By Lindsey VanSparrentak
1. I overslept.
This is hands down the number one excuse for missing church on Sunday morning, and I’d be lying if I said that I have never fallen victim to oversleeping. I mean—it happens to the best of us! You stay up too late binging Netflix causing you to completely sleep through your alarm the next morning. When it becomes a problem, though, is when this excuse is happening week after week after week.
The good news is this is one of the easiest excuses to nip in the bud. How? Set your current alarm louder or get a new alarm if need be. Have a friend give you a wakeup call, have your roommate bang on your door, or make plans to get breakfast with a friend before church. Try to go to bed earlier on Saturdays. There are so many options that this excuse doesn’t hold up anymore.
2. The Broncos game is on early.
As a transplant to Colorado, I’ve never really understood this one.
“But Lindsey—you’re a Browns fan. You probably find sweet relief when you miss a game.”
You got me there; however, I did still faithfully serve at youth group when the Cleveland Indians were in game seven of the World Series. (Maybe I was secretly hoping God would let the Tribe win if I still went to church.)
But when it comes down to it, it’s just a game. It’s also a game that very few of us even know someone who’s actually playing in it. Yes, you might be the world’s biggest [enter team’s name here] fan, but you should be an even bigger follower of God.
3. I lost track of time.
Okay you caught me. I did almost miss church because I lost track of time dancing around my bathroom. I mean—you can’t fault a girl for when jam after jam is popping up in her “I Heart the 90s” playlist.
But whether or not you’re a bathroom lip syncer like me, there are so many things that can make you lose track of the time. Reading, Netflix, working out, laundry… the possibilities are endless!
Now on Sundays, I set an alarm for a few minutes before I need to leave the house. This pulls me out of any distraction and gives me a couple minutes to regroup before I head out the door.
4. It’s my only day to sleep in.
Oh man—this excuse was in my back pocket, always ready for use during my first three years of college. I scheduled as many early morning classes during the week as I could to keep my schedule open for work in the afternoon. I worked Saturday morning opening shifts at one job and then closed at my other job. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was exhausted.
But when I was a senior, I had it all figured out. No, my schedule didn’t change—my priorities did. I started waking up to get to church every Sunday. Not only did I benefit from keeping my wake up time consistent throughout the week, but getting out of bed and going to church left me way more energized and refreshed! If you truly are too exhausted on Sunday morning, considering penciling yourself in for a Sunday afternoon nap!
5. I connect with God better on the golf course, nature trails, at the beach, etc.
Imagine for a moment that you’re a parent and you give your kid a season pass to an amusement park. You’re obviously pleased each time he goes because you love to see him enjoying your gift. But if you keep inviting him over to your house for dinner and he stands you and the family up time and time again to ride roller coasters, you’re going to start missing him.
I think it’s pretty similar with church! I do wholeheartedly believe that God can connect with us anywhere, golf courses included! And like a parent, I don’t think God gets upset with you if miss a week of church to go connect to him elsewhere. He loves to see you enjoying his gifts for you. But it’s still important to show up at his house to spend time with him and the family!
6. My kid’s traveling sports team only plays on Sundays.
This is a tricky one because you want to give your kids the best opportunities in life. But when it comes down to it, letting your family miss church repeatedly to play sports may be setting the example that God takes second place.
Yes, it is hard to miss out on sports teams, especially in a society that doesn’t share your commitment to God. But God called us to be in the world, not of the world.
So we’re left with two options. Either don’t sign up for a program that only plays on Sundays or find at church that offers Saturday night services. But, if you choose the latter, you need to make a commitment to actually go on Saturday evenings.
7. I’ll just listen to a sermon via podcast.
Podcasts are on the shortlist of things I love. I seriously listen to at least three a day, and a lot of those are sermons.
But it’s time to set the record straight: No matter how thankful I am to have world-renowned teaching at my fingertips, podcasts aren’t a replacement for church. There’s so much power in being in community, having that support system of believers, and always being surrounded by a group of people who love you and can hold you accountable.
So please, keep listening to your sermon podcasts for extra teaching throughout the week or even to catch up if you miss the occasional Sunday. But let’s all make it a priority to find community within a church.
8. It’s too far of a drive.
Growing up, I always lived in towns that were saturated with churches. I have always lived less than three miles from my church so I’ve never really understood the inconvenience of traveling a distance far away to worship the Lord.
But when I was overseas, I lived in communities of people that traveled hours down pothole-riddled dirt roads on overcrowded and overheated buses to get to church; once there, they knelt on dirt floors for hours because that was the only church they had.
Now, I understand not wanting to drive hours to get to church and back, but friend—you’re the one who chose to attend this church, and you probably have a lot more options closer. If you find yourself constantly missing church because the drive is too long, it’s time to make a change.
9. I don’t feel like going.
There have been so many times that I’ve woke up Sunday morning and didn’t feel like going to church. Sometimes I stayed home, but when I went, one of two things would happen: Either I heard a sermon that was so impactful that I feel like God was speaking directly to me, or I was a sluggish lame-o the entire time at church.
While one of these situations is far more glamorous than the other, both are important. In the first situation, the enemy was trying to stop God from speaking truth into my life and I didn’t let him! In the second situation, I learned to worship God even when I was tired, groggy, or just not feeling it and that, my friends, is critical.
There will be many times in life that we’re dragging our feet to church, or to read our Bible, or to pray. But every time we push through those feelings, we’re getting another opportunity to connect with God!
10. I’m doing fine. I don’t need church.
“Hey—church is like a hospital and if I’m doing fine I don’t need to go, right?” Wrong! (Plus, if that’s your thought process, you’re not nearly as healthy as you think!)
Spiritual health is very similar to physical health. Do you just neglect all physical health until you are so unhealthy that you end up in the emergency room? No! We make decisions every day for our health, such as the foods we eat and drink, and we get regular checkups. Our spiritual life is the same way! We pray and read our Bibles, and go to church for weekly “checkups.” We don’t want to wait until our spiritual life is in such shambles that we treat church like an emergency room.
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