9 Excuses You Don’t Have to Miss Church

It’s not too early… You would have already been at work.

You’re not too tired… You’d find a way to make it to something else.

You have enough time… You waste more than enough time watching reality TV.

It’s not boring… Try someplace else if they can’t get excited about Jesus. And, you know, it might not be the preacher, or the worship; it might be your heart.

They don’t want your money… If in doubt, just go where the pastor drives a used car (which are most).

You can dress decently… No, you’re not going to Wal-Mart, but you never complain about wearing clean clothes a party.

The seats are not that uncomfortable… Good grief, you sat in bleachers for 3 hours at a ball game – and sweat the whole time!

The people are not a bunch of hypocrites… To be honest, there are just as many or more at a ball game or the office. For that matter, are there skeletons in your closet? Do you wear makeup? Ever feel like you have to wear a mask? Then what are you complaining about?

It’s NOT optional as a Christian… “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25 NLT

 

 

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43 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Church, worship

43 responses to “9 Excuses You Don’t Have to Miss Church

  1. Good list Anthony, I have heard all of these. The one that bothers me the most is the last one.

    Absolutely impossible to make a biblical case that church is optional. Not required for salvation for sure but we are supposed to go.

    • Yep yep. Yet folks persist.

      • I think they don’t go to church because they don’t want to, the “reasons” they give are just excuses.

        Church is one of the highlights of my week, I hate missing it.

      • You know Wednesday was the day after Mom died, and people coming by and calling seemed mildly surprised I planned on going Wednesday night. And that surprised me that they seemed surprised. Where else would I want to go besides to the place where people love and comfort me?

        I hate missing it, too. In fact, I am on call today, so pray the all of the guys working just do what they need to do and don’t need my intervention

  2. That was fairly perfect Brother Anthony. And fairly direct and to the point as well. Well done. And thanks for writing my next Sunday morning post too LOL.

  3. I hate the music and the preaching is even worse. I’ll pass.

    • Thanks for commenting, Jamie. But it sounds like you may have other issues besides that. There’s way more than one style of music, and tons of different preachers.

      • Undoubtedly, but that’s the problem with being surrounded by churches that tend toward hymns-only and complementarianism. I haven’t found a single contemporary egalitarian church in my own county and I’m not looking forward to the long drive into the next country to try my luck.

      • Jamie (male/female?), that’s unfortunate. However, not finding a “perfect” church fellowship is not an excuse, either. Part of what helps us grow as believers is the committed and faithful fellowship with fellow believers, even those who grate our nerves – that’s what “family” does.

      • Yes, it is unfortunate. (Does it matter? Would your answer be any different if I specified one over the other? If so, then that’s one of the problems with Christianity.) This is long past grating on the nerves. I was generous in giving this type of church two and a half years to win me over, but if anything – it did the opposite by driving a wedge between us. Instead of growing, I withered. Instead of finding fellowship, I was an outsider. Sure they were committed and faithful to fellow insiders, but they never bothered to get to know me. That’s the kind of “family” I just don’t need. Sadly, they’re everywhere in this county. People who are well-suited / well-matched to their current churches often can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be going to the opposite sort of church – give it a try for two and half years and let me know if it did you any good at all and you might understand the frustration of it all.

      • Actually, don’t you think it could make a difference in perspective? Is it fair for a woman to tell a man to go have a baby and then report on the experience? It was just a question meant to get to know you a fraction of a bit better. Wasn’t it a complaint of yours that nobody tried to get to know you? Please forgive me if I offended you, for I can “hear” the bitterness and hurt in your words.

        I’m interested in a few things you wrote. What were the “wedge” issues? Why did you need to be “won over”? Also, what would it take to be “well-suited / well-matched”? And, just out of curiosity, where is “this country”?

      • Do you remember the story of the night that Jesus prayed in the garden? He told most of them to stay back, but he let some of them come with him a little further, then he went on alone? Christianity’s emphasis on the gender hierarchy does much the same thing, except for it’s longer than one night. Many sisters in Christ must go through their husbands in order to get to God. The order they teach isn’t in terms of husband/wife though, its: God > Christ > Man > Woman (1 Corinthians 11) This means that there is a tendency to treat men and women differently, and single women are often side-lined because they have no man through whom their relationship to Christ and his Church can be restored. Until everyone is on level ground, I won’t support this teaching. I won’t prop it up because it’s a twisted version that has been used to permit domestic violence and I think God would be upset that people sanctify abuse rather than deal with it just so they can keep their precious hierarchy.
        What bothers me is this assumption: “Jamie must like what I like in a church because this is what I like in a church. Jamie must have grown up singing the songs I grew up singing.” Thing is – I’m not a local, I never grew up singing these songs, I never had much experience with that type of church. One example of what I’m talking about was the day that a woman stopped me outside of the church to ask: “Are you new here?” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I had been attending for over a year. In a church of barely a hundred people, I wasn’t surprised. When the regulars, the members, the insiders, are so used to one another, they form such a close circle that anyone new doesn’t stand a chance of being invited in. It probably doesn’t help that I’m one of the few millennials who still bother to go to church, so most of the other people closest to my age just aren’t close enough to be comfortable. There’s just not enough millennials to form our own group. So by default I’m just excluded in general.
        Hm. I thought i typed ‘county’ but I guess I typo’d ‘country’ sometimes my fingers aren’t on the same page as my thoughts. If you ever see a picture of the States at night, look for that really dark patch, right about the middle there is where I’m at. Out in the countryside the towns are specks and there just isn’t a lot of choice (or diversity for that matter.) You’re in a church that doesn’t put you in a bad mood, make you sick of showing up, tired of the same old, same old, but is the sort of place that you can leave with a smile, or singing that song you like, knowing that the people around you care enough to support you. I don’t have that. It’s more like a time-card around here, show up, punch the ticket, get outta the building quick. You can’t wait to go to church? I’d rather be somewhere … anywhere else.

    • Hi Jamie! I perused down through the conversation and found it interesting, as well as saddening to me. Sounds like I was around your age back in the 70’s, also in a small town (3000) and “drums were of the devil”, so I can sort of relate. And, oh yeah, the whole gender thing, which BTW has been kicked around a l-o-n-g time. (I even wore a “headcovering for awhile, let me tell you about THAT one!) Unfortunately, there’s still much confusion within the church as to a woman’s role in church government, and it does take quite a bit of patience and grace while allowing God to navigate us to the place of His choice, regardless of the cultural pecularities. In fact, one of my consistent prayers for myself and my family is that He would put us where we can be most intimate with Him AND most effective for His people. You have gifts that the body of Christ needs–badly–and who knows? Maybe that church was meant to be a “mission field” for you (or not, just a thought….but it could be an interesting experiment IF God so leads you in that way.) I will say that offense will blind us to His special callings, whereas persistent endurance–including not giving up “assembling together” in whatever creative fashion that may take–will please Him and bless you and others greatly. Hang in there, dear one!! It’s just a page, not the whole book. DawnLizJones

      • I’m so glad you left a comment.

      • Forgive me for using your blog so much. I will like to visit her sight also. You are a blessing!!

      • It’s sad though, in two millennia Christians can make slavery illegal and challenge racism, and yet there’s a tendency to downplay the role and gifts of women. I saw one widow talking about her search for a church where the Bible was taught literally so that she could be silent like Scripture says (1 Cor. 14:34.) Seen … but not heard; as if she were a child – and she’s believes that this is godly, biblical, and ordered as a law for all women to obey until the trumpet sounds? It just doesn’t seem to match with the example of Jesus and his interaction with women, he valued hearing their voices, thoughts, and perspectives.
        I welcome any thoughts you might have on Head Covering. The only lady in my family who had any experience with them was my grandmother who said that they were just the fashion of the time and they had no particular meaning. It’s fascinating to see how a tradition is interpreted and applied through different denominations as it causes some interesting variations.
        The funny thing about music is that it affects everyone differently, though nowhere else would a person be made to participate with music they don’t like. At the occasional roller rink party as a kid, I was never required to do the chicken dance or the hokey pokey, I always had the option of leaving the floor at any time. Christianity is like a party with a bad host that way. Like roller rink parties, there’s a list of the order of worship and we start with the first one and work our way to the end. Only we have no choice in the music. Somebody who lived and died centuries ago wrote the songs and we’re stuck with them. That’s really the story – long before I was born, somebody somewhere decided how to run the thing. Then it became tradition. Now it’s tradition for the sake of tradition. Thing is, that tradition was long before my time and I don’t feel that there’s a place for me in the church. If people want the past to reign, fine. But I’m going to live in the present.

      • I’m going to sleep, now. It’s WAY past my bedtime. But before I go, let me just say that you keep bringing up examples of things that are, generally speaking, not as common as you may think. Either that, or a whole lot of churches down here in the south have progressed (in a positive way) a lot more than where you are. Sure, I could get in the car and drive you to several that are like you describe, but I could also take you to a bunch more that are not.

        I’m glad we’ve gotten the opportunity to talk. I’m sure it will be a mutually beneficial learning experience.

      • Where has the time gone? It’s a little bit later than I’d like as well. I’ll take it as good news – perhaps one day a better church might opt to plant a church out here that’s different from there rest … it would probably make a big difference.

      • Again, I feel constrained to apologize for the lack of care you have experienced. And I would also caution against lumping these unfortunate experiences together under the umbrella of “Christianity” or even “church”. The Holy Spirit expresses Himself in so many ways, and we are collectively and individually “the church”, not merely some building we may choose to attend. I do hope you are able to find an assembly where you feel more fitted and have written your name in my prayer journal. In the meantime, I offer this as just another thought: http://www.ibethel.org/

      • I”m not sure if there is a word for “church” or “Christians” that distinctly separate them as the bad kind as distinct from the good kind. I’m just glad I never had a run-in with a worst case scenario church – like this one: http://www.washingtonian.com/2016/02/14/the-sex-abuse-scandal-that-devastated-a-suburban-megachurch-sovereign-grace-ministries/ it just worries me when I see shades of the same theology that this one has in other churches. I never could stand someone – anyone being hurt.

      • I read most of the article attached to the above link. Yes, it was tragic. But is was also avoidable. It is NOT biblical to have church that can’t be questioned. Numerous times I have begged my congregation to be Bereans and search the Scripture to make sure what I preach is correct. I am not above being shown I’m in error. Maybe that’s why I don’t fly a jet.

      • It’s part of the reason why I came to believe that having checks and balances shouldn’t just apply to our government, but church governments as well. Since power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, then spiritual power corrupts spiritually – and this teaching is designed around the ideas of spiritual power, spiritual authority, and spiritual covering. In the same way that the Shepherding Movement told ‘sheep’ to submit to the ‘shepherds’ over them, the church congregations are the flock who are to submit to the plurality of elders who call the shots. Some churches have been known to put it’s members through formal discipline for asking too many questions. Most recently, the former pastor of that church was one of the featured speakers at the conference in Louisville, there were protestors there who tried to get the word out but they were ignored by the many thousands who are his fans. When I saw that he preached on Job, I couldn’t help but wonder if he saw himself as Job being persecuted and suffering for God’s glory. He seems to be on some whole other level of Christianity, one where the ends justifies the means – and that kind of logic makes it a dangerous thing for the unfortunate people who are a means to an end.

      • And as Solomon said, there is truly nothing new under the sun. Christianity has always had it’s most powerful enemies from within who have tried to define what it is to be a follower of Jesus other than how Jesus defines it.

  4. Pastor Anthony, Would I be steeling if I took your idea and remodified it for the men’s pray group at my church, may I please? Blessing and love to you and your family!

  5. To Jamie Carter, and anyone else, I need to pound the pulpit… not really, I’m kidding. Actually, I just want to say that I hurt for you. I am so sorry that you were/are treated poorly in a place which should love you. I’m sorry to hear of congregations that fail to live up to their calling. On the other hand, there is no perfect church, nowhere.

    Just today I heard music I wasn’t exactly fond of. I spoke with two people who got their feelings hurt over something silly, albeit very important to one of them. I’ve been hurt so badly by people from within the very congregation I pastor that I’ve considered options FAR worse than simply leaving the ministry. But am I a perfect pastor? Heck no! Yet, I can’t quit going to church.

    These people are my flock, my charge, my responsibility – because they belong to Christ, the Chief Shepherd. I love them because He loves me. I forgive them because He forgives me. I put up with things I don’t like because He went to the Cross for me and purchased them (and me) with his blood. Acts 20:28 – “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

    Most people (especially in America) have more than a few options. When it comes to churches, there’s usually more than one congregation of believer to chose from. However, I understand that there are places where relatively healthy churches are hard to find. All I can say is that the command to associate still stands, and ultimately it’s not all about us. If you live in a place where there is not a church that is meeting a need, maybe a new congregation needs to be planted. Pray for that need to be met. Try to be part of the answer to prayer.

    Ultimately, I love Jesus. I desire to be around people who love Him, too. I want to gather with others of like faith as often as I can because of Jesus. Jesus so closely identified with the church that when Jesus stopped him in the middle of the road He asked, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?” Not the church, but “ME.” It might be that I change congregations now and then for whatever reason, but I always find myself back in church somewhere. For crying out loud, I even go to church when I’m on vacation!

    • Sometimes I wonder what the church really is – I’ve been to so many church buildings, but sometimes they’re just empty shells where people gather together one day in seven. I’ve also been among many gatherings of believers, but there’s no fellowship. I could sit by the same people week after week and they don’t know me. I’ve been churched ever since I was little, but I don’t know if I do church at all. So many denominations say “We are the one true church” or “We are the truest expression of church” but I don’t always see Jesus there. Especially these days, there is a church that throws Jesus’ name around and treats him like a mascot for the team, but they certainly don’t act as if they follow Jesus at all. Church may be God’s home, but so very often it doesn’t feel like my own.

      • Jamie, if you don’t get anything else out of visiting my blog, I hope you find some encouragement. – gosh, I’m still sick (24-hour bug), and it’s harder to type than I thought it would be –

        Church is nothing more than the gathering together of believers in and followers of Jesus Christ with the purpose of corporate (as a group) worship and edification (both of the group and individually). To be a biblical church there must also be some form of leadership (pastor, bishop, etc.) which fulfills the role of “undershepherd.” All of that can be found in 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Ephesians, etc. A church can meet anywhere, under lots of labels, with a variety of ecclesiastical structures.

        Any denomination that literally says it is the “only” one is subject to be labeled a cult. For crying out loud, I’m a Southern Baptist, but I know there are plenty of believers in other denominations. We may do things differently, but the key is what Jesus asked Peter, “Who do men say that I am?” If we get it right on Jesus, then we’re family (but, of course, that is a subject to be careful with, too).

        Church is NOT God’s home. In Acts 17 Paul made it clear to the Athenians that God does not dwell in temples made with hands. Church buildings are nothing more than gathering places for the REAL temples of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16).

        After reading your comments about the places you have attended, all I can say is that you’ve been subjected to a string of legalistic, abusive, unbiblical teaching. You might even label me as a complementarian, but for crying out loud I’m nothing like the ones you’ve described in your blog. All I can say is that if you attended where I pastor you would see the difference.

        I never intended this blog post to stir up so much, but maybe it was meant for you. You are loved by God. People may fail you and disappoint you, but Jesus never will. I pray you will find a place to worship with other believers, a place where you are welcome. In the meantime, do your best to keep a tender heart, and try to love others the way Jesus loves you.

        AND, single women are awesome! Ever heard of Lottie Moon?

      • Actually, I was wondering if God hadn’t put me here for you – to show you the flip-side of your Christianity. You see, I mostly attended Southern Baptist Churches where I learned this – we would take up the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings each year, but at the same time my youth pastor (now he’s the pastor of his own church) would reproach the young girls for volunteering to lead the prayer when boys where in the room because: “God really wants to hear the boys.” In a Christianity where only men were visible, where only men were the ones through whom God spoke, and where men were in charge of carrying out communion or taking up offering – it seemed to me that the role of women was to complement the men by doing things out of sight and out of mind. Once i had left the SBC, I read up on the conservative resurgence and found a new appreciation for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship who were founded on the principle which was founded on the affirmation of women in ministry. Sadly, I live in a county that’s 80% SBC churches and now that I’m a theological opposite I just don’t think I’d be welcome to have my own beliefs, y’know? Baptists go to baptist churches, methodists to methodist churches, non-denoms to non-denom churches. It throws a wrench into the cosmic order to be the sole egalitarian, sort-of arminian non-denom in a complementarian, calvinist, SBC church. For me, I can sit under women or men teaching without having a problem, but for others, they’d sooner walk out on a woman “speaking” (not preaching) from the “music stand” (not pulpit, that’s holy ground) just because they read the Bible in such a way it gives them permission to do so. Isn’t it sort of telling anyway that Lottie Moon (1840-1912) and Annie Armstrong (1850-1938) have been gone for a century and nearly eight decades, but there doesn’t seem to be any living women who have taken up their mantle? Who works on the mission field and raises awareness off of it by speaking at various churches as an example of what can be done today? Addie Davis came close (1917-2005) as the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the Southern Baptist Church in 1964, but she lived just long enough to see the BF&M’s language change to close that door and nail it shut permanently. Most of the exemplary women I can think of – like the Beth Moore’s, just aren’t like the average person that goes to the average church. They’re not the example that the young women in any given church can imagine themselves becoming one day.

        By the way, I hope you feel better soon. I know that when I’m under the weather everything seems so much more difficult than usual. And unfortunately, it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient times, not that there is a convenient time to be sick, but it just seem to pick the times when there’s so much going on more often than not.

      • Well, first off, what does “theologically opposite” mean, anyway?

        Next, maybe you should try some SBC churches that are actually in the South – because women pray here all the time. I have asked my daughter, my wife, other women, etc. One lady is like a proverbial saint whose prayers are like lightening bolts going upward.

        Also, there are young women serving as missionaries with the SBC.

        Now, you do make a good point about the women who are in the spotlight. What kind of girl thinks she will be the next Beth Moore? On the other hand, my daughters love Kay Arthur and have had lunch with her several times (she even personally showed me how to use her new study Bible a couple of years ago – that was cool). Kay is a fantastic teacher and I have sat and listened to her. My daughter Katie is a double major at Bryan College (Music Ed. and Biology), and one of the things she wants to do with her education is show young girls (and others) the glory of God through His creation. And there’s no man in her life.

        Calvinism. What a touchy subject. But I’m not a Calvinist, nor a strict Arminian, either. It is unfortunate how that many Baptist are at odds over that. Divine Irreconcilability is my stance on that.

        Oh, one more thing. I have several women preachers and pastors who are friends of mine. Without a doubt, I disagree on some of their positions. Yet, it is still possible to love each other as member of the same Family, despite our differences.

      • I guess I’ve had the misfortune of knowing all the wrong Christians, but it’s nice to hear that not everyone is like them. What I mean by being a theological opposite is in believing in all the ‘wrong’ things that churches don’t preach. When someone is in fully agreement with their church, the things they believe get preached and affirmed. When someone disagrees on everything, then the things they believe usually aren’t preached and when they are mentioned it’s in an unfavorable light. Technically, I live in the south, just not the deep south. While I moved here from the north, one of the churches here was in agreement with the one I had up in the north. Since I’m having problems with more than one church – I’m faced with two logical conclusions: there are two common denominators, me and the teaching that’s in agreement, if I’m not in error, then the teaching is. Then again, I could be wrong, but I don’t being human makes me wrong in everything. If it’s the teaching, then it’s possible that there’s a systematic flaw in it that sinful people can exploit. Which seems to be the case in some like-minded churches.

      • I am going to confess something to you. I almost lol’d, but I didn’t – it would have hurt too much. But if I had, it would have been because I’ve never, ever come across someone so contemplative over going to church. I’d say you think too much, but I’d be wrong – most of us think too little.

      • I try to strike a balance by watching a lot of comedies – trying to find small bits of humor just to keep it from making me too sad. Sometimes laughter is like a pressure-valve that lets out a lot of frustration and despair even in situations that aren’t that funny. In fact, I saw The Experimenter on Netflix where Stanley Milgram mentioned that the subjects would laugh nervously during his obedience experiments.
        That did make me laugh a little – maybe I’m too much in my own head about these things. I guess when I saw that the churches I had attended didn’t have an outlet for me to use my gifts and talents, I turned inward, toward blogging where I don’t always have to hold back what I’m thinking and trying to diagnose what went wrong and where.Or it could be more of a ‘once bitten, twice shy” situation … or both.

      • And your unused gifts and talents are?

    • I speak Spanish, I learned Portuguese this past year just for the fun of it, but outside of Mexican Restaurants there’s not much call for that around here. I happen to know quite a bit about church history, specifically the role of the church fathers in shaping what’s taught, as well as about the conflicts that were discussed at the Council of Nicaea (among others.) I would have liked to help teach on these things so that when they read something in the Bible – like when Jesus was reclining at the table, it was a triclinum, and dining rooms were sometimes considered public spaces which was why the problem wasn’t that a woman had trespassed the house owner’s private property, but that she was a certain kind of sinner whom Jesus shouldn’t have allowed anywhere near him – giving them a context and a more clear picture of what was going on in the stories. Few things are more fascinating than understanding how knowing about how the culture of the Bible was different to our shows us how many holes we have in our thinking when we imagine Jesus sitting at tables much as we might. I’m not sure that there is a name for that.

      • Now, you see, that’s cool stuff! Especially when I read that someone else besides me knew about a “triclinum.” Personally, I don’t see why you are having a problem. Are there no Hispanic ministries around you? What about English teaching ministries? Do you have any degrees? Have you tried to teach a class at any of the churches you’ve mentioned? Of course, I would assume at least one or two would have said no, but all of them?

        By the way, you should check out my other blog (which I co-wrote over a period of 2 years). It’s called ProverbialThought.com. There is a post I wrote back in 2012 you might enjoy.

        NEWSFLASH!!! HIDDEN POSTS FOUND!!

        Ha! Would you believe I found that several posts which were supposed to have been re-released were still in “draft” mode? And one of them was the one I’m sharing with you! Now, had we not had this conversation, i would have never known it. 🙂 So, I just went ahead and posted all of the “drafted” ones a minute ago.

        https://proverbialthought.com/2012/05/03/proverbs-331-32/

      • Most of the teaching opportunities have been little more than being a ‘warm body’ to hit play on the DVD player, read aloud the discussion questions in the book, and moderate the discussion to keep it on track. They’re not designed to go off topic and really explore other perspectives and I know I don’t want to teach on those terms and in those limits. I think from the times I did speak up, the people in charge decided that I was a bit more unpredictable than they would like and they didn’t want to encourage me by putting me in a position to teach. I looked up the demographics of the county where I live and there’s less than 1% of the population that doesn’t speak very much English. There was one church that had a Hispanic ministry, but it was discontinued at some point as there is no mention of it on that church’s website. I would guess that there just wasn’t enough people to keep it going. No, I don’t have any degrees – I just self-teach myself anything that seems interesting by reading up on them on the internet.That way I can work at my own pace.

        On tricliniums, you might find this video fascinating – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL29tfxfzl0 it talks about what we can learn from the seating arrangement of the Last Supper. Who knows, you might have an opportunity to preach on it one day.

  6. Pingback: 9 Excuses You Don’t Have to Miss Church – Truth in Palmyra

  7. Heather wanted to know why 9 reasons and not 10. She said there are always 10. I just said, well Brother Anthony is odd that way LOL

  8. Wow this is very good!

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