Why A Mom Stopped Taking Her Kids to Church

Recently I was reading about a mom who stopped taking her child to church.  This is a mom who was raised in church herself.  She hasn't lost her faith, but she has disengaged from a local church.

Why?  Here's what she shared.

"We stopped going to church when he was a toddler.  It wasn’t planned.  As a family with kids with special needs, church was one thing that became more complicated than we anticipated.  After some futile attempts, we decided we could no longer do church.

The dyslexia that made school so hard for Tom to manage during the week wasn’t any easier to deal with at Sunday school.  Lizzy’s developmental delays ruled out putting her in the church nursery during the service.  When we took her to the service ourselves, she couldn’t sit still.  Dealing with Peter was also a struggle.  His ADHD made it impossible for him to sit quietly and listen. 

It became a herculean effort to get everyone out the door each Sunday for 9:00 services.  When we did make it, we would end up having to leave early because someone was crying or melting down.  We took a break on going in the hope that the kids would settle down as they got older, but it never happened.

It was never my intention to deprive the kids of the same religious foundation that Joe and I had.  I do know other families that have kids with issues that do make church a priority.  As I pondered Peter’s question, I had to face the reality that I just couldn’t make it work for us."

As you read this, you pick up on some of her reasons:

  • The church wasn't prepared to minister to her child with special needs.
  • The kids had a hard time sitting still and listening in the service.
  • It took a lot of effort to get everyone up and ready to go.
  • It just wasn't a priority.
There are a variety of reasons why families stop attending church.  We do know...
  • A high percentage of families who have kids with special needs do not attend church because churches are not prepared to receive them.  The churches want to, but they simply aren't prepared.
  • Families are busier than ever.  Their time is precious and they prioritize it.  Those who quit might not say it with their words, but their actions say the return is not worth the investment of their time.
So what's the answer?  How can we engage families and see them make church a priority?

For this family, we derive from her story, that her family needed...
  • A church that was prepared to ministry to her child who has special needs. 
What are some other reasons why families stop attending church?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.  If we're going to help more families engage in faithful church attendance, then we've got to find out what the barriers are and find ways to remove those barriers.