Today is March 26, 2023
We are a part of The Synod of the Rocky Mountains, and the Presbyterian Church USA

Calories and Church

Posted on December 11, 2012

            This morning I was trying to figure out how many calories are in a boneless – skinless chicken thigh.  Yes, I am obsessing over this diet.  It’s just how I am.

             My usual favorite nutrition fact web site had conflicting numbers, so I Googled “chicken thigh calories” and was sent to  It is a swell sight, and I especially liked the data it gave me.

            After I got the info I wanted, I looked around the sight some.  I clicked on a pull-down menu item called: “exercise.”  An item on the menu was “activity browser.”  Then for no good reason I clicked on it and was given: “activities.”  So I invested one more click, and then it got really interesting.  It gave me: “religious activities.”

            It contains a listing of church activities and how many calories per hour we burn at church.

            Some of the data is fascinating.


  • We burn more calories eating at church (204 per hour) than we do praying (a measly 68).  This must be the reason every activity at a Presbyterian church has a food component.
  • As we sit and stand during worship we burn about 70 calories per hour.  Now if we were really into liturgical dance, we could up the calories burned to 340.  Worship can become an aerobic activity.  If I see you dancing during worship next week, I’ll understand you just need a good workout.
  •  According to the site I burn about 102 calories per hour sitting at a keyboard working on a sermon.  It seems like a lot more when I put it off until Saturday night, and I am really sweating out getting that sermon done and polished before my 10:00 Sunday morning deadline.
  •  You might want to consider volunteering to usher some Sunday.  You would burn off almost twice as many calories as those slackers who are JUST praying.
  • I wonder how many calories we burn preaching, especially those Sundays, when it doesn’t seem to be working, and I can feel the “flop sweat” rolling down my back?
  •  The guitarists, keyboardists, choir and singers burn about 170 calories per hour. Alas, the sight did not list the amount of calories burned by a choir director.  I’ll bet the arm waving has to use up some extra calories.
  • What about fellowship time?  If you aren’t eating, but just visiting, it is hardly worth the effort.  You are only expending 68 calories, even if you stayed a whole hour.  But, if you got up and got yourself in the kitchen and washed some dishes, you will burn 156 calories in that same hour.


         Obviously I had a lot of fun on the sight, and now describing it to you.  But, honestly, what are we in church for?  We are not here to exercise, burn calories, or become more physically fit.

          Act 2:42 tells us why we are part of a church family: "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (the study of the Word – the Bible) and to fellowship, to the breaking of the bread (the Sacraments) and the prayers."
There may not be a huge aerobic payoff, but just think about worshiping in “Spirit and in Truth,” connecting with each other and connecting with the Lord - you just can’t beat the true benefits.

Grace and Peace,

Steve Nofel

View Blog Home Page