15 Really Strange Reasons Not to Attend Church

April 26, 2017

What do peanut butter, girlfriends, and Rambo the dog have in common?

They were all used as reasons not to attend church services in a Twitter poll I conducted. I asked church leaders and churchgoers to share some really good excuses they’ve heard from people who choose not to attend church.

Some of the responses were common (hypocrites at church, worshipping on the lake or golf course, pastor preaches too long or short, etc.).

And I received the expected lectures of why we should not see the church as a place to go, or why church is no longer relevant.

But I also got some fascinating responses.

Have you heard these reasons not to attend church? The italicized comments that follow each are my own.

  1. “We were out of peanut butter.” Of course, no one can worship without his or her peanut butter fix.
  2. “I was too drunk, so I went soul winning with my dog, Rambo.” I hope Rambo was sober.
  3. “Both of my girlfriends attend church there.” I think you might have other challenges.
  4. “The worship leader pulls up his pants too often. It’s distracting.” What are we going to do with those worship leaders?
  5. “My kids take naps during that time.” Bring them to church anyway; they can nap during the services with our deacons.
  6. “Gas prices are too high.” Have you been outside lately?
  7. “The pastor is too attractive. When I see him preaching, I have impure thoughts, and I am distracted.” I never heard that complaint when I was a pastor.
  8. “My wife cooked bacon for breakfast, and our entire family smelled like bacon.” Bacon aroma is always welcome at our church.
  9. “The pastor stays in the Bible too much.” I’ve noticed that too. Just who does he think he is?
  10. “I couldn’t get the lid off the peanut butter.” I never thought there would be a peanut butter theme to avoiding church.
  11. “We got burned out at church and have been taking a break the past seven years.” I think you broke the world’s record for length of time to cool down.
  12. “The church is too close to drive, and too far to walk.” If you like, we could move our church to the next state, and you could fly in.
  13. “I always get hemorrhoids on Sundays.” I understand. Sunday is a terrible day for hemorrhoids.
  14. “Someone called me ‘brother” instead of using my name.” At least he didn’t call you “sister.”
  15. “I was constipated.” Is that a Sunday-only occurrence?

I am sure you have heard some good excuses as well. Let me hear from you.

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  • There’s a quart of milk in the refrigerator is one I head on a regular basis . Not sure that I get it could someone explain?

  • Give people a reason to come to church and they will. First and Second Great Awakenings jog anyone’s memory?

    Jesus declared, ”If I be high and lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” – John 12:32

    Oh from what heights we have fallen. It’s embarrassing to see the foolishness that men engage in these days. Consider the following demonstrations of God’s power working through people just like you and me:

    1) Peter thundering away for righteousness sake in Acts 2

    2) Moses standing at the Red Sea declaring to Israel with great faith, ”The Egyptians who you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you.”

    3) Joshua speaking to the sun and the moon in the Valley of Aijalon: ”Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies.

    And then of course there’s Hebrews 11 which puts us all to shame. Read the chapter and you will see what’s possible with God. And being that He’s the Lord and ”changes not” maybe we can begin to get a fresh revelation of the Kingdom of God coming in ”power and great glory!”

    Gentlemen, you want to increase church attendance and give people a real reason to come to the house of the Lord? Obey acts 6:4. Quit falling for cheap gimmicks to get people to come, never compromise God’s word, return to prayer and yield to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Oh yes, one more thing . . . See to it that the Lord Jesus Christ is honored in your midst and I promise you, that your barns will be filled and overflowing.

    • Um…. many churches are doing exactly what you suggest, but people still make excuses as to why they can’t come. Your comment is both simplistic and presumptuous. Before you start lecturing us, maybe you should go back and read Matthew 7:1-5.

      • Many churches are not doing what my comment suggests, thus the post Christian America we find ourselves in. My comment is a biblically based and truthful assessment. And I’m not lecturing.

      • Tim Aagard says on

        Michael – Do you get the feeling your comments were “trampled underfoot and he has turned to attack you”. Perhaps Ken should “go back and read Matthew 7:6.

        Did either Great Awakening sustain revival and grow beyond it’s initial catalyst’s life time? I would suggest the same systemic dynamics of church life (pulpit and pew orientation) were the same before, after, and now. It is this dynamic that forces believers to consume 84% of their “giving” to buy and maintain their buildings and hired staff – most of which benefits mostly themselves. God has used this system for 500 years, but most of it is in spite of it’s mediocrity to “equip the saints for ministry”. Majority spectating is clearly seen coast to coast in every brand name. “…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Believers hearts cannot go beyond themselves when their giving does not go beyond themselves. There are very clear instructions for believers to practice a form of church life where 100% of their giving will go beyond themselves. It is storied in the book of Acts and instructed in the Epistles. Some leaders encourage life beyond the pew but mediocre participation is guaranteed by the pulpit and pew overhead of consumption and passivity.
        We must “throw off the things that hinder and the sin that so easily entangles” (current forms of ceremonialized faith) before we can “run the race marked out for us” and “fix our eyes on Jesus…”

      • Amen to all you have stated here, Tim.

      • “Perhaps Ken should “go back and read Matthew 7:6.”

        I notice you conveniently skipped over verses 1-5 in that chapter. Perhaps you should read those. Is that what you call “preaching the Word”? I call it proof-texting.

      • Almost the entire chapter of Matthew 7 is about discerning. If one is not to judge v. 1-5, then how does one do v. 6, how does one know what a false false prophet is in v. 15. To continually quote Matt 7:1-5 without taking into consideration the entire context of the chapter, the sermon on the mount and the remainder of texts throughout the Bible demanding discernment is the kind of problem with professional vocational ministry…..

        IMHO, this is why the church is in decline, it is dishonest use of the Bible.

  • Thanks and pray as we struggle to reach consensus re the bus ministry.

    I CAN share a “why I missed church” since I’m the poor fool it happened to.

    My goat got stuck in a slick wire fence and it took hours to get her horns back through. Does that count like an ox in a ditch?

  • Best one I ever heard was from a preacher in Florida. He missed a faithful, elderly lady one Sunday and called to see why she missed. Her short response in a southern Florida accent over the phone gave all the reason in the world why she would have missed services.

    “Gator ate mah dawg.”

    Turns out, an alligator came up out of the swamp by her house and ate her dog that was staked out in her yard on a leash on Sunday morning as she was getting ready for church. I don’t know about you, but that preacher figured she had as good a reason to miss as he had ever heard.

  • I had to ” sucker” my tobacco

  • Ah! The unintended consequences of the false dichotomy: “Don’t go to church, be the church.”

    • Tim Aagard says on

      Mark – I think the false dichotomy is preferred to be phrased as “Don’t just go to church, be the church.” In the system, this is not seen as a false dichotomy, even though it is. It has been believed for 500 years that is the core of “being the church” is going to sit in a pew with no expectation that saints should contribute truth or testimony to build up the other believers, and that God is going to funnel all truth through one specially trained and hired man and a few platform crew in strict one way communication. As a “layman” I can see in plain English that God has asked for believers to practice the exact opposite of this for “the habit of meeting” they are not “to forsake”. Heb. 10:24,25 I can see “the word of Christ” will not “dwell in you richly”, or “with all wisdom” as you sit and listen to one man lecture the Word. Col. 3:16. I can see that an expositor cannot exposit strict lecture the word by one man every week every year in perpetual dependency from “preach the word, in season and out of season…”. or any other text on truth delivery. I think perhaps the Holy Spirit is not convicting people to think beyond their small issues to practice what He did not ask for in the first place. It just may be that the shallow behavior from the saints is the result of the convoluted practice that does not allow them to “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by EVERY joint with which it is equipped, when EACH PART is working properly, makes the body grow so that it BUILDS ITSELF up in love. Lecturing the saints to do the work of the ministry (the dominant version of “equipping the saints”) has not accomplished this dynamic for 500 years – except in severely mediocre numbers of saints. Leaders seem to be content with that, but not without a little grousing now and then about the excuses they hear. I’m open to interaction, even if you disagree. Can you respond to the Word I have delivered in two-way communication?

  • “I am sure you have heard some good excuses as well. Let me hear from you.”

    to what end and purpose? For a good laugh about those poor fools?

    Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • I was once told by someone that they couldn’t attend church because they were out of clean underwear.

  • Brian Lassiter says on

    #13 probably ought to be “hymnorrhoids.”

  • I think #15 is related to the increased peanut butter intake.

  • I drive by a jogging/bike trail. Never short of people on Sunday mornings. Maybe they’re all Catholics or Seventh Day Adventists.

    • Catholics tend to have 3 to 4 Masses to attend. The Catholic churches around me have usually the following Mass times:

      5 p.m. Saturday
      7 a.m. Sunday
      9 a.m. Sunday
      11:00 a.m. Sunday

      A few have 5 or later p.m. on Sundays! Seriously, I think it would be great if Evangelical churches would have late Sunday night services.

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