Pastors, Stop complaining about all the other things scheduled on Sunday mornings

Pastor Keith Anderson shoots straight.

And he responds to pastors who complain that there are too many activities (particularly kids sporting events) being scheduled on Sunday mornings these days:

It’s a common complaint among clergy types, “Sunday morning sports is taking people away from worship!”

This lament and the exasperation that accompanies it goes deeper than just whether a family shows up on a particular Sunday. It is the lament of the loss of the privileged place that the Churchand clergyonce enjoyed in our culture. And in our lament we risk alienating the very young families we seek to engage.

The emergence of Sunday morning sports is just a symbol of a shift that’s happening in our society where the church is no longer accommodated or propped up by our culture.

Clergy lament this. It makes our jobs harder. But, if we are honest, there is something deeper: it is the resentment of the loss a privileged place of not only religious institutions, but Christian institutions, and not just Christian institutions, but Christian people, and the leaders of those people, the professional clergy, us. We are mourning our own diminishing cultural position and privilege. That’s what I hear just under the surface when clergy complain to each other about Sunday morning sportsits the loss of our place, our privilege, our position…

And, frankly, its a not a bad thing for the Church to stand on its own, apart from cultural props. I don’t want the Church to be dependent on the world to say that Church is important. I want us to say that this is important because of Jesus, the persuasiveness of the Gospel, for its own sake, on its own terms, not because my local Recreation Department says so.

// Read more of Keith’s thoughts here…




  • muldoon2127 November 27, 2012 Reply

    Amen! I’m guilty. But, he’s right. I would add one more facet to those “under the surface” emotions: Every time we have to compete for attention on Sunday mornings, our personal egos take a bruising.

  • Russ November 27, 2012 Reply

    I have to admit I get ticked off when sports takes precedence over Sunday morning services. But over the years my heart has changed from competition to compassion. Honestly – my heart breaks when people fail to place their priority on being the church rather than attending church. While we are to be the church in our world, we are also admonished “to not give up meeting together”. We, “the Church” need each other just as much as the world needs us. I think that worship services should be more than a religious event. That as a community of believers our connection to God should require each other. No where can I find in the NT any kind of relationship with Jesus apart from the community of believers. Even John, when exiled on the Isle of Patmos had church by himself on the Lord’s Day. So, not only is my heart sadden as a pastor because they missed Sunday service. I missed them because I needed them too.

  • Larry November 27, 2012 Reply

    In my 32nd year of pastoring, part of which I have coached Little League, it deeply bothers me to see children playing soccer or baseball instead of learning about God’s Word and saying like David, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of the LORD.”

  • Dave Telling November 28, 2012 Reply

    Hmmmm… I wonder if there might be an opportunity for ministering to those participating in these activities? Perhaps a refreshment stand with cold drinks and snacks? I don’t know – maybe even a prayer room off to the side? As I have heard so often – “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care”. Just something to think about….

  • Patricia December 1, 2012 Reply

    I knew of pastors who were ahead of their flock and wanted to respond positively to this cultural change while their flock held them back by issuing these complaints and insisting that people ought to come to church on Sunday morning. Not that they shouldn’t, but the church people were often not open to creative ideas to address this change.

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