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From Emil Turner at the ABSC

I read other people's blogs to keep current, and thought I would share with you the latest post from Emil Turner. Dr. Turner is a lifelong Baptist preacher who now leads the Arkansas Baptist State Convention's ministry. Here was his post:

Weblog: Emil Turner | Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Weblog: Emil Turner

A Guide to Worship Etiquette…

FBC, Hot Springs recently included a piece in the bulletin entitled “Worship Etiquette”. The brief items included turning off cell phones, taking children to the bathroom prior to the service, actively participating in worship, having a prayerful spirit, and not leaving during the invitation. Excellent suggestions. You could also include them in the power point loop that shows prior to the service.

The Bible includes some worship etiquette among Paul’s instructions for celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and in 1 Timothy 3, and in the book of James. There we learn that we should deal with our sin before engaging in worship, that we should exercise sobriety and decorum, and that we should treat all worshippers with equal respect.

There are some other worship etiquette items I might mention.

1. Members should not park in places marked for guests.
2. Announcements should be limited to only those things not written in the bulletins or displayed in the power point loops. (Wasting time is rude)
3. Use the Bible. “Power point” scripture is convenient, but lost and unchurched people EXPECT to hear the Bible read, and to read their own Bibles. Provide Bibles for people who don’t have one, but use the Bible.
4. Someone in each worship service should make a point of praying for the worshippers. Jesus prays for those who worship Him, and nothing demonstrates compassion more than praying for the people around you.
5. Church members should ask guests, “How can we help you?”
6. Staff members should never make fun of anyone during the service. Humor at someone else’s expense is unwise, and communicates a lack of respect.
7. If you are in the choir, or if the services are televised-- stay awake! If the sermon won’t keep you awake, have a cup of coffee between Sunday School and worship.


Good behavior in worship indicates a reverence for the One whom we worship. Show kindness and respect for other worshippers because they deserve it, but also because He bestows these things on us and on them. Follow His example and you will demonstrate good manners in worship.


Emil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.


What do you consider proper etiquette at church? It should be things that will help us to remember that there are other people at church, not just us. It also shouldn't be so restrictive that it keeps people from coming to church. Just some things to ponder. I like the above list. It helps people remember that they are not the only one there.

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