Churchgoers, pastors address how often it’s OK to skip church for kids’ sports

“A Lifeway Research study of both U.S. Protestant pastors and churchgoers found most in both groups believe it’s OK to miss church occasionally for a kid’s game or travel sporting event, but those in the pews are laxer on the issue than those behind the pulpit.” - The Baptist Paper


Here's a good rule of thumb: if it would be OK for the pastor to miss the same church services for the same reasons, then it's OK for the rest of the body.

I tend to think of this in terms of regularity. When I still had kids at home, I didn’t schedule their participation in things (sports or not) that would keep them (or me) away from church services regularly. If it actually got to the point that they were in state or national-level events, then occasionally was fine. (No big secret, but that didn’t happen that often.)

I find it interesting that this is being pointed out for sports, but could just as easily apply to things like Scouting (though that has other issues now), music, debate, quizzing, or any of the multitude of things that kids can participate in regularly and/or competitively. I rarely saw anyone complain about kids being away for an occasional music competition, but sports are always seen somehow as different.

Either way, though, I personally see a big difference in planning to be away from church regularly vs. something coming up that was possible, but not particularly likely (championship, etc.). And I would have no issue with the pastor’s kids being in those things any more or less than anyone else at the church.

Dave Barnhart