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How do you nicely turn down an invite to church without offending?

I have a coworker who is a very conservative Southern Baptist. She and I have become good friends this year even. She is very young and has led a fairly sheltered life. Basically everyone she knows is Christian and goes to church, but me.

Another coworker (who is Christian, but doesn’t attend regularly) has really been struggling with personal issues. She brought up inviting her to church and I said it was a great idea. Well, now she keeps asking me about going to church with her. I don’t know how to tell her I’m not a Christian and if I was going to go to church, it wouldn’t be her Southern Baptist church. She means no offense, she just hasn’t been around people of different faiths and assumes everyone believes what she does. If I tell her I don’t agree with what her church teaches it will blow her mind.

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maxswolfsuit

Asked by maxswolfsuit at 11:45 AM on Jun. 13, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 14 (1,726 Credits)
Answers (20)
  • I would tell her the truth, just do it in the nicest way possible.
    Like, "No thank you, but thank you for the invite!"
    Blessings..
    Daphna28

    Answer by Daphna28 at 11:49 AM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • I would just tell her you do not attend church for a reason but you are glad it works for her. If she asks why than just let her know that the christian religion is not for you but again you are happy that it works so well for her.

    It may blow her mind, but just keep informing her how glad you are that she lovs her faith so that she does not feel like you are saying her rligion is wrong when you tell her that you do not believe. Best of luck.
    Alanaplus3

    Answer by Alanaplus3 at 11:52 AM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • I would tell her that you respect and admire her faith, and you think it's great that she feels so passionately about it. Which is why, feeling as strongly about her own faith that she does, you're sure that she will understand and respect that you feel just as strongly and passionately about your own faith, which is not the same as hers. Then smile and say that you do appreciate her invitation, and the spirit in which it was made. If she pushes you to know what yours is, you can either answer her (if done in a gentle and loving way, it could be a very good experience for her, as opposed to a traumatic one), or you can smile and tell her, in a gentle way, that you're sorry, but your faith is private, and even though you're friends, you don't feel comfortable discussing it with co-workers. (Also another good lesson for her to learn, if handled in a tactful way.)

    sailorwifenmom

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 11:55 AM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • You could also tell her "Thank you for caring enough to invite me, but I'm happy with my own faith and it's practices." You don't have to go into what it is, and that covers pretty much everything from you're Jewish, to you're Pagan, to you're Atheist to you worship the second moon of Mars....

    sailorwifenmom

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 11:57 AM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • I don't see why "No Thanks" would be offensive. Or "Thanks for the offer but I'm not interested"... You don't have to get in to your beliefs or any differences between your and hers... Just say no thanks and move on...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 12:04 PM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • "You could also tell her "Thank you for caring enough to invite me, but I'm happy with my own faith and it's practices." You don't have to go into what it is, and that covers pretty much everything from you're Jewish, to you're Pagan, to you're Atheist to you worship the second moon of Mars.... "


    I love this answer, but she wouldn't let that rest. She would want details... and she really doesn't want to hear them.


    Her youth and naivete result in her not knowing the old adage "never discuss politics and religion" I really like her, but I doubt I can single handedly open up her mind to different ways of thinking.

    maxswolfsuit

    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 12:06 PM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • What about "Thank you for the invite, but I'm not really a church-y person." Be careful though. Last year I chatted with another mom at my son's school almost daily for months until she invited me to her church. All I said was "Thanks, but we're not religious." She literally took off running and never spoke to me again.
    JulieJacobKyle

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 12:56 PM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • I say be honest with your friend. If they are a true friend they won't get offended. Also I go to church and the way I feel if you are a "christian" then you have no right to judge or get upset with someone because they don't want to go to church or don't agree with that particular church teachings. God loves everyone no matter if they go to church or not! :)
    cleo2582

    Answer by cleo2582 at 12:58 PM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • I doubt it would blow her mind and I doubt she really thinks everyone thinks the way she does no matter how sheltered she was, she probably wants you to come because she knows you aren't a Christian, cares about you, and wants you to be saved. If you really don't want to go just tell her no thank you. You absolutely aren't going to blow her mind if you tell her you aren't a Christian.
    mybella81

    Answer by mybella81 at 1:00 PM on Jun. 13, 2010

  • I beg to differ mybella, most of the Christians that I know IRL who bug me about going to church get irate when we let them know we are not Christian. I hope the OP's friend is like you though mybella and handles it in a mature manner but alas that has not been my experience with people who tend to get over zealous with the invites to church.

    pnwmom

    Answer by pnwmom at 1:18 PM on Jun. 13, 2010

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