Hey Jerk, Don’t Bring Your Sick Kid to Church

The last two weeks my family has been afflicted with the stomach virus and we missed church two weeks in a row.  I want to share with you the strange thing that happened.   We did not get struck down by lightening.   I know, it is really strange, in my experience, most people believe that Jesus wants them to go to church no matter their state of health.

I could understand if our church was into faith healing. I don’t think a lot of that showboating actually goes on at our contemporary, coffee-bar style church. Besides, dropping your pestilence-ridden toddlers off at the nursery is NOT an attempt at faith healing. It is just a Jerk move.

I would propose that in addition to the contexts of your child actively spewing forth from both ends, coughing up hunks of green nastiness, or bleeding out their eyeballs that there are several other circumstances that merit staying at home.

  1. If your child has had a fever in the last forty-eight hours perhaps you should skip church or at least the nursery. (One day we were dropping off Z in the nursery and we overheard another couple talking about how their angel had been up sick all night and they were really looking forward to dropping him off for a break. Really? We just turned around and came home.) Also, if you are continually medicating your child to keep their fever down it doesn’t count as “not having a fever”.
  2. If your child has an actively snotty nose, or obvious respiratory infection. Don’t play. You know your baby is sick. Stop lying and saying things like, “oh her nose is really runny when she is teething.” That baby’s snot is green with blood in it. That is NOT teething.
  3. If your child has had stomach virus in the last week or so, you should pass up church. Rotovirus is highly contagious with just a few viral particles and can be transmitted for several days after the acute illness passes.   Plus, it is just gross and miserable and you are not a good person for doing this to others.   (On a related note, saw many people a couple of weeks ago on Facebook comment about how bad the stomach virus was at their house only to see them at church a couple of days I am sure all the volunteers are really going to be sending you a thank you card when they are missing valuable work time because for some reason you felt compelled to bring your sick child to church.)
  4. If your child has a positive flu and/or strep test, YOU. SHOULD. SKIP. CHURCH. (I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but sadly, I do.)

Just consider the above a public service announcement from both a physician and mommy.   Remember that there are other children, elderly and pregnant women at church who may have depressed immune systems. There are also numerous people that cannot be vaccinated for myriad reasons (transplants, allergies, etc.) They rely on us not to expose them to diseases.

I think the problem is that people feel “safe” at church and expect people there to act ethically and in the best interest of the whole community and they do not use the vigilance they would in other public settings to protect themselves against germs. Please realize that God is not going to strike you down for enjoying the sermon remotely while in your PJ’s if your family is sick. We will ALL thank you for this.   Also, remember to wash your hands and vaccinate those kiddos! We are all in this together!


  1. Right on. Besides the fact that others shouldn’t be exposed to whatever the sick child has, it’s certainly not fair to drag a sick child out of the house to begin with. Sick children need nurturing. What kind of parent forces a truly sick child to attend church or any other event? This was one of my pet peeves when my children were little. They were always catching something from other kids whose parents believed their children should be good little soldiers and just ignore their pain and discomfort.

  2. Excellent post. It is a hot button topic with me; contagious people do not belong out with the public. I view it as an assault. Through deliberate action, people have been harmed. There is something seriously wrong with anyone who believes he or she actually has an option about going out, or taking someone out who is sick. Church or anywhere else. Its wrong. Period.

    • fifteen sweet little babies have died from the flu this year. I wish these people could explain to their parents why they chose to go out in public sick.

    • As a doctor, people come to my work sick all the time, and I am totally ok with that, but I was walking through the target parking lot and saw a lady I just diagnosed with flu go into the Hibachi Supreme Buffet. What an a-hole.

  3. So many people continue to go out when they are sick and share their illness with the rest of us. Many years ago I worked with a guy who was so proud that he had never taken a sick leave day. That is not saying he never got sick, just that he always turned up to work to spread it around. Thoughtless and selfish I think.

  4. Our annual routine is to stop church going later October when the leaves change and then pick it up around Easter again. That does a lot to eliminate winter illness all together. If we could skip holidays it would be cured.

  5. I have often sent men home from work when they show up sick. Just as much for their own sake as for the rest of the crew.
    Our kids are older now, but I can remember many times we changed plans because of an ill child. It’s just the right thing to do!
    I hope you and your family feel better soon!

      • Your welcome. And true, but most bosses I have had didn’t have five kids at home.
        It was a nightmare when they were younger. Mama and I would have plan out who could take off work when. Or rock paper scissors for the chance to get out of a houseful of sick kids!

  6. I could not agree more! I do volunteer in the nursery at our church and I cannot count how many times there have been sick children in the nursery. The parents try to play it off as teething or allergies. Drives me crazy!!

  7. Could we also get the adults to stay home when they’re sick too? The last few times that I went to church, I ended up getting sick after every time we went. After the fourth illness, I gave up.

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