Why don’t people want to go to church?

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
I realize before I type one sentence of this column that I am apt to be harshly judged for daring to breach this unseen and unsaid fact of life, but I have had three instances this week that lead me to think that something should be written to at least admit the charges and perhaps to help someone reading these words to see their harm and danger. When we go to a chosen ballgame, we cheer, shout, yell, wear the team’s colors, and in general, support whatever activity is going on at the time. We are truly fanatical about our actions and the money we spend doesn’t seem to matter. We are called “fans” for these actions and our love of the sport. We really don’t care who happens to sit in the seats around us as long as they behave in a decent fashion. In fact, some fans become good friends with each other and visit long after the game has ended.

People often say they don’t care to go to church because there are so many hypocrites that go and do not live the life they claim to expound while at church on Sunday morning. In other words, these folks are Sunday morning Christians and play the part well while in church, but at home and on their jobs, they are the very devil to live with and know. They dress the part, spout the rules, perhaps even give when the offering plate is passed, and always greet the pastor and staff when leaving the service.

I am pretty sure that these same people must realize that there are hypocrites at the various ballgames, but that doesn’t keep these folks at home. They simply overlook them and concentrate on the game being played. Jesus had these same folks in his ministry on earth. He referred to them as whited sepulchers in Matthew 23:27. (“Woe unto you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whited sepulchers and look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”) That is pretty descriptive writing and speaking. Jesus did not mince words and he let people know what he was thinking. I suspect that some of our pastors and priests would like to be able to say something similar to their congregations if it wouldn’t split the church right down the middle.

Why don’t people want to go to church?

Before you believe I have chosen sides, let me assure you I have not, and in fact, the reason this article is being written is that I happened to have interaction with one of these fine whited tombs this week that brought these thoughts to mind. Before you spend time in trying to determine which friend acted this way, let me state she does not live in Texas and you most likely do not know her. And, I have never considered her my friend or even close acquaintance.

First of all, she is lazy and does not do the work she is paid to do. She manages to pawn most assignments off on others, but arranges to be present to take any credit given out and is on hand to be the recipient of any praise coming that way. At least three staff members have resigned positions because of her inability to get along, be a team player, and carry her share of the load. However, she is always first on the scene with advice, solicited or unsolicited, and has her favorite Scriptures ready to quote her perceived position. Most often, the verses she chooses to use have little or nothing to do with the subject at hand and everyone in the vicinity simply lets it pass.

When a young person makes a comment about his or her future, what they’d like to do, who they are dating, she always come up with some unflattering comment or reason why it is not a good idea. She will also throw in her Scripture of choice even though it doesn’t apply. She will, also, lie straight up to cement her position. My oldest daughter, DeAnna, was the recipient of one of her ornate lies told directly to her face and she has never made that right. I do have to say, in all fairness, she gets this honestly. Her dad is a champion of judging others, pointing out faults, making accusations, all the while holding out his hand for a generous gift from Christians.

God has ways of dealing with folks like these and I am really not happy when their hearts genuinely hurt, their homes come unglued, a mate strays, or a child is very ill, but sometimes, it seems to me, that these are direct ways God gets the attention of those who harm his work and his people. I would rather people just do right from the get go and not hinder the work of Christ.

If you have been disillusioned by a prideful believer, been hurt in a spiritual matter, or stopped going to church because of the way people have acted, please don’t let that keep you from God or the things of God. We all must learn to focus on Him, His word, and His plan for our lives. If we can keep our eyes on Him, we have less time to fret over these harmful people to ministry. If you see yourself in these descriptions, ask God to help you stop your hurtful behavior and become an encourager instead.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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One Response to “Why don’t people want to go to church?”

  1. Well said, Brenda! Keep up the good words and work!

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