Here in Adrian Missouri tomorrow is the last day of school. Very soon our nation will celebrate Memorial Day which often serves as the unofficial beginning of summer. From now until the start of school and the arrival of Labor Day Churches will experience a summer drop off in attendance. For the months of June, July and August Church attendance will drop drastically as people spend time at kids sporting events, on vacation, doing weekend recreation and just resting.
None of this is real news. Anyone who has spent more than a year in a Church has seen this phenomenon played out first hand. I would also say that I completely understand why it happens. I take my personal vacation in the summer. I enjoy the weather and time with my children without the grind of school.
My fear is that some of those people who start missing Church this Summer will slowly drift away from Church altogether. In my experience I have rarely had people quit Church in one big decision. Instead most of the time it is a slow fade. Missing one week leads to two weeks, leads to a month and soon six months are gone. Before you know it Christmas is here and the Church is no longer a part of my life.
So, please let me offer up a couple of suggestions to help you from slowing drifting away from the Church and possibly your faith this summer.
First – Attend Church somewhere every week. If you are out-of-town, that’s okay, I guarantee there are Churches near where you will be. This minimizes your gaps between worship and exposes you to all kinds of new faith experiences.
Second – Use Internet Services. If you can’t make it to a place of worship or you just want to sleep in as long as you can, that’s okay. Numerous Churches have services online on Sundays (and Saturdays). I have used the one at LifeChurch.tv on snow days in the past. You can sleep in, skip the shower and stay in your pajamas. I do not recommend these every week, but they are helpful in certain situations.
Third – Have a personal worship time. If your weekend is too busy for any kind of Church then take time to worship as a family on a weeknight. Read the Bible together. Listen to a sermon online. Listen to worship songs and possibly sing along. Write an offering check, put it in an envelope and get ready to send it off. You get the idea.
Finally – Stay personally connected to your Church. Invite people from the Church you attend over to your house. Have a cookout. Sit on the porch and drink a lemonade and talk. Sit together at a children’s sporting event. The more that Church people remain in your life, the harder it will be to walk away.
While we are headed into a difficult time in most Churches, it does not have to be a time in which faith gets lost. Doing a few simple things to keep your faith alive will help you to continue growing and avoid the slow fade.