Column: ‘Why People Do Not Go to Church?’

“Why People Do Not Go to Church?”
By Sr. Pastor Paul Cunningham
First Baptist Church of Los Alamos

A strange subject for a pastor to explore, but one that even this pastor, lived for 10 years. It’s a cultural phenomenon not limited to Los Alamos but spans across the Atlantic, into the very seat of modern Christianity.

According to one report by the North American Mission Board, Los Alamos has the highest percentage of church-attendance of any county in New Mexico – 9.5 percent! 

But still, ‘why do people not go to church?’

This is what I have seen, heard and felt:

  • #1 Objection: Time; that does not mean you are full of wickedness and that a swarm of locusts will invade your garden in June, it just means – but wow! Our lives are more full probably than at any other time in our lives and each of us deal with this to some degree or another. 
  • #2 Objection: Apparel; I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have anything to wear to church…” Remember this… you ARE living in New Mexico, when is the last time you saw someone other than a DoE, District agent wear a necktie or a woman wear ‘hose’? 
  • #3 Objection: Worth; “The ceiling would collapse… the walls would fall in… if I went to church…” Let me answer your objections as tactfully as I can: #1; we all understand the time issue, a church service 90 minutes at most…  #2: just wear clothes, you are probably better dressed than most of the regulars…  #3: all churches have undergone similar structural design features as the CMRR project to insure against nuclear attacks or the Caldera going seismic in a major way. But let’s get a little more honest about ‘why people do not go to church…’ 
  • #4 Objection: Church itself; whether we are talking about cultural relevancy, scandals, language barriers (speaking Christianese…), or just flat out, mean people! This one is big! You could probably write the next paragraph better than I could, so go ahead: __________________________________________________________
  • #5 Objection: Meaning for my Life; ‘what’s it really about anyway…? The robes… the formality… songs… the guy up there talking… (ouch!) What’s a hymnal… what is the New Testament, what’s wrong with the Old Testament… praying to some guy in southern Europe; is that really necessary… is God real… and who is this Jesus anyway…? I wish I could answer all of your objections or questions in short fashion, but let me say this; Jesus is the one who brings meaning to this world we live in. It might take time to work through the details, but at the end of the day, it’s faith in Him alone that brings light into the darkness of life. 

Ojections, Questions? I understand! What I have found during my own journey of faith is that God is able to handle all of my ‘objections’ and ‘questions.’

I also discovered that my objections were “my” issues, not anyone else’s … but still God could handle them! My objections set aside – I went back and discovered that during that time God, nor the truth about Him had changed – but my heart toward Him had. However – I was back!

If you have simply ‘stopped’ going to church or never stepped foot inside a church for whatever reason … let me invite you (back) to church. You are invited to a place of grace, so with all objections aside, we hope you will join us this Easter weekend or some weekend in the future to explore faith, hope and love together with us!

Good Friday: 6 p.m., Sunday: 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Los Alamos, 2200 Diamond Dr. For more information, visit



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