Here’s why you and your children may be leaving church feeling unconnected to God. There are several things I could’ve chosen to identify (The service was actually subpar, You’re suffering and its taking every ounce of faith you’ve got just to show up, You’re at church to earn heaven, You came in with an agenda, You’re pewmate’s kids are evil, You’re looking for a reason not to attend, etc). What I’d like us to think about today doesn’t involve judgment or motive. It really comes down to habit. You and your child may be getting a bad impression of church because of where you’re choosing to sit.
Before you roll your eyes, click on a new link, and decide I’m an idiot I’d like to ask you to give me a minute to convince you. Why do people want front row seats to concerts, sporting events, and their children’s plays and back row seats in schools and churches? tweet that When it comes to sports, concerts, and plays we want to sit close because we’re seeking a connection. We want athletes to hear us when we cheer, our children to see us in the crowd, and bands to look us in the eye as if we’re an audience of one. In school and church it’s the opposite. In school we’re avoiding being called on, looked down on, or standing out. In church we don’t want others to judge our singing voice our clothing choice or our kid’s behavior. It’s not about the way we feel about God it’s often about how we feel about us. For a lot of us it’s not a conscious effort to make bad grades or check out of church unnoticed as soon as communion is served or the invitation is sung. It streams from our natural desire not to stand out.
“C’mon! I don’t feel that way at all.” You might say. “I just want to sit near friends and family.” I get it. Maybe you’ve sat in the same pew for so long that the cushions are perfectly contoured to your posterior. It may not matter. Check this out
“One study discovered a direct relationship between test scores and seating distance from the front of class: students in the front, middle, and back rows of class scored 80%, 71.6%, and 68.1% respectively on course exams These finding occurs even when students are assigned to these seats by their instructor, which indicates that it is not simply due to the fact that more motivated students tend to sit in the front and center of the room. Giles, R. M. et al. (1982). Recall of lecture information: A question of what, when, and where. Medical Education, 16(5), 264-268. “ source https://www.altoona.psu.edu/fts/docs/SeatingPositionGrades.pdf
All that to say that sitting near the front automatically generates a greater feeling of connection. You intuitively know that about sporting events. People on the top row are sitting in the stands quietly observing while those on the front row are crowdsurfing. (I do not condone crowd surfing at church) Participation and connection is always better at the front. The singing is better at the front. The sermon is better at the front. You’re better at the front. Just give it a shot. You’re pew will still be contoured to your posterior if you decide to go back.