#201 – Ditching Church
I ditched church yesterday.
As a pastor it’s a little embarrassing to admit that. However, I was celebrating a bachelor party for one of my best friends and I didn’t make it to church.
It’s hard to make it to church every weekend. Throughout the course of a year something is going to pop up at least once or twice which will keep you from church on a Sunday morning, Saturday evening or Friday night.
Here are some excuses for ditching church.
Lord of the Rings Marathon
It seems that TNT runs a marathon of the LOTR movies once a month. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck watching a movie on basic cable with its commercials when the DVD or Blu-ray is sitting 10 feet away on the shelf. The extended editions of the LOTR movies are far better than their basic cable counterparts and provide hours upon hours of entertainment. Not only are the movies longer, but the appendices with documentaries and interviews are worth watching. Most DVD bonuses are worthless; I’ve never said to myself, “Please let me watch the trailer for the full movie I just watched.” Watching the extended editions back-to-back-to-back could definitely provide an excuse to for ditching church. Not only does the movie provide a loose allegory for Christ’s return, but there’s a good chance your pastor would use some LOTR analogy anyway. By ditching church to watch the movies, you’re simply cutting out the middle man and getting the analogy firsthand.
Chick-fil-A “First 100”
When a new Chick-fil-A opens the first 100 customers who line up get free Chick-fil-A for a year. Free Chick-fil-A for a year means 52 coupons for a meal. At my current rate, if I started in January, I’d burn through those by the end of April. What’s a faithful churchgoing member to do, though, when lining up at a new Chick-fil-A conflicts with Sunday morning service? Is Chick-fil-A Christian enough to replace church, even if it’s just for one week? Nothing can replace gathering together with God’s people; it’s essential to life as a follower of Jesus. Though, for a close, infrequent substitute to gathering together, a “First 100” event could suffice. It could come even closer if some buns and lemonade were made available to take the Lord’s Supper.
Settlers of Catan
I love Settlers of Catan. Not because it’s possibly the most Christian game ever, but because it’s fun and I am frequently victorious. The biggest problem with Catan is that it is a lengthy game. Once I played a game that lasted deep into Saturday night, which made waking up for church far more difficult on Sunday morning. Obviously, sleeping through church because of an epic game of Catan isn’t excusable. But missing church because of an epic game of Catan that just won’t quit is entirely excusable. I could see someone missing church because of a marathon game of Catan, especially with the Cities and Knights expansion. How could anyone focus on worshipping God when all the Catan players were one point away from victory after a 12-hour game? It would be nearly impossible. If the marathon game of Catan were coupled with the Chick-fil-A “First 100”, though, it could potentially be far more Christian than church and closer to what God had originally intended.
Even with these great excuses there’s little benefit to ditching church. Sure, it’s nice to take a weekend off and enjoy some extra time with family and friends once in a while. Missing gathering with God’s people, though, should be the exception, not the rule.
Going to church should always be a priority and highlight of our week. Not because the music and sermon will always be great, but because it’s always great gathering and worshipping God together.
When do you choose to ditch out on church? What do you miss when you’re not there?