The Pastor Missed Church On Easter


I am a pastor. I did not go to church on Easter. That is perfectly ok!

It is Spring Break and my family took a vacation over the Easter weekend. This is the first time I have missed church on Easter in over 20 years. When you are in church leadership, you just don’t miss on the biggest Sunday of the church calendar. That is more of an abomination than sinning. Matter of fact, one could argue that missing church on Easter is the unpardonable sin. However, I am an unpaid church planter/pastor. We only meet the first Sunday of the month but we often visit other local churches.

It felt weird for sure. We were in the Children’s Discovery Museum in Chattanooga when most Christians were getting their worship on. We were uncovering dinosaur bones in the sand when most Christians were listening to how Jesus will make dead bones rise. We were making bubbles while churches were talking about the cleansing power of Jesus.  There was a tinge of guilt but it left me quickly when I thought of the success we’ve had in ministry over the last year since we moved back and the quality time I was spending with my family.

As I was sharing a few weeks ago with GraceLife, my church family in Clarksville,TN that sent my family and I off to plant Village Church, in the year since we have planted our missional community, I have seen five families return to meeting with a christian community, two salvations, and one troubled marriage healed. All this I have been allowed to experience outside the meeting on Sunday morning. That means I am too busy making disciples outside the Sunday service to let the Sunday service become a wedge between my ministry and my family. In other words, gathering together is a bonus to the ministry we are doing.

Church is important but not important enough to destroy opportunities to vacation with my family on what is possibly the most important Sunday on the Church calendar. Don’t get me wrong. Meeting together is important. Community is important. Discipling is important. But so is my family, my first ministry. If that means missing Maundy Service, Good Friday service, Sunrise service and Easter services so that I can get away with my wife and son, who is well aware of the incredible sacrifice our savior made so that we may have eternal life, I will do it if it means strengthening our familial bond and love.

My point is this. It really is ok to miss church as long as that time is spent reenergizing, building bonds or doing ministry in other ways. Even if it is the “Super Bowl” of Sunday services. I know some will disagree with me and maybe I am not articulating my point very well but after four full days in a high touristic city and writing this just before laying my head down to rest up for one more full adventure-packed day, a thought can sometimes seem shy of fluency.

I hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend with all the opportunities to worship and reflect on Jesus’ mighty work to and on the cross. He is risen I truly believe and because of that hope, we will one day rise as well. Let me leave you with the lyrics of one of my favorite songs to sing on Easter.

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About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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