Stop the Bickering: 12 Silly Church Debates That Will Make You Roll Your Eyes

🌺  Written by Amanda Whittington

I will never forget my very first council meeting as a brand-new minister of music. The council members didn’t care about my age, gender, or lack of experience. They only cared about the budget (or lack thereof). What started as a benign meeting ended in yelling and puffy red faces as the elders argued back and forth over how much money to appropriate to the church cantata. I wasn’t even consulted. Instead, I cringed and tried to make myself invisible as the warring deacons decided the choir’s destiny.

While ridiculous church controversies are sad, they can also be rather hilarious, especially when church folks are more committed to their personal agendas than they are to their faith. What do you think of these church controversies you can laugh at or fix?


To Robe or Not to Robe

church choir members holding hymn books and singing
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Many liturgical churches take pride in their gorgeous, flowing robes for both the clergy and the choir. Wearing robes is symbolic: for pastors and priests, it can signify the priestly office they hold. For choirs, robes give the appearance of being unified.

But when summertime arrives, those beautiful robes can become unbearably hot! Some churches, especially those without air conditioning, will shed their robes for the warm summer services.

But sometimes, churches want to end the regular use of robes, saving them for special occasions or not using them at all. This can cause considerable controversy in the church, and many arguments have erupted over whether or not to wear robes at all.


Organs or Guitars

man playing guitar
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There is something entirely majestic about using a pipe organ in a worship service, but many people have trouble connecting with this traditional style of music. They prefer more modern music, with guitars, drums and keyboards. Others love being rooted in tradition and feel connected to past congregations by worshipping with the organ.

While neither is wrong or bad, church members can be very passionate about which one they feel is the best. Rather than duking it out over which type of music to use, some churches will try both and create a blended service, while other churches may opt for multiple services in an attempt to make everyone happy.

Whatever style of music you connect with the most is just fine as long as the church can still get along.


Wine Verses Grape Juice

Communion in church showing a glass of red wine and an (Eulogia) bread offering at church, with a cross engraved in the middle, sitting on a Bible, with" in bold print
Photo Credit: Lightstock.

Wine was traditionally used during communion services, but many churches have switched over to grape juice. It’s pretty clear that Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper in the New Testament, which leads many to believe that’s the way churches should serve communion. However, some people feel that wine is inappropriate for children and for people who may have challenges with alcoholism.

The Bible doesn’t write a prescription for which one is right, even though many people have a very strong opinion!


Comfy Pews

Catholic pews
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Older churches are generally furnished with intricately carved wooden pews. And while they may look beautiful, they can also be rather hard on the backside. If you ascribe to the saying, The mind can only absorb what the hind end can endure. You might prefer cushions on your church’s pews.

Many a church controversy has been sparked by the comfiness – or lack thereof – of the church’s seats. The problem usually isn’t the aesthetics of the pews; the controversy comes when church members see the price tags on the pew cushions.


Drinking (Coffee) in the Sanctuary

elderly man drinking coffee
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There’s something to be said for enjoying the opening song with a hot cup of coffee in hand. But many churches don’t allow food and drink in their sanctuaries. These churches are worried about the cleanliness of the carpet, the appearance of the chairs, and preventing falls from spilled drinks on slippery floors.

If you have a modern sanctuary with a non-traditional style, you’re more likely to be allowed to drink coffee in the sanctuary than if you have an older, more traditional church.


Hymnbooks or Projectors

Person holding a hymnal
Photo Credit: Lightstock.

It was a very big deal in my home church. Some long-time members felt that projectors only belonged in Bible studies or Sunday night casual services in the church basement. They loved the feel of the hymnbook, worn with age and heavy in your hands as you sing.

There were many arguments started over whether or not to switch to song sheets or even a projector in the Sunday morning service. Many folks were simply afraid to let go of their favorite hymnbook and apprehensive about the aesthetics in the sanctuary.

But as the controversy wore out, we discovered that those who were hesitant to jump on the projector bandwagon would hold their hymnbooks while watching the projector screen – and they happily got to try the best of both worlds.


Carpet Colors

Woman kneeling in a church
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Of course, it happens periodically – the church carpeting needs to be replaced when it gets worn. Of course, recarpeting the sanctuary is a huge expense, and choosing the color is incredibly difficult.

Many heated debates have been started while discussing whether to carpet the church in red or blue. If your church just can’t decide, maybe a neutral beige is the way to go.


Controversial Church Attire

woman holding up dress
Photo Credit: Lightstock.

If you aren’t upfront, you might think what you wear to church doesn’t matter. But in some churches, it actually does! Many traditional churches have a more formal feeling, with men donning suits and ties and women wearing their finest dresses and even stylish hats. These churches may not allow bare shoulders, and even open-toed shoes can be a faux pas in some formal churches.

However, more modern services may not have such dress codes in place, allowing more freedom of expression in casual clothing. They may allow jeans, polos, and even T-shirts and shorts.

Of course, the most important part of church attire is that you are actually at church regardless of what you wear. But if you have any doubt, just look to the ushers as an example of the church’s preferred clothing choice.


Service Start Times

A clock next to an open book.
Photo Credit: Lightstock.

Why does the church service start at 11 am? Most likely because it’s always been that way. However, in the warmer summer months, many churches move their services to an earlier and cooler time of day.

However, once these churches have air conditioning installed, they don’t need to change the summer service times. What happens next can be quite shocking if the church members can’t agree to what time the services should start.


Flowers on the Altar

Flowers in a vase
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As a child, my home church had fresh flowers on the altar every Sunday. I thought of them as a beautiful offering to God, a gift that the church gave. However, many churches don’t have altars or places to display fresh flowers during the service.

Should the church always have fresh flowers during services? Is it ok to use silk flowers when the church budget gets tight? Or should flowers be avoided altogether?


Church Budgets

money calculator notebook
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Budgets are hard to keep, whether your church is large or small. It can be hard for churches to keep up with their bills and still maintain their ministry and mission work. It might be one of the biggest controversies in churches, especially when people can’t agree with what expenses need to be prioritized.


Kids in the Worship Service

Toddler playing with Bibles in church
Photo Credit: Lightstock.

One of the biggest fights I ever heard in a church was not about the music or about the budget; it was actually about having children in the worship service.

Some people feel that children can be present but should be seen and not heard. After all, a crying child is a distraction. Others believe that children are just as important as the parents and should be allowed to fully integrate in the worship service, no matter how wiggly and whiny they may be.

The last group takes an in-between stance, keeping kids in the services with their families for opening worship but sending them off to children’s church at sermon time.
No matter how much fighting goes on over kids in the worship service, it might be a good idea to ask the kids what works for them!


15 Important Issues Catholics and Protestants Can’t Seem to Agree On

Smarty pants lady and grouchy gentleman
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Have you ever wondered what Catholics or Protestants really believe?

Maybe you were taught that the “other side” is completely wrong, misguided, and sinful, but you’re not sure why (or if that’s even accurate).

As someone who grew up in a very Protestant home and culture (my grandpa was a pastor) before marrying into a very Catholic family (we attend mass every week), I’ve had a front row seat to see how these two major branches of Christianity compare.

In many ways, Catholics and Protestants really aren’t that different.

And, interestingly enough, some of the biggest differences between Catholic and Protestant Churches aren’t limited only to differences in belief. There are some pretty big cultural differences as well.

So, at the risk of oversimplifying (obviously, every individual church is different), here are the biggest differences between Catholic vs. Protestant worship and belief.

15 Important Issues Catholics and Protestants Can’t Seem to Agree On


From Pulpit to Platform: Meet 10 Massive Megachurches that Inspire Millions

church worship service
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to worship inside one of the country’s largest megachurches?

Whether you’re looking for sermons to convict and inspire, worship music to usher you into God’s presence, opportunities to make a difference in your local community or programs for the whole family to get connected in the community, these churches have it all.

With charismatic preachers, talented worship teams, and friendly staff, it’s not difficult to see how these churches grew to the impressive size they are today.

From Pulpit to Platform: Meet 10 Massive Megachurches that Inspire Millions


Amanda Whittington
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Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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