What to do After the Service?

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Puritan Board Sophomore
It's not appropriate for the Sabbath though
The fact that I stop and listen to what is on people's minds shows that I care about them personally. This is one of the big problems in churches today - many people don't feel like they are cared for.
I personally would prefer what Alex says, but I am starting to also the value in what Jim says. People aren't (usually) going to just jump into these deep personal discussion without some legwork on talking on more of the mundane stuff. And, I probably will not win many people to be able to important conversations, if I harp on them for their conversation topics, especially when I do not have a long history of trying to be a sabbatarian. Maybe it is appropriate to contribute to the conversation by bringing in topics that one thinks"are spiritual"

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
It's good to want spiritual depth in our conversation, but that doesn't necessarily happen by forcing it. And for sure, it doesn't help to have someone looking over my shoulder making sure my conversation is spiritual enough for church.

I engage in all sorts of conversations at church, some of them related to the sermon or a lesson or some other spiritual topic, and some of them more mundane. All are beneficial, because they connect me with others in the body, and I need that connection. The sermon and the rest of the service content are important reasons why I am in church—probably the most important reasons—but they are not the only reasons. Nor am I convinced they should be.


Puritan Board Junior

Why can't "casual conversation" (difficult to know what you put or not put in that category) be spiritual? Everything we do is in relationship to God and in His world and what He created - whether it is the aspects of nature we enjoy, the work we do that contributes to His providential care of the world, the studies we engage in, or getting to know what is going on in people's lives so I can better understand, pray for them, or encourage them - how is that not pleasing to God or unfitting for a Sabbath?

You talk about not being able to get to know people in 20 minutes - well, you can't get to know people real well in a couple hours either. It is all a matter of how you use that time (what questions you ask) and the fact that it all accumulates. 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there, over coffee, having people in your home - its bits and pieces that you learn over time that contribute to your understanding of a person.

We typically stay for about an hour after church and I have all sorts of conversations and they are almost always beneficial in one way or another. The fact that I stop and listen to what is on people's minds shows that I care about them personally. This is one of the big problems in churches today - many people don't feel like they are cared for. Listening to them shows care. Listening also tells you a lot about that person and where you can minister to them at that point in time or down the road.

I second everything Harley said along with his quote from Hebrews 10:24-25. That's what I was getting at in my "individualism" comment. It is easy to be so focused on our own spiritual benefit that we forget about the needs of others and how often God commands us to love one another, carry one another's burdens, exhort one another, encourage one another and so on.
Indeed we should endeavour to do all to the glory of God, but just because one seeks to do one's job (for example, insurance salesman) to the glory of God does not mean that a conversation about one's week selling insurance is spiritual conversation. Such a topic is secular. If one were talking about a conversation one had with a coworker on the Gospel that would be different. But whenever people amongst ourselves talk about work it tends to be about the actual work. We are meant to set aside our work and our other lawful worldly affairs on the Sabbath.

And I agree that one doesn't usually form lifelong connections in two hours either. Forming relationships requires work and time and the Sabbath shouldn't be the day that that work is "slotted into" because, hey, we're all together anyway so that's when I'll work on getting to know people in the congregation. For our congregations truly to be a family we shouldn't rely on 20 mins or an hour once a week to talk. And yes during the week it can be hard to meet people, and often people live far away &c. but what that does is make the Sabbath the day of socialising when that's not the purpose of the Sabbath. Fellowship with one's fellow worshippers may be a part of the Sabbath, done in an orderly fashion, but the worship of God and the spending of the day in spiritual meditation is the purpose of the day. Otherwise why not have congregational picnics in the park during the Sabbath afternoon?

I'm not advocating conversation monitors and I recognise how hard it is to jump right into spiritual conversation and it's because I recognise this that I know it's very unlikely to happen over tea and coffee in the church after the sermon.
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