According to ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association), ADHD is a highly genetic, brain-based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors. All of us probably know someone who has lived with this disorder and had to learn ways to compensate for the challenges ADHD presents.
But, what about ADWD? Attention Deficit Worship Disorder?
Okay, I made it up. But, I believe it is a real thing that we all deal with every time the church gathers to worship. If you spend even a little time observing a congregation during a worship service, you will see people who are having a hard time keeping their focus on the goal, the worship of Jesus. The distraction of others can often be a distraction to us!
Here are three suggestions of how to compensate for this disorder in your own life. Maybe you can share these thoughts with the people you lead and see if more focus can come to our times of worship.
- Observe a media fast before worship.
What do you do when you wake up on Sunday? Turn on the news? Read the paper? Check out Instagram or Facebook? Why not start your day of worship with a blackout of outside information that will only take your mind back to the news cycle or to the sports schedule for the day? You will have plenty of time to catch up on all those things after worship. Why not block out every outside voice from the time you wake up and start putting your mind in a frame of focus on the One whose voice you really want to hear today.
- Let the praises ring!
With the TV off, your social media silent, and the paper waiting till the afternoon, why not crank up music that honors the Lord and proclaims His attributes and glory as you are preparing for church? Fill your house with the worship of Jesus and get everyone singing along. Athletes get their “game face” on before the contest begins. Why don’t you get your “praise face” on long before church begins? Your kids will quickly adjust to this if you will take the lead on it. They too can start focusing on the Lord as they get ready for church.
- Leave your phone at home.
If it’s in your pocket, it will be in your hand during worship. And if it’s in your hand, you will be going back and forth to your phone during the worship time. If you use your phone to read your Bible, you might have to take a Bible with you instead – one that you can write in and interact with during the teaching.
I never take my phone to church, because I know what I would do if I had it with me. This might be the first step toward curing ADWD in your life. It is a big deal for me, for sure.
In Matthew 26, we read the story of the woman who poured out an expensive perfume on Jesus in worship. There are many things to learn in this story, but one of them for me is how much intentional worship requires. She had a singular focus on worshipping Jesus to the point that the cost, the opinion of others, the challenges of getting to Jesus, and more didn’t matter. She was there to do one thing, and she did it. Because of her worship, Jesus said her sacrifice would always be remembered.
How about us? Do we have that kind of focus? Or, is our worship filled with so many distractions, we don’t even hear the voice of the One we are there to worship?
May the Lord help us. And, may we model intentionality in worship and help our people find the cure for ADWD.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.