The Church’s Sunday Competition … from Christians

Many, including myself, have bemoaned the ever increasing problem of activities (e.g., teen athletics, scouts, etc.) scheduled on Sundays, necessitating tough choices for Christian families.

However, I find it even more heinous when church or parachurch organizations schedule activities on Sunday morning, which would necessarily prohibit attenders from participating in the gathering of the local congregation for worship.

What are your arguments for or against church/parachurch activities (e.g., ladies retreats, marriage conferences, college getaways, etc.) being scheduled which conflict with the only/main worship service for a congregation?

Does your church have any written or otherwise understood “non compete” clause?


About Eric "Gunny" Hartman

Gunny is pastor of Providence Church in Plano, TX, and has taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has completed coursework for a PhD in Rhetoric at University of Texas at Arlington and tries to be a good father to his 4 kiddos, exhibited by coaching a girls soccer team.


5 thoughts on “The Church’s Sunday Competition … from Christians

  1. >I suggested to my preacher at the time (he didn’t take the suggestion) that he should change the church sign to read thus:OUR CHURCH KEEPS THE MASS IN CHRISTMASIn hindsight, I think the joke would have been great but too costly to be worth it. 😉

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | July 11, 2008, 2:42 am
  2. >As far as (Southern) Baptist churches go, we tend to be at the more high church end of the spectrum.As such, I was one of those blown away by those who blew off the Lord Jesus and the worship He is/was due on the day celebrating His incarnation.Hmm. That probably sounds harsher than intended, but I still think it was indicative of those who prioritize family over Christ and His Bride. Yet, I think we’re living in an era of susceptibility to making an idol of the family and evaluating church based on what it can do for the family, instead of asking what the family can do to further the cause of Christ via the vehicle God ordained (i.e., the church).I appreciate the comments, particularly the variety. I’m a firmly convinced advocate of never scheduling anything in competition with congregational worship, but I certainly understand different perspectives seeing things differently.Sheesh … having been heavily steeped in parachurch ministry during my most formative early years in the faith, I was quite guilty of a low ecclesiology and was not a great church attender.I’m not a strict sabbatarian, but I just hate to think of events necessarily taking people away from their church on Sunday morning (assuming they don’t have multiple services, etc.).

    Posted by GUNNY | July 10, 2008, 8:01 pm
  3. >I think you’re right that Baptists tend to have a looser view of things than do Presbyterians and traditions who began when someone got kicked out of the Presbyterian church. (I mean, of course, my own beloved Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. 😉 ) I know I was rather horrified when, in the midst of the second year of the ridiculous “war on Christmas” hysteria, a goodly number of congregations, many of them Baptist, canceled services on Christmas morning. But many of the Baptists I know here in Georgia called my cynicism a species of Pharasaism. I know that’s not exactly parachurch, but I do think it’s illustrative of how much ecclesiology matters.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | July 10, 2008, 11:59 am
  4. >This largely depends on your view of church. I’m not a Presbyterian, but you folks seem pretty big on what happens on Sunday morning. It’s a sacred time when God shows up to a sacred space. I appreciate that, but that’s not my tradition.I’m from a Baptist low church tradition. We’re not about Sundays. Sundays are great, but the church is about life together. Thus whether you’re in the church participating in the sacraments rightly administered and hearing the word rightly preached on Sunday morning, or if you’re off on a ladies’ retreat, you are still “doing church” in some way. While I would never advocate someone substituting a Sunday morning parachurch activity for church on an ongoing basis, I don’t see a problem with once or twice, as one salient oversight said.

    Posted by Matt | July 9, 2008, 6:02 pm
  5. >I suppose if it’s a once off event then it would be okay. If it happened often I would probably tell them to stick it up their Balaam’s mode of transport.

    Posted by One Salient Oversight | July 9, 2008, 1:18 am

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