The Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile Devices at Your Place of Worship
By: Jason Caston for AT&T
The modern worship experience looks a lot different than it did even three to five years ago. Every week, I see more and more people using their mobile devices during worship services, instead of traditional books of faith. Though the delivery method has changed to adapt to their new tech-savvy congregants, I find that the worship experience is still inspirational.
However, this new method of worship comes with its own rules of engagement. Here are some of my “Do’s” and “Don’ts” when using your mobile device during your worship experience.
Do Silence Your Device - This should go without saying, but we have all been in a worship service or meeting, when the speaker was preparing to make an important statement, when suddenly someone’s phone rings. Prior to entering the building, put your phone on silent. Not vibrate - silent.
Don’t Answer Your Phone During Service - If it is not a life-altering emergency, then it can wait. There are places where taking a phone call is just not a good idea, and worship services are near the top of that list.
Do Download a Worship App - Having access to scripture on your mobile device is a very important part of the worship experience, and most of them are free.
Don’t Become Distracted by Your Device - Participating in the service, you may hear an inspirational message that changes your life. We all have a million things to do, but it’s important to take time to refuel spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
Do Check-In - One of the best things we can do is share our inspirational experiences with others. A great way to do this, is to check-in via Facebook, Google+ or Foursquare/Swarm, and let your friends know where they can find inspiration, too. Plus, you can help provide more online visibility for your favorite place of worship.
Don’t Record the Entire Service – We know you enjoy the message, but before you record and share using your mobile device, check with your place of worship to make sure it is okay. Usually, sharing inspirational, one to two minute clips of the service is okay, but let’s not get carried away.
Do Share the Message - I have been in many services where the pastor has said, “tap your neighbor and let them know this message is for them.” That interaction allows you to reach a few people in service, but when you share an inspiring quote on Facebook or Twitter, you “tap” thousands of people. When something is said that resonates with me, I want to share it, and my mobile device lets me do it right then and there.
Don’t Interrupt Others – Keep in mind that you are not the only person at your place of worship, so try not to let your mobile usage interrupt others from enjoying the experience. Taking a selfie at an inappropriate time, or playing a game, can be distracting to others.
Do Make the Service Interactive - In addition to sharing the message with my social media friends, I have been to a few services where faith leaders ask congregants to take selfies and share them on Instagram, or provide a hashtag to start a conversation online. These mobile moments are the perfect opportunity to pull out our mobile devices, enhance our worship experience, and stay connected.
The next time you are at your place of worship, remember these tips, and you are sure to have an enjoyable worship experience, both online and offline.