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8 Reasons I’m Not Going to Church this Sunday

I am a Christian and yet I am sitting in my home sipping coffee while other families are scrambling to get out the door to go to church. This is not a new thing, this is not the first time or even season in my life that I have been specifically choosing to have a quiet morning at home. Sometimes I have felt judged or misunderstood. Sometimes I have felt that I am “less holy” than those who are committed to going. It’s not to say we don’t ever go to church or we won’t go regularly in the future, but in this season again, we are choosing to find an alternative. Check out the top (yes, there are usually more) reasons I might not be at church this Sunday.

7 Reasons I am not going to church this sunday | christian encouragement | church | christianity | christian blog |

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  1. I am alone. My husband works shift work. He is not dependable, at times he is working or on call and I have to go by myself, with all the kids. It isn’t a good experience, I rarely (if ever) get help, I am frustrated with the kids getting out the door, we are all stressed when we show up, and I am ready to cry by the time we get home. That is NOT what church is meant to be!
  2. It is far away. Where we live right now, there is no church. The nearest one is 45 minutes away and it is a tiny town with no where to eat. This is difficult for us in the best of circumstances, gas is atrocious up here, kids are hungry and whining afterwards, and it is a huge strain on our family just to get there.
  3. We need family time. Some weeks we get one day. One day where there aren’t a million things planned. One day where we can be together and love on each other or just have fun together. Often this is Sunday. When we don’t get this day of rest (which is what it was originally designed to be by the way) the stress level goes up, even in our marriage. We are exhausted and not taking the time to connect as a family and rather than coming home from church smiling, we come home grumpy and overwhelmed that another day is essentially gone.
  4. It is shallow. This is a tough one, and a bit more of the meat behind why we might not be going to a certain church. No church is perfect, and I am not looking for perfection. But some are just so “on the surface” that I feel like I am wasting my time. Everyone plasters on their church face and smiles and says how are you, but no one asks you anything real or gets to know your family in any way. The sermons are simple and barely skim the surface, so that no one is offended. When we walk into churches like this, it doesn’t take us long to walk the other direction, quickly.
  5. We don’t get fed. I know this is hard to hear, and a lot of Christians would (and have) told me to “not forsake the fellowship of believers”. I know it might come across as selfish to some but frankly, I am looking for solid food, not milk (Hebrews 5:12-13). When I walk into a passive little church and the message is something I heard 20 years ago in Sunday School, I may not show up next week you guys.
  6. There is nothing for the kids. No church is all of these things listed above, but if they pair one of our challenges with the fact that there is no sunday school or nursery, I’m out you guys. I have spent so many Sunday mornings sitting in a back office with all my kids, turning on Dora or something on my phone. They get nothing out of it, I get nothing out of it, it is a waste of time. If I packed up all my kids and got out the door, I am maxed, I need to know that someone is going to shower my kids with love and teach them about God in their sing song voices while mommy recharges herself. We ALL need to be refreshed, and with young kids, this is important for not only me, but them as well.
  7. We are burning out. Both my husband and I are musical. I play piano and lead worship and he plays guitar and can lead as well. While we love getting involved, there have been times when we have been folding bulletins, volunteering in the nursery and in Sunday School, leading worship, doing sound, helping clean up afterwards, and leading a women’s study, all at once! We have felt completely burnt out and used up by a few churches in the past, and it is so difficult because while we want to help and serve and share, we also are in a season of our lives with 5 young children where that is incredibly challenging.
  8. We are sick. You wouldn’t believe how often this has been the reason we are not at church. It happens, a LOT. And often, it is a result of going to church! It is so disheartening to have a toddler you bring to nursery only to have them suck on toys that are visibly dirty and they come home with a cold to share with us all.

What we do instead

If you are going to church this morning and feeling defensive, that is not my intention at all! Let me clearly state that no church is all these things and all churches are some of them [tweetthis display_mode=”button_link” remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Let me clearly state that no church is all these things and all churches are some of them. #church [/tweetthis]. We move around a lot with my husbands policing job and that means we try a lot of churches. We are not looking for a perfect church that checks off everything on our list, but we often have very limited options, and if the church is many of the items listed above then we might make a conscious choice to stay home.

7 reasons I am not going to church this morning

Where we live now we started up a group with local believers in our home on Sunday nights. We pray and worship and share our testimonies and it has been amazing to see God move each week. I am not forsaking the fellowship, I get fellowship every week, in a much more personal way than I have ever had in any church. Because it is at our house, our kids can go to bed and there is no stress. We are investing in the community that God has put us in, we are using our gifts and talents in a way that works for our family. We have the day to rest and recharge together. The older kids can be involved in the evening instead of being whisked away to do actions to a song. When we move to another community, we will try the church or churches in that area and make our decision based on what works best for our family at that time.

The reality is, there is always more than meets the eye. I struggled with not going for some time, feeling like it would show God how much I loved him if I went, if I sacrificed. But after coming home crying and tired and another busy week on the horizon week after week, I have finally found peace that it is okay. [tweetthis display_mode=”button_link” remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]Churches put pressure on you to show up, not God. God does not need a building, a pastor, a board #church[/tweetthis]. He doesn’t need a service, a greeting committee or a Sunday School room. God doesn’t want me to feel obligated or go because of duty… that is religion and that is not His intention for His people. Right now, you might love your church and that is awesome! You might be getting filled and connecting with other people and going because of all the right reasons– praise God. Or you might be like me, feeling guilted but exhausted and worn and frustrated in which case I hope this post encourages you to find what God is asking you to do.

Do you go to church? Have you ever had seasons where you don’t go? Why?

Comments

  1. Sounds like a church to me! “Church” in the NT referred to the people not the building/location etc. If we didn’t have a Bible-believing-living church here we would do “home church” in a second. “Where 2 or more are gathered in My Name, I will be there.” Thanks for blogging!

  2. This spoke to me so much. There’s so much condemnation whether intentional or not from other Christians when you tell them you don’t goto church. My daughter is homeschooled and we live out our faith everyday. Not just Sundays. I’ve been a lay leader and I remember the loneliness of feeding but not getting fed. Thank you so much for this blog!

    • Laura, that is a very true statement, “Loneliness of feeding but not getting fed!” It is so true…thanks for sharing! God Bless

  3. I can so relate to this, we didn’t do church for years even though currently we do. Our reasons initially were very much the same but then turned into a whole other thing, not sure what to call it. We lost a child that involved others, so much trauma with other believers it was not safe for us. Yes, that there is condemnation for not fitting into others molds is so very sad. So glad God is not like that! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing. We have chosen not to go for may of those reasons in the past. Currently I am missing “church”. This summer has seen our home group scattered in many different directions. I am looking forward to the fall when we can be together more often again.

  5. Hi! Have you heard of the Orthodox Christian Church? This is the original Christian church, the church of the apostles. The early Christians worshipped liturgically so does the Orthodox Church. I don’t know if there is one close to you since they are difficult to find in rural US and Canada, most Orthodox Churches are in the big cities. Kids are encouraged to worship from an early age so they are expected to be with their parents in church. Everybody is used to kids making noises, whining and talking during th services and people jokingly call it “holy noise”. I follow the podcast of one Orthodox priest from British Columbia. The podcast is called Praying in the Rain and you can find it, if you want, on Ancient Faith Radio.
    I enjoyed your article n homeschooling. Irena from Texas 🙂

  6. Just found your blog and I’m sooooo enjoying reading it all. Thank you for taking the time to share your life. We left traditional church six years ago and have been doing house church. We have learned so much more on our own since.

  7. I agree with all of this. Our church is going through a lot of upheaval, lots of changes in the last few years, lots of hurt, not enough healing, weak leaders who continue to let hurt happen, etc. And we’re not in a position to change churches. In the small northern city that we live, there are not very many evangelical antibaptist Christian churches. I was also born into our church and have been attending for almost 29 years. It’s not so easy to go somewhere else. So we’ve gone through many periods of not attending. I fully understand what you’re going through.

  8. My husband and I are former pastors who left the church 23 years ago. At first we tried Breaking our church into a network of home churches. Before the last 18 years we have been in organic church. We have a big family that we interact with, many friends locally and across the nation and we are never short of those together with. We also have a ministry Where we serve others outside the church walls two weekends a month. It amazes me how institutional Christians will homeschool their children and yet judge and condemn those who want to home church. The early Christians were not liturgical, they were relational. And today’s church has lost the art of relationship. Therefore individual Christians do not know how to have a relationship with God outside of an institution. Here’s a thought, feed yourselves. It’s so good to hear that you and your family know how to feed yourselves and share with others.
    Therefore individual Christians do not know how to have a relationship with God outside of an institution. Here’s a thought, feed yourselves. It’s so good to hear that you and your family know how to feed yourselves and share with others.
    On occasion my husband and I have visited church, but what we find is so confining. I cannot be limited to what goes on on a Sunday morning. My walk with the Lord is so much bigger than that.

  9. Thank you so much for this blog post. My husband and I are in the process of transitioning our family out of a church, which we helped plant, in order start a home church. I am nervous about it, but only because I like familiarity and it’s different than anything else I’ve ever experienced in my life–having been in “institutional church” (as someone referred to it in another comment) my whole life. It feels confusing to not do what I’ve done my whole life, but also exciting to break chains off me to experience more freedom in Christ.

  10. My workplace IS my church. I work in a library. And the God of my understanding does not begrudge my sleeping in on a Sunday morning. That is my day of rest. I read my Bible and prayer book. I meditate. As an introvert, this works for me. I’m a single woman and am not welcome in a traditional church anyway.

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