Baseball Vs. Church

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I was talking to a friend of mine in church a few weeks ago about my desire to get my daughter Elizabeth enrolled in T-ball or softball next summer. She was telling me about the various leagues and then pointed out her displeasure that many of the games for older children are held on Sunday mornings. She talked to a mom recently who said she spends thousands of dollars each summer for her son to play baseball. We discussed the wisdom of that investment since most of these children will never play ball professionally, and the “wisdom” of skipping church for the summer.

Then a little girl who normally attends church during the school year told me how much she missed coming to church in the summer. She said her brother plays baseball on Sunday mornings and they go as a family to the games. I told her it was important for her to honor her parents, as this is one of the Ten Commandments that we studied in children’s church. But at the same time, my heart was breaking for her and the poor example that was being set by her parents.

I found an article on this topic written from the perspective of a parent who skips church in the summer so his son can play baseball. Here is a portion of what he wrote:

For two years now we have traveled on weekends to local baseball fields, passing by churches filled with parishners [sic] on Sunday mornings. I feel guilty knowing I am not attending church, but that decision had to be made for my son to play on the team. (emphasis mine)

Now my faith hasn’t disappeared. Our family has just taken some time off from attending services. . . . As soon as the season is over, we are back on a regular basis. [1]

I agree that a decision had to be made, but did he make the right one? What kind of example is he setting for his son? The father’s faith may not have disappeared, but what about the faith of his young son? Is he “already gone” because he sees church being relegated to second place? He may be physically sitting with his parents in the pew on Sunday when they return to church, but is he already spiritually gone? These are vital questions we must ask ourselves, no matter what our child might be involved in that conflicts with church life and/or family life. Although the world would like to make us think otherwise, extracurricular activities are not primary on God’s list of what children need to be taught or involved in. Read Deuteronomy 6:4–9 today and think about how this applies to you and your family. I know I will.


[1] Bob Hammerstorm, “Church vs. Sports,” nashuatelegraph.com, April 30, 2008, http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/raisingathletes/2008/04/30/church-vs-sports/.

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