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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69 Comments

  • Philip Martin says on

    My dad used to pastor a baptist church in a small town that had only one other church. When he went out visiting, one man in particular always told him he attended the other church and told the other pastor the opposite. They always talked about visiting him together, but I don’t know if they ever did.
    My dad was also told once that someone couldn’t attend because they had “milk in the fridge.”

  • Our pastor (back so long ago when I was a teen) told a story of asking a man why he had missed church, and being told “I was out of peanut butter.” The man, noting the look of puzzlement on the pastor’s face, then said “one excuse is as good as another.”

    “I’m out of peanut butter” has been my go-to in place of “none of your business/I’m not willing to explain” ever since.

    I’m a regularly-attending, active church member. But yes, sometimes when we have guests we skip services: we do so for a variety of reasons, none being that our guests are above going to church with us.

  • I won’t climb up on the soapbox, but this sure points to the reality of “Easy Believism”.

  • The best one I had was from a Deacon, who said his cat had died!!

  • I was talking with a older man one time who said he wouldn’t attend our church because he didn’t like the pastor. The pastor was standing next to me at the time said “I’m the pastor and I’ve never met you before. What was the pastor’s name?” We were given the name of a former pastor who passed away in the 1950’s (and that’s not a typo). I was blown away.

  • Jennifer Andone says on

    I often hear “I have out of town guests”. So, of course, you would skip church, not bring them with you.

  • Superbowl Sunday is one of my favorites for excuses. “Pastor, I can’t be here next Sunday. You see, I feed all my buddies at the FOP Superbowl party and it takes all day to fix the munchies. I consider it a ‘ministry’.” Yes, and the fact that they each pitch in $10.00 to cover costs is kind of like taking up an offering. And the cheering and high-fives is kind of like worship…more or less. It’s your “calling.”

  • Gary Smith says on

    The organist plays too loud.

  • These reasons are hilarious

  • We have a bus ministry at our church that brings in about 25 children each week. I haven’t heard anyone say that’s the reason they have stopped attending and bringing their children, but I can tell by their actions that they don’t want their children in activities with “poor” kids. Sad situation.

  • I tried to use #15 once to get out of preaching. Turns out, it helps.

  • I know it’s not a funny one but the most common is “I can be a Christian and not go to church.” I used to think it myself in my twenties before opening the Bible and reading it. Christian community is so important to our lives and once you find it, you keep striving for it.

    • I addressed this one in a message once. According to Christ we live on God’s word like we live on food (Matt. 4:4).
      So I tought our congregation to respond with this answer “I can be a Christian and not go to church” with “Yes, and you can be human and not eat food too.”

      I’m not sure anyone ever used it.

      One preacher said something like “if the church is the body of Christ, becing a Christian and not going to church is like a man saying to his fiance, “I want to marry you, but not your body.”

      • That’s is brilliant and funny. Thanks for sharing! I’m using it!

      • I work two jobs and only have my own income to support myself, and I do work on Sundays. I am resting at home when I am not at work because both jobs involve physical work and I am exhausted and have an irregular sleep schedule with the hours. I work about 45 to 57 hrs a week. I can go 2 weeks between days off sometimes, or more. I feel judged some by not going to church from other people (not you guys, I mean others), like I love Jesus less or am less committed or a less faithful Christian. But if I don’t pull the kind of work hours I do, I won’t be able to eat (or pay rent, etc). Attendance is not an option at this time, and I love Jesus just as much as when I was able to go in the past.

      • I don’t think this blog was directed toward people who genuinely have to work on Sunday. As a pastor, I understand that it’s unavoidable sometimes. However, my patience is often tried by people who find excuses not to come to church even when they don’t have to work on Sunday.

    • Mike Reynolds says on

      We had to go buy dogfood.

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