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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  • Every time I come the pastor says stuff I don’t like. Last time he said sex outside of marriage was a sin, and that really upset my girlfriend so she moved out of my house.

  • I had a hangover.

  • Pastor D says on

    Just to put some encouragement into this, I had a church member who was a race car driver. He raced Saturday nights all over the state and then came home. He was always in church. He lived 38 miles one way from the church. I would ask him each Sunday where he raced the previous night. I would comment that in addition to your daily drive, you drove a long way to be in church. He said, “Jesus has done so much for me, the least I can do is be in his house every Sunday.” When someone misses church for some of the above reasons, I always have a chance to share this and show them church attendance/worship is a matter of the heart.

    • When I was in college, our head football coach went to the same church I did. During football season he had games on Saturday, and sometimes he wouldn’t get back into town until early Sunday morning. Nevertheless, he was always at church the next morning. He usually attended the early service, which had the smaller crowd, and he normally sat in the back, so I don’t think he was doing it for show.

  • I’m a worship pastor, I’ve been losing weight, and I occasionally have to pull my pants up during the service. I personally think things could become much more distracting if I didn’t pull them up.

  • melissa adkins says on

    Living in the mountains of West Virginia where we can receive substantial snow falls, people often miss church during winter months because the weather is too bad. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad excuse, but some of those same people don’t come in the summer either because the weather is too good–need to enjoy the sunshine before winter hits.

  • We’ve been listening when people tell us things like “my kids nap at that time” or “we like to sleep in” or “the sermons are too long and boring.”

    We decided to take them at their word. Two job families with small children just might really need to sleep in, or have services scheduled where the tots don’t become overtired, hungry monsters before Sunday morning finally ends around 1:30. Tweaking the time a bit, shortening the services, and it is working for all of us.

    Except our SS program. Lately the ONLY attendees are teachers and bus kids. Before you get all holier than thou about not wanting our kids around poor kids, let me tell you the issue is not wanting our kids around violent kids. Even with multiple teachers per class we cannot seem to get a handle on keeping kids safe from sudden outburst attacks. Do we simply ban a kid who has been violent? Lose the “good” kids? Even tried one adult per kid (whew, that was tough!) and couldn’t prevent the attacks. Right now we are praying for consensus, as about half want to continue with “bus kids only” and about half want to drop the bus ministry altogether. Open to ideas!

    • melissa adkins says on

      We have a bus ministry at our church, too. In fact, about 75% of our kids are bus kids. We have had some issues and at times, that calls for making hard decisions. We have a system whereby if a child is warned by their teacher or another adult in charge 3 times, we take them to our pastor. Of course, serious issues go straight to the pastor. He lovingly but forcefully tells them their behavior is not acceptable. and that if they want to continue to come, they have to behave. If that child continues to act out, then we put them off the van for a week or two. Then allow them to come back. So far, that has worked for us. Though we’ve never had to “ban” someone long term, that is the action we have decided to take if it’s ever necessary. Allowing those kids to remain robs everyone of an opportunity to benefit from the service.

      Best of luck and prayers for wisdom.

    • Christopher says on

      We absolutely tell kids not to come back if their behavior is unacceptable and yet our numbers continue to grow. Kids crave a secure environment, even the violent ones. Without that it becomes extremely difficult if not impossible to teach them about Jesus. It would be like trying to share Jesus with someone who hasn’t eaten in two days.

  • Christopher says on

    By far the most common excuse I hear is playing in a youth baseball or softball tournament. I have known church members who will literally miss three straight months because their kids play baseball on the weekends. They will then justify it by claiming they lead a “worship” service at the ball park. Just what exactly are you worshiping at that point?

    I know some will defend this as a “ministry” but I just don’t buy it. The reason we gather as a church is to worship Jesus and hear from God’s Word. The reason you go to the ballpark is to play baseball and I’m sure God doesn’t appreciate just being the opening act. Furthermore, if the league passed a rule banning pregame worship services, those families would still be there ready to play.

  • Leaders must be capable on everyone not to fight against each other,church Leaders when they fight what will happens over the non-Christians,the starts must be on the top to down meaning that when leaders have a good communications they can be one thing and they be stick on one thing that is all,when i ask this Question to all pastor and prophets cause i’ve travel in different churches but still they point a report to the wrong person and say he send his people with their spirits whats that will people play a role of helping not to point others with fingers,am sorry if am wronged other people am revealed cause spirit of God i hope is the same and the churches must be the same as we pray one God,Shallom

  • We have a food pantry for our benevolence ministry which is well stocked with peanut butter. Please feel free to direct any and all who are torn between Jesus and Jiff to our church. We will be happy to serve them a portion of both.

  • Christopher says on

    While I was preaching the Gospel of John I had a man, who had recently joined, tell me he stopped coming because he didn’t like the book of John.

  • The most often excuse I hear is “I can’t get up that early.” (Except Monday through Friday to go to work, of course.)

  • Steve Lady says on

    How about, “It’s Christmas!” when Christmas falls on Sunday? How can we expect people to be in church on Christmas worshipping Christ when there’s all this other stuff that needs to be done!