Wednesday, February 13, 2008

HELP - Noisy Worshippers

I have an issue I have been praying about how to handle and I would love some advice from the blogging community.

Here is my issue: I have a certain family who enjoy talking to one another during the worship service which includes my sermon time. This past week it was pretty bad. What I could ascertain, while in the midst of preaching, is that they were discussing a newspaper article. They sit on the second pew from the front (no one ever sits on the VERY first pew) too. This has happened on other occasions but this past week was really bad.

What to do? I have talked with my PPR chair about the situation and told them that it was really distracting. It is not like these are young people and their parents are having a hard time keeping them still (I look past that and fussy babies). These are grown adults who talk in a loud whisper twenty feet away.

How do I handle it? Here are the options I am pondering:
#1: Have a private conversation with them and let them know how bad it was and how distracting it is to me.
#2: If they get as bad as they were last week, simply stop preaching for a second, give them a glare and then continue.
#3: Wire their pew with an electric shock button that I control from the pulpit. If they start to talk again, simply press the red button (the button who definitely have to be red).
#4: Use the rumor mill to my advantage and slip a very strategically placed comment to one person about the situation. Then they will hear through the grapevine that it bothers me.
#5: Do a sermon series after Easter about worship and proper ways to worship. Concentrate one Sunday on why we preach and tell the congregation my goal to be transparent and let these words be God’s Word to us. Talk about reverence, reflection, and being involved (by paying attention) in worship.

What do you think? I would love some help in this area. Anyone else dealt with this before and how did you handle it?


TN Rambler said...

I would opt for #3 myself. On a side note, I almost used #2 a couple of weeks ago when a person was clipping her nails (of all things) while we were discussing joys and concerns prior to the pastoral prayer.

Matt Akins said...

As the person who runs the sound board for 1 of the two services at my church, if I can't hear the preacher, I turn up the volume. (we normally keep the sound at about 20% of max - for what the 4 main speakers + subwoofer can handle - for when the praise band is playing. There's alot more flexibility then, as opposed to when the pastor is speaking through his wireless mic, since there's not as much feedback from the wired mics the band uses. But we can still crank the speakers up to chair-rattling levels for his sermon ... )

John Meunier said...

Go with #1, followed by #2, then #3.

Kurt M. Boemler said...

Two words:

Nerf Gun

greg milinovich said...

how about the ever-so-awkward option of calling them out by name in the middle of your sermon like school teachers used to do: "greg, if you have something that is so important to say, why don't you stand up in front of the class and say it to all of us?"

i'm not sure how grace-filled this approach is, but i'm pretty sure that they won't be talking so much during the sermon. mostly because they probably won't be back for another sermon. on second thought, maybe the aformentioned nerf gun isn't such a bad idea.

Unknown said...

Penguin, love the nerf gun idea...could take it up a notch and go super soaker or simple water balloon gernades too!

Keep 'em coming...getting some great ideas.

TN - all I have to say is ewww...come on, that is stuff that should be done before the service!

Brian Vinson said...

I had a similar experience, but I was preaching in a joint service (with the other church in town) and the culprits were two middle school boys from their Confirmation class.

It was completely distracting to me, and I knew they were distracting others, so I stopped and asked them to quiet down - they complied quickly.

Many people came to me and thanked me for that. And I've built good relationships with both kids, too.

In your case, however, since it's "after the fact" or at least "between the facts" I would probably go to them individually and ask them to keep it down.

doodlebugmom said...

I would speak with them privately. I imagine they are bothering other people around them too. I don't know when good manners disappeared, but really wish they would come back.

(I am not a pastor, just a pew filler that has been annoyed in the past by the same situation)