Warren Mueller examines many of the excuses why people don’t go to church, and answers each with biblical and practical reasons in favor of going to church.
Every Sunday many people go to church while others are sleeping or engaged in other weekend activities. Since our weekends are limited, should we spend part of it in church? Let’s look at some of the popular reasons for not going first.
Excuse: Church is boring.
“It is repetitious, predictable and a meaningless ritual. I would rather sleep in. I work hard all week and I deserve it!”
Answer: Church is repetitious but so is life. The days of our lives are structured around cycles of work, eating, family and recreation times. Any of these activities can become boring if we don’t strive to find something interesting or enjoyable about them. Sunday mornings at church are a time to make new friends and renew old ones; to learn about the Bible and share problems as well as to thank God for another week of life.
The objective in going to church is to seek to build our relationship with God and others. Many people go to church to fulfill an obligation through some ritual and so are reduced to actions without meaning. Church worship is all about an encounter with God and others that changes who we are. Not going to church on a Sunday morning because you deserve a sleep-in does not explain why you miss church on Saturday or Sunday night. The problem is much deeper than the time of the day – it is a matter of selfishness.
Excuse: Why bother going to church when all they want is money!?
Answer: If you choose to get involved in any kind of group, be it the PTA, Boy Scouts or whatever, it will cost you in time and money. It is true that, if you don’t get involved in anything, you will have maximum control of your time and money. However, you will miss friendships and opportunities to be a good influence in the lives of others. Each of us decides where to spend our time and money. Each of us will either invest it in some purpose or waste it on the pleasures of the moment. Jesus said that there is an eternal investment that will not fade, rust or decay when we do good works that show our love for God and others (Matthew 6:19-20).
Ponder this! You do not control your life. You cannot guarantee that you will be alive the next week, day, hour or moment. Human life is a gift from God and He controls the measure of it (Psalm 139:16). Our intelligence, talents and appearance are largely determined by genetics (which is to say by God who made us individually unique). Therefore, who we are, when and where we are born, how long we live, etc., are all gifts from God. Is it unreasonable for God to ask for a portion of it to acknowledge Him and His sovereignty?
Excuse: People who go to church are a bunch of hypocrites!
Answer: Churchgoers pretend to be good for a few hours on Sunday morning but they are like everyone else the rest of the week. A common misunderstanding about church is that it should somehow make us better people. As discussed above, it is not the action of going to church, but the encounter with God and others that changes our lives for the better. Most people who go to church do not understand this and thus do not seek to have life changing experiences through worship and church activities.
Christians are humans who believe that Jesus is God and that He has made us acceptable to Himself by paying the penalty for our sins on the cross (Romans 6:23). Therefore, what makes Christians unique is not the outward appearance but what God has done on the inside by changing the soul and mind (2 Corinthians 5:17). Those who sincerely call upon Jesus to save them from their sins experience a spiritual birth that gradually transforms the mind and behavior conforming us to His will (John 1:12; Romans 12:1-2).
Christians can be seen to be hypocrites more easily than someone who does not profess any beliefs because Christian standards are defined in the Bible, whereas personal standards can be changed to fit circumstances or are unknown to others. The bottom line is that all humans are hypocrites because we all fail to consistently live up to any standards of behavior that are defined. The difference is that Jesus forgives the hypocrisy of believers and has sent His Holy Spirit to guide and transform those who know Him as Savior and confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9-10).
Excuse: Church is unnecessary since private prayer and Bible study can be done without others.
Answer: The Bible says that believers must not keep apart from other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is true that we are influenced and become like the people we associate with. Also, by getting together, common beliefs are affirmed and ways to overcome problems are shared. There are three spiritual pillars to have a strong Christian life: personal prayer, Bible study and fellow believers. To rely on less than all three is like trying to sit on a one or two-legged stool. Three legs are needed for a firm foundation and proper function.
Excuse: Churches impose a bunch of rules and then make you feel guilty if you don’t measure up.
Answer: One of the biggest reasons for the breakdown of families is the lack of moral standards. Most people who call themselves Christians cannot even say the Ten Commandments much less live by them. Without moral standards, it is easier to do your own thing and not feel guilty about it. Guilt is part of our conscience and is a gift from God to help us do good.
It is true that sometimes people make us feel guilty. During these times it is important to seek God’s view through prayer and reading the Bible. This means it is necessary to be familiar with the Bible enough to discern whether others are making us feel guilty or if God is trying to get our attention. I am convinced that there are many Christians who are doing good works out of guilt rather than because they want to love and serve God.
By Warren Mueller