Church takes away family time

Many well-meaning Christians would write off a statement like this to insincerity or lack of seriousness, but I think it is a very fair comment and would go as far as to say it is such an important point the onus is on us to re-devise church. When it comes to deciding between church and family God never said you have to choose between the two!

This refreshingly outward looking congregation in Shefford holds their good weather evening services outside.

Biblically there is no command to meet on a Sunday and certainly not at 11.00am. Before we rule out Sunday completely though it should be born in mind that a good number of churches offer very early services and not a few late ones too. On the lawn at St. Michael in Shefford I joined an excellent service one Sunday evening. It was well thought through with a number of folk involved, wasn’t too long and you soon forgot there were cars whizzing by just yards away. Many churches run great Sunday evening services, but I do accept that for some Sundays are just not ideal at all, so let us move on.

The winning Burbage Wine Circle

Most winning clubs meet mid-week and most people develop their skills mid-week too, with no detriment to their families at all. No one ever suggested that to be a top Judo contestant or win the best wine prize you must practice on a Sunday morning at exactly 11am. Despite this people are made to feel they must attend church on a Sunday even if that is the only day they have available for quality time with families and friends. Aren’t people’s relationships, in particular their family relationships, more important than being in a particular building at a particular time? As a young pastor I soon discovered a number of people who attended each and every Sunday service and every all night prayer vigil etc. had the most miserable marriages and dreadful family lives, so why ask someone who has a happy home life to trade it in? I’d almost go as far as to say more people who are in church should consider this comment too, but God still commands us to fellowship, learn his Word, break bread together and to praise him as a group, so just how do we do that?

Marian Gospel singing at the Burbage Wine Circle

Most people will make an effort to go to the pub or a club with some sort of activity midweek. Although a bit gruelling after a hard day’s work and travel, it is enjoyable and often much-needed. What they often don’t realise is that many churches run excellent mid-week services and activities. Traditionally these have been geared at the ‘committed core’ of the church and tend to be small, but if you are serious about God and your family, why not find the best mid-week church you can? Without any damage to your family whatsoever you could be enjoying great fellowship, teaching, praise and so forth by simply finding a church that has a good mid-week programme. I think the future for many busy christians is mid-week and far from criticise those who never make a Sunday, I’d pat them on the back. If they can make their Sundays meaningful and keep their families healthy while still doing everything God has commanded them – well done!


About Paul Sinclair

Paul Sinclair, often referred to as The Faster Pastor, has 30 years proven ministry as a pastor, speaker, published author and writer. His wife Marian is from Ghana and has been a minister in song for as many years. When Marian sings… expect an anointing!
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6 Responses to Church takes away family time

  1. Don’t want to be picky, but we do need to ask the question ‘what is church’?

  2. Raquel says:

    As long as I’ve had small children I haven’t really seen much point. I end up in the baby room getting nothing out of it when I could be at the park or finishing off much needed house renovations!!! I get soooo tired of people asking me how my walk with the Lord is because I’m rarely at church!!! Hows YOUR walk for judging me? (which of course I’m sure they’re not….)

    • I think this is a brilliant point you make and I’ll bet I’m not the only one guilty of shunting mum’s off like this in my earlier ministry years completely oblivious to this point of view.

      The issue here is that we think ‘go to church’ rather than ‘are the church.’ If you ‘are’ something then geographical locations don’t come into it, so why not approach these Christians or others and go to the park or your home together? Really there is nothing we are commanded to do we can’t do in a public park while children are running around, or our homes. Admittedly not sure how it would look with a bottle of wine being passed around, but I’m sure you’ll figure something out there.

      Don’t ‘go’ to church, just ‘be’ the church. Find people to fellowship with, break bread with and learn with. Only religious folk who think you need 45 minutes of intense singing will think The Holy Spirit won’t move in the midst of believers outside an ecclesiastical structure… like he did in the bible!

  3. Adam K says:

    My father spends four days a week at church. When he is not at church he is studding and preparing for church. I was a Christian for many years. I read the Bible cover to cover; there is not a verse I cannot locate. I hate the fact that church has taken my father away from the family. I have felt like I have been without a father for most of my life. Put Jesus first is not the same thing as put the church first! Every Easter or Christmas my father is out working some church service. Because of this I have renounced Christianity and abhor the church. Thanks for reading.

    • Hello Adam,
      Sorry to read this, but equally thank you for sharing it.
      Some dad’s are the same with their businesses and careers, while others are like this with other activities too. As a result it is understandable to abhor their business, career or activities, in this case church, totally understandable! Christ however never asked any of us to behave like this, if anything he demanded the opposite, so please reconsider your position on him. Churchianity is very different from Christianity, the latter of which revolves around relationships with God and people! You hit the nail on the head, to put Jesus first is not the same as to put the church first, so why renounce him? He is not guilty here.
      Hope you don’t mind my response.
      All the best,

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