;

    At our church, if they are in the middle of announcements, prayer or a song, or something the ushers have you wait at the door until it's over, then they open the door for you, that way your not interrupting that part of worship.
     
  15. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    One of my faults is running a few minutes late and it is something I am working on. I hate being late (5 min.) to church because I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think I don't value worship. But ultimately, God knows my heart and it is His opinion that matters. So I'd rather go and be a few mintes late than to neglect worship totally. I fear God more than men.
     
  16. Ex Nihilo

    Ex Nihilo Puritan Board Senior

    This is helpful, and it can be done without accusing people of not caring enough to show up on time -- which may be the problem, but it could also be a more general time management problem. Either way, the carelessness is sinful, but I think it could be discouraging to people to have their motives impugned.
     
  17. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Yes, that was the way it was in the EV Free church I grew up in, which gave me the idea of something like that being the most balanced way of handling the problem. The doors were closed at the OPC church I've just become a member of, and a few months ago my oldest son was late, saw the doors closed with an usher outside, and turned around and drove home. I thought he would be mad, but that actually helped him decide to start going to that church, as it was a refreshing change from what he saw as chaos and disrespect.
     
  18. Ex Nihilo

    Ex Nihilo Puritan Board Senior

    They leave someone outside to keep people from coming in?
     
  19. Webservant

    Webservant Puritan Board Sophomore

    I live 1/6th of a mile from our place of worship, so I have no excuse. If I ever am late, we're in big trouble because I run the sound.

    To answer the question directly, I would go anyway.
     
  20. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    He thought so, from his SA experiences, but it actually like the church Bobbi goes to and the one I grew up in.
     
  21. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

    I have been in this situation before, and I agree hearing God's word is too important to miss. My family has just walked in quietly and sat down without missing a beat. Being late is better than not attending worship at all. This is also a lesson in how we shepard our time.
     
  22. Josiah

    Josiah Puritan Board Senior

    At my former OP church, we had elders that would stand by the doors in the foyer. They were able to hear the word preached, because of a speaker system that we had wired from the sanctuary to the foyer. I had been late before, knowing that if you don't get in their on time you wont find any seating (at least none where we wanted to be, that would draw the least attention) and had sat in the foyer. It was really shameful and it kinda jolted me into being more punctual.
     
  23. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    I am currently teaching Sunday School and the Tuesday night bible study. Stragglers come in up to fifteen minutes late on a regular basis. I used to delay the start of my teaching for about five minutes to accommodate the stragglers. No longer. I start promptly. Recently there were just two people in the room when I started teaching. About ten others made their way in over the next fifteen minutes. I just kept going. I think the message is getting across.
     
  24. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Ex Nihilo;

    I know a few college professors that will shut and lock the door if your late, don't bother going into their class that day and it doesn't matter what the reason is.

    for me, I'd rather be late for worship, than not go at all..it's like my entire week if off if I miss it..
     
  25. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    That's exactly what I have to do when teaching, either Sunday School or my college courses. There is an appointed time, and if the people can't get there on time, there is no reason to penalize the rest who did arrive on time.
     
  26. Ex Nihilo

    Ex Nihilo Puritan Board Senior

    It's telling that I was never late for classes with such professors. I try to be as punctual to church, but somehow my mind, especially when I'm snatching an extra ten minutes of sleep, knows that it will be "okay" if I cut it close on time.
     
  27. Timothy William

    Timothy William Puritan Board Junior

    Our Tuesday night bible study tends to have people come late, but they either come directly from work and can't get away any earlier, or have had to rush home after work, eat dinner in a hurry and then still be late.
     
  28. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Ex Nihilo;


    There was a few times I was, my kids missed their school bus, and I had to take them to school, and thus it made me run a little late, one instructor talked so loud you could hear her outside the class, so I sat outside the class and took notes...LOL

    People walking past looked at me strange, but honestly, they didn't know if I was just early for the next class or waiting on someone inside the class to come out, and I didn't make a big deal of it, I just sat there taking my notes..
     
  29. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Stonewall Jackson was only late to a prayer meeting once, according to his wife, and then declined to enter because he did not wish to disturb the others. Normally, punctuality was his middle name. His family devotions, which included his servants, started at 7 am daily and were not delayed even if his wife was late. The Sunday school class he held for black slaves every Lord's Day afternoon started at 3 pm precisely, upon which time the doors were closed, further admittance barred, and prayers commenced.
     
  30. E Nomine

    E Nomine Puritan Board Freshman

    For the past couple of years, my family has often been late for Sunday service (we struggle with getting our toddler out of the house timely). Our regular church service starts with a half hour of worship music, and many members meander in throughout this period. It helps that it's a huge congregation with a special back section for famlies with babies.:)

    I subscribe to the old cliche "better late than never, but better never late."
     
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