Paying Attention in Church...Yes, Even When It's Boring

Keeping Your Focus on God Even When It's Tough

teenage girl thinking
Jupiterimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Shari sits in church every Sunday, but most Sundays she’s fighting just to pay attention. Her mind wanders so much that, when the service is over, she wonders why she even came in the first place.

Is that you? Does your mind wander a lot during the service? Do you sometimes feel the pastor is just droning on and on and on - like's it's never going to end? Everyone has trouble concentrating on church sometimes.

Hey, it’s not called Sunday MORNING for nothing. It’s early, and like most teenagers you probably spent Saturday night hanging out with your friends or staying up a little late. So it’s no wonder that it is hard to concentrate sometimes.

However, there are some things you can do to get a little focus back on the service rather than letting your mind wander the entire time.

Hebrews 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
  • Ready Your Mind. You can get your mind ready for church. Usually what we get out of church comes from our attitude toward going. If you don’t want to be there then it is unlikely that you will be able to pay attention. Try to focus on the things you like about going to church and find the things you enjoy most about it. Also, remember that church is not about entertainment, but about getting closer and learning more about God.  It's not easy on those tired Sunday mornings to want anything more than to sleep a little longer, but this is our time to learn and study.  This is one of those times to grow closer to God, and in the busy rest of our week, we need to take advantage of these moments.
  • Take Notes.Take notes during the sermon. Several churches put a “Notes” page on their programs for just this reason. This isn't school, so you don't have to take super detailed notes.  You won't be tested later on how much you retain.  However, writing down some main ideas or anecdotes will help you remember what the pastor was talking about.  It will also help you keep your focus on what's being said rather than on the color of the carpet or that woman's yellow sweater...or anything else that isn't really the point of going to church.
  • Get involved. Sometimes it helps if you teach on Sundays. Maybe you can teach a Sunday School class. When you feel involved it is easier to pay attention, because you really don't have another choice. If you're leading a bible study, you're the one people are paying attention to.  You're the one speaking and teaching.  If you're leading a prayer group, you're the one setting the example and starting things off.  It makes it easier for you to not only focus at those times, but learn why it's important that you focus on the pastor when he's giving his sermon.
  • Go to a Youth Service. Nothing against hymns or sermons about marriage and growing older, but it is hard for young people to relate. A youth service usually has more modern worship and a relevant message. If you church does not have a youth service then you may want to suggest one to your pastor.  Even so, look for the broader messages in those sermons.  First, when you're looking for parts of what he's saying to apply to yourself, you'll find yourself paying more attention.  Also, you'll then find yourself getting at least something out of the service, making it seem less of a waste of time, which means it's less likely to bore you the next time.