10 Things People Do on Sundays Rather than Church—and why it matters

I can’t remember which book it was that I read, but the author challenged me to go to an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) on any Sunday morning and take a poll. Ask the diners if they considered attending church that morning. Hmmm, let me think, IHOP or church, IHOP or church…

Most would reply IHOP! Think about it—how many churches have a waiting list to get in on Sundays like your typical IHOP?

Times have changed since I was a boy. In the 70’s the majority of people, at least in the South, went to church on Sundays. It wasn’t easy to find a restaurant open on Sunday mornings. I remember that you better plan ahead and fill your car with gas on Saturday if you were traveling a long distance on Sunday. Why? You might not find a gas station open.

In today’s America, we have all kinds of options for spending our Sunday mornings.

So what do people do these days on Sunday morning instead of attending church?

  • Eat out.
  • Attend Little League games
  • Watch sports
  • Go camping
  • Enjoy the lake/beach
  • Browse a farmers market
  • Stay in bed
  • Hang out at a coffee shop
  • Go shopping
  • Work

Why does it matter? You might ask, whether a Christian or not, what is the big deal?

Here is why it matters…

We were made for a Sabbath—a day of rest. You might have looked back at that list. You are right, several of those things listed sound restful. True.

But what I am talking about is that we need a day of spiritual rest. A day when we take our foot off the pedal of pursuing success and entertainment to pursue God.

The idea of reserving Sunday as a day of rest and worship comes from our country’s Christian heritage.

When we lived in Asia, Sunday was very much like any other day of the week. Growing up in our American Judeo-Christian culture and then living in an Asian culture, it was easy to see the frantic, stress-filled pace people live at in Asia.

Their souls are never at rest. Our culture is becoming the same.

Getting into a rhythm of communing with our Creator is what sustains us.

Another reason it matters…

As a Christian, if I want others to know who God is, I need to spend time where those people are.

I know that some surveys suggest that if a person is invited to attend church it is highly probable they will accept that offer. However, the long line at IHOP suggests a different reality.

That tells me it is important, in fact, vital for me to spend time with people where they are at.

I know, it sounds like I am recommending that you stop going to church and get in line at the breakfast place. No, not really.

But, I am suggesting that part of our life’s rhythm is to engage.

Commune and engage.

We were created to commune with God and to engage others so that they will know God.


Question – How do you spend your Sundays? 




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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

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One thought on “10 Things People Do on Sundays Rather than Church—and why it matters

  1. Sundays are usually “date” days. After church, we grab a bite to eat at our favorite place- Fuddruckers. We choose a movie or show to watch and spend the afternoon and evening relaxing. Some days we go shopping, finish up chores, or go see a movie, but whatever it is, we do it together!