What You Never Know You Miss By Skipping Sunday Morning

skipping church

Today’s post is a guest post by my executive assistant, Sarah Piercy, who in addition to working with me for the last 10 years, is a wife and young mom. She wrote this piece for our church blog, and, well, it was too compelling not to share it with you here. In particular, I love point 3. Never heard that metaphor before, and it’s so true in my view. Hope it helps!

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I thought missing a Sunday morning service wasn’t a big deal.

I have worked at Connexus Church for 8 years and would only miss a Sunday because I was away on vacation.  Quite honestly, I didn’t think missing a Sunday was a big deal. It’s not a sin. It’s not earth-shattering. No one notices (or do they?).  Right?Then I had a baby and went on maternity leave.  

And I started to participate in our church community like most people do.

And everything changed.

Because, when I miss a Sunday service, I miss way more than I ever thought.

From birthday parties to a sick baby, a variety of reasons had kept me from participating on Sunday mornings. I would watch online. And online is great to keep me connected when I can’t be there in person. Or to share with friends and neighbors who are curious about church but not ready to come. So easy!

But – given the choice – attending on Sunday morning trumps all else. Every time.

Why?

When I skip Sunday morning…

1. I Miss Uninterrupted Time to Listen for God’s Wisdom

Sunday’s practical teaching translates into godly wisdom that I can apply daily life – it is so valuable.  

Sure, you can hear great teaching in a variety of ways. But listening online is different than listening in the service.

I don’t know about you, but when I listen at home I have a long to-do list. A child that loves attention. A phone that rings. Floors to sweep. Laundry to fold. Neighbors’ dogs barking. I almost never absorb the message in the same way as I do when physically present on Sunday.

When I’m in the service, I have uninterrupted time. Time to focus on what God is teaching me and reflect on how He wants me to grow. My child is being cared for, my phone is on silent, and there are no chores waiting for me.

I can focus. I can engage my heart and mind.

2. I Miss the Value of Worshiping God through Music with Others

This one is interesting.  And might even be surprising to you.

There’s something intangible that happens when we worship God – out loud – with hundreds of people who share faith in Jesus.

Sundays are an irreplaceable opportunity to take a step back from the busy day-to-day and directly praise the God that loves me and is incredibly worthy of my worship.

Music roots my heart and mind in the truth of who God is. It remembers and celebrates powerful scripture. It leads me to humble myself before God’s majesty in a way that doesn’t always happen when music playing in the car or in the background while I do the dishes.

Worshiping God through music on Sunday’s – with hundreds of people – grounds and fuels my faith.

It inspires me to keep worshiping, keep believing, keep serving, keep loving.

3. I Miss the Power and Movement of the Church

The Church has a mission and purpose.  And every believer is part of it.  We get to spread the amazing news that Jesus Christ loves you, died to forgive you, and he is alive, bringing new life to all who believe in him. What an incredible message to sit on.

We can be a Christian and not actively participate in the local Church.  Our salvation is not dependent on that. It’s dependent on Jesus.

But there’s more at stake than that…

Imagine this:

Your life is a babbling brook. It twists and turns and bubbles and splashes. It’s beautiful.  But has little strength.

But, what happens when you cross paths with another brook. And another. And another?

Something bigger starts to happen. Something one babbling brook can’t do on its own.

Momentum happens.

Then power happens.

Then Niagara falls happens! (Note: did you know Niagara falls generates enough energy to power almost 4 million homes? No babbling brook does that.)

In the same way, 100s (or 1000s) of people moving in the same God-given direction is POWERFUL.  And it doesn’t happen when we are disengaged.

When I miss Sunday mornings, I miss how God is moving our church community to action.

When I miss the host’s welcome, connecting opportunities and the stories of God at work, I miss getting to be part of it because I don’t know how.

I don’t want to miss being part of the power and movement of God’s Church.

Plus, if I’m not there, then how can I bring anyone with me?

So – I do everything I can to attend a Sunday morning service.

Because when I miss a Sunday, I miss way more than I ever thought.

Will you make a commitment to Sunday morning’s with me, too?

Want to hear more thoughts from Sarah? She and her husband Justin recently launched a brand new blog: United & Untied.  

Check it out.

Any Other Thoughts?

So…that’s Sarah’s perspective.

Any other things you miss when you miss church? I would add that of all the people who suffer, I believe the kids are affected most. Here’s why.

Finally, in this post, I outline 10 reasons why infrequent church attendance is becoming more frequent even among Christians.

I’m thrilled to Sarah and many others connect regularly on a Sunday morning. There’s something powerful (even unstoppable) about the church when it gathers.

What would you add to this list?

Scroll down and leave a comment.

46 Comments

  1. Gwyn Herzog on December 9, 2018 at 12:08 am

    CS Lewis
    Getting out of Solidarity Conceit

    “When I first became a Christian. I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I would not go to the churches and gospel halls… I disliked very much their hymns. Which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw great merit in it. It came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began pealing off. I realized that the hymns were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit during an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you are not fit to clean those boots.
    It gets you out of your solitary conceit.

  2. Helen on December 5, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks so much for this.
    I am often unable to make Sunday morning church and get a lot of well meaning people support me by saying being a Christian isn’t about church attendance etc which I know BUT I truly miss it when I can’t go and being part of something like Sunday morning corporate worship and togetherness.
    Thanks for summing upsome of the reasons why I miss gong to church when I can’t get.

  3. C on December 4, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Is this available in print-friendly .doc or .pdf??
    Please email…thanks!

  4. Tom Brown on December 3, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Many US churches, mine included, have mostly elderly congregations, with many members living alone as widows or widowers. Our refreshment time often lasts an hour or longer, because people are so starved for fellowship. Television and the Internet are not an adequate substitute for personal contact.

  5. Femi Imevbore on December 3, 2018 at 5:20 am

    For me as a Nigerian where we like to gather socially, I find that attending Sunday Service helps me to forget all my troubles and enjoy the fellowship of believers. The estacy I enjoy on Sundays pumps enough spiritual adrenalin into me to face the week ahead.

  6. Lisa Woods on December 2, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Thiis is so timely and something I was thinking about just this morning. The thought that came to mind is that you miss out on spending time with your family. We are adopted into the family of God and when we forsake coming together, we miss out on family relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have a son who in his teenage years preferred to spend time with his friends or other things besides family and the rest of us now have memories that he is not a part of. The family did not stop experiencing love, joy, peace, laughter, fellowship just because he was not there. He missed out and he was missed. What are we missing in relationship with our Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit as a spiritual family when we don’t worship together. I love this article and will definitely share it.

  7. Marie on December 2, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    i had trouble with church timing and naps and then my child not staying in nusary so i couldnt focus even it i did go. My childs older now so i have to buildtge routine of not missing church.

    • Chrissie on December 3, 2018 at 12:06 am

      This is exactly our issue. Our kids will not stay in the nursery so one of us is always in the nursery. If either of our other kids are struggling no on egets to be in service and its just a crazy stressful time of feeling like we are disturbing everyone. I so want to be back on the rhythm of church and I want that for my kids. I see all her points and totally agree but it feels lile sometimes it’s not a choice not to go its life circumstances and family dynamics that play into it .

      • Sharon Bradham on December 6, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        It can be very difficult to get to church with small children. They often cry and don’t want to stay in the nursery. I’ve been the nursery worker many times. Sometimes one parent or the other has stayed to appease them; other times a single mom has stayed the entire service. But these are usually short lived as the child grows accustomed to being left and is satisfied in the routine. Children embrace routine. Our two children began the routine of attending church from the time they were two weeks old. I can not remember a time they ever questioned if we were going to church in all their growing up years. It was a routine, a spiritual habit. We made the decision once. Church attendance is vital to our spiritual growth, necessary for body ministry and to serve one another and commanded by our Heavenly Father. That was almost 40 years ago and we remain committed today. Sadly we have seen many friends and acquaintances fail to put God first in their lives, allowing the enemy to send circumstances and distractions to keep them home on Sunday. It begins subtly, missing here and there with good “reason”. Then suddenly it is five years later, they nor their children have been in church very often. There were job issues, soccer games, the new boat or camper, they were tired on Sundays and it was their only day to rest. Now their children whine about going to church – using the same excuses their parents use. So rather than argue and bicker the parents give in and they all stay home. They have set a routine and it is deciding if they will be going to church week by week. The enemy always makes sure there is some reason NOT to attend. I pray this will serve as a warning and all who find themselves debating whether to attend church regularly will make a quality decision to attend every Sunday. There may be balking and complaining at first, but as you make it a routine, not out of religious duty but motivated by love for God and love for your family and others, church services will become an oasis in the desert of life. The effort to get there will be eclipsed by the Presence of God and the joy of the Lord.

  8. Patrice Lappert on December 1, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I get to receive the body and blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. John 6. Why would I ever want to miss🙏🏼

    • Paul Graham on December 2, 2018 at 3:03 am

      So many great points and an excellent article.
      Really helpful so thank you.
      In the example we set as parents to out kids this is such a key point. If I’m not committed to Sundays my kids won’t be. Ad Paul Tripp says – If my kids are asking on Sunday ‘what are we doing today?’ I’m already losing the battle. Pastor Paul from Destiny Church Edinburgh, Scotland

  9. stanley zantarski on December 1, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Rhema Faith: Romans 10:17 The Power of the Preached Word of God obtains deeper roots when delivered to the five senses through a learned and skilled preacher
    Obedience: To The Call To Assemble
    Hebrews 10:25
    “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
    The Power of Synergy: For Answered Prayer
    Matthew 18:20
    “For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.”

  10. Ronnie Gaines on December 1, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    This article was so good. I’m sure many pastors like myself are nodding through the entire article. I wish that every lay person would read this and make a change. Unfortunately, I believe this will be an ongoing problem (I believe it’s a problem). I have encouraged, not demanded, time and time again to not miss church and be a part of what God is doing and speaking, but it is the same individuals who nod, amen, and shout yes, who miss 25 Sunday’s per year. Another thing that I am seeing in our church, we are a church of about 200, are many of those sitting in the congregation on some sort of technological device, during ministry time, absolutely disengaged. How does this change? God wants to do so many things in our lives and we limit Him.

  11. Trudy Kenyon Anderson on December 1, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    May I have permission to print Sarah’s blogpost(What You Never Know You Miss…) in our newsletter?

  12. Dana Roman on December 1, 2018 at 11:28 am

    You miss out on being a role model for your children or other church friends. We are all called to make disciples and especially our children will do what we do.

  13. Scott Adkins on April 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    If you don’t go to church you miss out on the Sacraments, which are Christ’s personal tangible ways of teliing us that we are loved by him and participate in his body and receive his grace.

    If your church doesn’t have Sacraments they probably still have Ordinances, which Jesus told you to do together to help your faith.

    I have not seen anyone yet able to partake in a Sacrament (or Ordinance) via Facebook live. It just doesn’t work unless you are physically there.

  14. Daniel Grädel on November 18, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Hi Carey am I allowed to translate this (into German), print it and give it to our people? – That would be helpful.

  15. Mike Wilson on October 26, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    One can be an Involved part of Christ’s body or can be a Committed part of God’s body. Like salvation, God allows us to make that choice. But if your eye decided to not open one morning, just take the day off, would you like it? What would it miss seeing?
    This morning I had bacon and eggs for breakfast. The pig was committed but the chicken was only involved. Which are you?
    (Great article btw!)

  16. Gail Johnson on October 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    There is great satisfaction in serving TOGETHER according to how God has gifted us.
    TOGETHER we are the Body of Christ.
    To enlarge on Rom 12:4-8; we are all members of one body, the body of Christ. As such we each have our own God given gifting to share in order that the whole body functions in strength and with symmetry for His glory.
    We ARE called to serve, not be served. To me that means that when we don’t do our part we weaken the body by causing others to pick up the slack created by our not being there in order to function in the way God intended and gifted us.
    Can an eye do the job of a stomach or the heart do the job of a hand? As followers of Christ we have a responsibility to take what He has given us and use it for His kingdom. We should choose to learn as much as possible, in order to love and serve others. We must remember, it’s NOT ALL ABOUT US!
    It’s in giving that we receive.
    And then there is the joy of being together to worship the One who united us and to experience the love and fellowship of a body united in the One who loves us most. By marinating in His presence TOGETHER we are infused with what we need to be His witness in a hurting and very troubled world.

  17. Patrick on September 30, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I am wondering if the impact would be different, especially with point #1, if there was no programming for kids during the service?

    • Karmen Wilharms on March 20, 2018 at 6:05 am

      We worship together as families, and I can see her benefit of being able to focus on the message without her child(ren) there. However, our family has special moments that only happen in church. My 18 year old son lays his head on my shoulder during the sermon. I NEVER get physical touch affection from him other than occasional hugs. That time is precious. Our youngest (currently 6), always gets special, uninterrupted time on Daddy’s lap, coloring, snuggling, etc. I hate missing a Sunday service.

  18. Sue on September 30, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Very insightful article. Another reason to be there is because there may be someone there you need to be there for. As a mom of a child with Aspergers, it wasn’t always easy to focus on the service while keeping DS occupied. There were times I was connected with someone—sometimes a visitor, sometimes a parent who just received the diagnosis of autism–and I was able to be a support for that person.

  19. […] listen to what this young mom had to say about her experience when she started skipping church because of the demands of parenting. […]

  20. Links to Begin the Week - RobertKrupp.com on August 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    […] What You Never Know You Miss By Skipping Sunday Morning […]

  21. Suzanne Yemen on July 31, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I totally agree with you Sarah! I might add that when I miss being at church , I miss being with my family! These are the people who love me, encourage me, motivate me , teach me… and I need there presence in my life!

  22. […] listen to what this young mom had to say about her experience when she started skipping church because of the demands of parenting. […]

  23. Steve Brown on July 4, 2017 at 11:56 am

    It is so easy when you work in “church world” to work during every service. There is always that conversation you need to have with a volunteer leader, or to check on the other ministry environments. Often times those things happen during a service that I could personally experience and the result is my soul wasn’t fed as fully as it could have been and I leave church exhausted rather than energized.
    Thanks for this great reminder Sarah!

  24. […] who are quick to tell you what you should be doing – or worse they want to touch your baby! This article convicted me this morning to bite the bullet and jump back into church each Sunday. To be a […]

  25. Angeline on July 2, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I agree completely with this article and a couple added feedback such as service to others. My other argument for going is that church provides a place for relationships to grow that help you grow in Christ (and vise versa) that you would never have sought out otherwise. There are people in my life that I would have never met if not for church who were instrumental in my Christian walk.

  26. […] What You Never Know You Miss By Skipping Sunday Morning […]

  27. Jamie on July 1, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    When I miss church on Sunday my week doesn’t goes as well. When I’m in church on Sunday I get fed for the week. Which helps me get through the week. There may still be stress in the week but I have the strength to walk through them and to know I have a church family that cares and prays for me and others. And by Friday or Saturday I’m looking forward to Sunday to be fed and recharged for the week ahead.

  28. Lindsey Etcheson on July 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    This is a fantastic article- thank you for your words of wisdom & call to action!
    I’m a Children’s Minister & I would resoundingly add that when you miss church and say you’ll just catch up online… That’s just YOU. Not your kids. They’ve missed out on huge opportunities of learning the Bible, worshiping, hanging out with Christian friends, being poured into and built up, serving and being part of the church too!
    Ministry isn’t something we do; its part of who we are! And it’s hard to be part of it when you’re not even there!!
    I’m thankful for online ministries (we even link our services weekly) but I’m more excited about the time we get to learn and grow as church so we can go out and be the church!!

  29. […] This article originally appeared here. […]

  30. Teresa Terrell on April 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Yes, I know and I enjoyed fairly regular church attendance during my retired time, allowing for family trips on some weekends to see my incapacitated mother…Now I am back in EMS be as a care provider I will point out that medical needs happen 24/7. If somebody passes out in church, you are gonna call an ambulance, right? I just transported a non emergent patient and we had sharing and fellowship in the back of our little crowded Traumahawk…???? Glad to be there for a sister in her hour of need.

  31. Bill on April 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Outstanding article that has encouraged me more than you will ever know. I agree with Walter, it is “refreshing” to hear this perspective. May I have permission to reprint and distribute?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 16, 2017 at 5:24 am

      Hey Bill…no problem as long as it’s not for sale, resale or distribution as part of a bigger publication. If you just want to share a few copies with friends, leaders or your congregation, go ahead!

  32. Walter Swaim on April 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    In a day and age when the “most faithful” go once or twice a month and use excuses or platitudes (or sports, etc. ad nauseam) to avoid regular assembly with their local church your words are as refreshing as the brooks of water you speak of in your illustration. May your tribe increase exponentially. Don’t be discouraged by those who would write negatively about your post. God is obviously blessing your faithfulness and will continue to do so.

  33. […] Sarah Piercy  |   What You Never Know You Miss By Skipping Sunday Morning […]

  34. Terry L Huffines on April 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the article. Another reason for not skipping opportunities to worship, learn, and serve with a family of faith was provided by John Wesley who said, “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.”

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

      great quote!

  35. GMC3MOM on April 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I think what is also great about this piece is that it is a great identifier of an unhealthy church or your time to move on from a church. If you go every Sunday, but you MISS uninterrupted time to hear God’s wisdom… then perhaps the church is becoming too gimmicky. If you go every Sunday, but you MISS worshiping with others… then perhaps the church is valuing production or worshiptainment over real authentic worship. If you go to church every Sunday, but you MISS the power and movement on the church… perhaps the church is getting lukewarm, too comfortable, or stagnant.

  36. Links for Leaders 4/14/17 | JoshuaReich.org on April 14, 2017 at 6:12 am

    […] Is missing church a big deal? Is it a sin? Does it matter if you and your family miss church on a Sunday morning? Sarah Piercy, has some great insight into that question and what you do miss when you miss church. […]

  37. Rachel Zito on April 14, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I also miss the opportunity to serve other people. I know that sounds crazy, but there is something about coming to a place and not thinking about myself for a couple of hours; thinking about other people and how I can help them out…just by listening and being there, praying for them, or physically doing something for them. When I do this, I gain perspective about my life. I realize that my problems maybe aren’t as big as I thought they were and/or I am encouraged by other people and what they are doing in their own lives. I am able to see how God is moving, and it’s exciting!

  38. Mike on April 14, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Very cool to hear how the Sunday service positively impacts a person.

    For me, the effect is a bit different. I find myself in the audience wondering why the group has submitted to one person/group of people (i.e. clergy) as the sole mouthpiece of God. I wonder if the wisdom of God is found in other places besides a pastoral sermon, or even the Bible for that matter.

    For the music part, I used to enjoy worship and served in the music ministry. Then it became more about performance asthetics instead of authentic cries of the heart. Now I can’t sit in a song service without seeing the mask of marketing.

    For me, I connect more with God when I’m surrounded by nature, where God is the true artist. Niagara is nice, but sometimes we need the serenity of the babbling brook to hear His still, small voice.

  39. Sarah Ingalls on April 13, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Growing up as a PK, missing church only happened when we were too sick to go.
    As a married couple, there were times when we didn’t want to go (church politics and hurts) but it was ingrained in us to be there. We kept going regardless.
    Our kids know that the occassions they miss are rare. We don’t stay home “just because”.

  40. Jon Stallings on April 13, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Great thoughts Sarah, #2 & #3 allude to the fact that God has always been about building a people / community. Yes he cares about us individually but his greater purpose is found only in community. Abraham to a family to 12 tribes to a nation. Jesus focused on building his disciples and the apostles building the churches.

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