Originally published in Christian Today
People often get distracted by so many things in life, and sadly, even Sunday worship services are affected by these.
In order to stay focused, Christian youth outreach ministry Jesus Culture is sharing ways on how people can stay engaged when they worship God.
Chris Cruz writes in their website that Christian communities gather every Sunday to worship, and even though their expression of worship varies from city to city and nation to nation, all these expressions are beautiful.
“We have passionate leaders and musicians, but despite all of that, I can still disengage in worship and never actually tap into the heart of God,” he said.
Because of this, Cruz set out to find solutions.
His first solution is for people to go to the front of the church and worship with the crowd by the stage. It does not mean those in front have something extra special included in their worship, he said. It’s just that it helps them eliminate distractions.
“The front is usually crowded and it’s difficult to look at your phone or sit down. It’s a subtraction of things that could pull me away,” he said.
Next, Cruz puts his iPhone on “Do not disturb” mode. “I am convinced that feature for the iPhone was invented for dates with my wife and intimate times with God,” he said. “It allows me to still get text messages, but it doesn’t notify me with vibrations every 10 seconds.”
A text message is such a huge temptation during worship, since people get so curious as to what is written in it. Is it an emergency? An urgent business requirement? Thinking about the message then shifts their focus from the service into something else entirely, and Cruz said it isn’t good.
“We desperately need distraction-free times with God,” he stressed. “It could be social media or emails, it’s different for everyone, but we need to be honest and remove a distraction so we can engage with what God is doing.”
Next, Cruz closes his eyes for long periods of time. When he’s not careful, he finds himself staring at the worship team for 15 minutes already without really worshipping, so it helps if he takes a step back, closes his eyes, and focus his thoughts back to God.
The fourth thing Cruz does is that he actually sings the worship songs and not just whispers them. Granted, he does not have the best voice, but he refuses to let that keep him from worshipping.
“I realized if I actually sang the songs, that all changed. When my mind was connected to the words, I found engaging in worship so much easier. Singing the songs also connects my heart to the words. It helps me personalize the song and it becomes a real time with God,” he said.
Lastly, Cruz manages to stay focused when he sings his own songs during worship. So as not to distract other members of the congregation, he keeps it on the down low. He prefers to do it when the whole church is shouting their praises, or whenever the worship instructs people to sing their own song to God.
“This personal song to Him totally helps me stay engaged in longer worship times. My heart feels known to Him in a unique way that makes corporate worship personal,” he said.