Using Mobile Devices in Church: Acceptable or No?

If you bring a mobile devices such as a tablet or iPad to church, should you turn them off? The subject goes beyond mobile etiquette. Of course, there are people who use their devices to read a digital version of the bible (this aspect won’t apply here either). But, what about when the pastor is talking and you hear a device ringing or making a noise you know is inappropriate that has nothing to do with the sermon? What about kids sitting during service? Is it okay for them to play Angry Birds, Super Mario Run, or watch the latest video on YouTube going viral?

Thou Shalt Not Judge

We are not supposed to judge each other, so says the good book, but it is awfully hard not to in this case. Studies have shown at least 20 percent of people that go to church admit to using their mobile device during services (not for looking up scripture mind you). Who doesn’t know someone that will tweet, share a photo, or text during service? While some say it may not be such a big deal, some congregations will not deal with such distractions and have ways to deal with them when they occur.

Worshippers may be warned before service to turn off their devices out of respect, but it gets to be a bit much when someone suggests you could go to hell if you don’t do it. Let’s face it. People may not like the idea of using such a device during a church service. In fact, people may be annoyed by it and feel such people should just stay home. All we can do is ignore the action but sometimes it is not that easy.

Are More Churches Okay with It?

Some churches may let it slide because they feel the battle isn’t as important. Some churches may let it slide because they don’t want to lose parishioners or new believers. There are churches that even encourage people to bring their cell phones and snap photos of members to slap on their social media pages (if you can’t beat them join them). Since churches continue to explore ways to keep members engaged and interested they may be on to something with the inclusion of mobile devices. Church leaders exploring options including technology feel it can help people include others when they worship or even encourage people to attend church if they don’t already.

There Are Still Limits Overall

In the end, it depends on the church and its congregation. Some church leaders mention they don’t want devices on during certain times such as first communion or Palm Sunday service. Or, they want you to put off taking photos until a later time deemed appropriate. It can get embarrassing for a pastor to tell someone during a sermon to stop texting or to cool it with the selfies.

What Do You Think?

Many will agree your attention, for the most part, should be on the word or message being received during your time at church. It is funny though, because years ago you could go to a church service without mobile devices being an issue (not just because they weren’t invented yet). A device with the bible or related biblical content can be useful. It can help kids understand the bible and more likely pay attention during sermons. Checking your email during service may seem like an important task to some, but others feel like if you focus more on your device for such reasons you should just stay home.