The Great Summer Exodus

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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



  1. Carl

    Great article. Satan doesn’t rest so neither should we

    • Jason

      You are too right. Thank you. It is an eye opener for me.

  2. Carl

    Great article. Satan doesn’t rest so neither should we

  3. Joshua Turner

    Great article! I was thinking to this just let Sunday as I looked around at what are normally full seats, now empty as schools had just let out and a man made holiday.

  4. Matt M

    This is not unlike our need to be spiritually sharp (even while attending church) – I think that sometimes a break from the regular grind is good but be careful of losing your momentum (faith, prayer, works) – so take off sometime from the church building or programs but don’t lose site of what really matters..His presence and being.

    • Todd Ross

      I’m a public school teacher, so my “vacation” begins as soon as school is out … and it is a well-deserved break. Unfortunately, I will admit that my family and I too often take breaks from church during the summer. More and more, however, I realize that this is when we need God the most.

  5. Paul

    Due to my work schedule I am unable to attend Sunday morning church regardless of the season. My wife and I have been looking at alternative options. The real issue isn’t where to attend it’s where is the word taught. More and more we find, as we visit various churches, that the messages are stories and tales rather than true expository preaching of the Word. Churches have become more accommodating and compromising to bring in numbers. I realize that Christ meets people where they are and we should do likewise. Christ also taught as we except him to go and sin no more. We are all sinners and we will always sin just because of the nature of man. What I have seen, and experienced, in many churches is the its ok be who you are and do what you want attitude of acceptance. Do we tolerate sin just to draw numbers and have a mega church? I continue to read a study on my own and with my wife. We miss the fellowship of fellow believers but I am no longer willing to compromise just to attend the latest feel good church on the move.

    • Dan Razevich

      Hi Paul,

      I’m not sure where you are located but this church changed mine and my wife’s life. He preaches from the Bible. I will provide the link if you and your wife are interested.


    • Alex

      Paul, I get it brother, my wife and I have been there. They exist and are out there, but it does in fact seem to be a remnant. A couple of things to possibly look for is plurality of leadership. Look for an assembly that is overseen by a group of teaching elders (all men). Also look for an assembly or hall that conducts some sort of a “breaking of bread” or “remembrance” meeting that is open for any men of the assembly to lead in worshiping/remembering Jesus through His Word. If you would like I could ask around our chapel/missionaries for any churches in your area. Keep praying and searching, but do find a group of believers to gather and worship with.


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