The Great Summer Exodus

It’s been called “The Great Summer Exodus.” Migration of families and individuals out of the pews and onto the beaches. Attendance declines as the temperature rises. And when the school bell rings, the leaves start to turn, and the fair price of gas returns, so do we.

A Seasonal Tradition | Summer Exodus

It’s a tradition, seemingly. An unofficial entry in the liturgical calendar. But what if that’s not the whole story? When Brother Bob says he’ll away for two weeks on that epic fishing trip in Minnesota, or Sister Sue is bubbling about the family reunion “weekend,” but neither return within the span of our One-Month-in-Leviticus sermon series, can we blame attendance on summer activities? Perhaps, the blame isn’t on church activities at all.

Here’s what I think: After a long year of school (I mean, that’s what drives my subconscious circadian rhythm, even at age 42), stuffing ourselves with blueberry facts and salmon figures, we have an instinct to find a beautiful air-conditioned cave and lull our little brains to sleep with baseball and reruns. Our kids slump their way to the kitchen around noon every other day of the week, so why disturb them on Sundays?

Vacations Are Okay | Summer Exodus

While there’s nothing wrong with Disney Trips, hiatuses, epic two-week fishing trips in Minnesota, or just a little family stay-cation, the tendency in America is to adopt the dangerous mantra of “Well, it is summer…”. The death snore to summer church attendance.

Come on, say it with me (with enough proper inflection on “is” to soothe your conscience),

“Well, it iiisss summer…”. Doesn’t that feel good? Can’t you sense responsibility oozing away with each breath, those pesky mosquitoes dying off as the sun reaches fewer and fewer parts of our caves?

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”— Ephesians 5:15-16 

You know, the thing about instinct is, it’s for creatures who don’t have a free will. They can’t choose right and wrong, they can’t decide to maul the backpacker that threatens their young, and they can’t choose to forgo the air-conditioned cave for the air-conditioned sanctuary.

Don’t Forego Your Responsibilities | Summer Exodus

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” — Romans 12:2 ESV

Buck the instinct. Choose to choose. Don’t take Summer as an excuse to forego your responsibilities in the local church. You’re needed, wanted, and called to be there consistently.


Author: Dave Jahn

The Great Summer Exodus

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