Why I Stopped Attending Church Services

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“You want me to do what? Lead the kids ministry every week? When will I go to church?” That was my initial reaction when I was drafted into the kids ministry in my first church.

Something seemed off. I was reassured that it was temporary…famous last words! That there would be help, and once the ministry was healthy I could begin to rotate out and attend the church services again.

I went years without attending the adult service. I began to wear it like a badge of honor.

The few times I would attend the service I would be fidgety, worried about what was going on in the kids ministry. I would have a hard time focusing; I would get bored or struggle to engage in the service.

When someone would reference something that took place in the adult service, I was quick to let them know that I was not there, because someone had to minister to the kids.

My indignation grew. On several occasions, I vocalized that I was apart of something more important than the adult service, leading kids.

As I evaluate my own experience in ministry.  I think over the years I labored away in the basement of the church or in some back room somewhere, doing ministry with a large majority of the church unaware.

I’ve identified five reasons that I didn’t attend the adult service.

1.  I expected someone else to create a way for me to attend. 

If it was so important for me to attend, then my Pastor would have made it happen by now. All the parents in the church know I don’t attend the services, why don’t some of them make a sacrifice and come and help me?

2. I didn’t see why it was necessary.

I’m a Pastor. As a Pastor the most important thing I should be focused on is pastoring, right?

3. I didn’t make it a priority.

I have more important things to do then just sit in the adult service. I need to lead the lesson, take attendance, greet the visiting families.

4. I didn’t know how to build a team.

Someone had to lead the kid’s ministry. Who was going to do it if I didn’t? It’s not like I had people knocking down my office door volunteering to serve.

5. I didn’t know how to delegate. 

I had convinced myself that the volunteers I did have could never do as good a job as I did leading the ministry.

Boy was I wrong. I was blowing it, and I didn’t even realize it. Here I was leading kids and volunteers, and I was setting a horrible example.

I had allowed my ministry to become an island, and I was becoming bitter. I didn’t like it, and I blamed everyone else for it.

Thankfully, God was able to show me the error of my ways. Hebrews 10:25 reads,

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)

My immaturity caused me to be blind to the benefits of attending and participating in the adult service.

I missed out on the opportunities to:

~ Be encouraged and to encourage others in my church.

~ Build relationships and feel more connected to the church body.

~ Identify potential volunteers.

~ Interact with parents and families of the kids in my ministry.

~ Grow in my own relationship with God.

~ Align the children’s ministry with the ministries of the church as a whole.

~ Learn the heart of my Pastor and senior leadership.

Once my eyes were opened, I became intentional about finding a way to attend the adult service.

Maybe you find yourself in the same place that I was. Here are the steps I took.

1. I met with my Pastor:

I asked him if he would mind if I started attending the adult service on a regular basis. I was blown away by his response, “I wondered when you would start attending the services.”

2. I met with my best volunteers: 

I asked if they would be open to leading in my place once a month to make room for me to attend church. They were honored to help, it caused them to rise to a new level of leadership.

3. I invited more people to join the children’s ministry: 

I made team building my number one priority. Read my post, 9 Steps to adding volunteers for some ideas.

4. I started delegating important tasks to my team.

This caused my volunteers to be more fulfilled. You can read my post Avoid “Boredom Burnout” With Volunteers.

5. I set a goal of attending service once a month. 

I knew I needed to start somewhere.  I set a goal for once a month and then increased it as the team grew.

6. I evaluated the impact of me not leading in the kids ministry.

Amazingly, the wheels didn’t fall off, ministry kept happening. Many times better than if I was there, because it was no longer a one man show, but a team.

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear about your experience.  Do you get to attend church regularly?

Scroll down and leave a comment below.

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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