Summer (June 2015 Newsletter Article)

Summer is an exciting time of year. School’s out, vacations are planned, and there’s lots of other exciting things to do. People tend to get together with friends more during the summer time and just spend time together. The days are longer, which means that there is more daylight to do things outdoors. And all of that is great. I love summer, although I’m not sure I will like the 100+ temperatures that are coming our way even this week as I write this.
There is one thing that happens during the summer that is not a good thing. Church attendance across the country drops. For some reason, whether it’s going to the lake with family, sleeping in, or something else that just seems to drive people away from being in church on Sunday mornings, or any other time of the week for that matter. In fact, we proactively address this in some ways here at Central. We stop our Wednesday night programing during the summer, because our children’s ministry volunteers need a break, but also because we never know what attendance is actually going to look like. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not just here at Central that this happens.  
I’m not trying to complain. I understand that life gets busy, and more things seem to happen during the summer. And if you are out of town and can’t make it one Sunday, or multiple, we understand that. But what I want to say is that if you are out of town, find a church where you are vacationing and make a point of going. In fact, if you do that, I would love if you could bring me a bulletin from whatever churches you visit this summer. We love to see what other places are doing so that we can maybe improve what we are doing here as well. In fact, if you are planning on being out of town, let me know where you are going and I would be happy to try to find a church close to where you are staying.
Being gone on vacation is one thing. But attendance seems to drop even if people aren’t out of town. And there is something wrong with that. We were made to live in community. You’ve heard me say that time and again, and I believe that with all of my heart. Following Christ was never meant to be done on your own. In fact, gathering together as a body of believers is something that scripture actually commands. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us;
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 
We are supposed to help each other live this Christian life, and how can we do that if we are not gathering together on a regular basis. I understand being out of town. In fact, Kelley and I will be out of town for a couple of Sundays in a row later in the summer, but we will also be attending church while we are gone from here. I even understand missing a Sunday or two occasionally. But gathering with your fellow Christians, your faith family, should be a priority. It should be something you crave, and something you miss deeply when you aren’t able to be there. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to guilt anyone, but what I’m asking is that you make gathering with your faith family a priority. And if you’re going to be out of town, do your best to find another congregation to gather with if at all possible. Even through the summer, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and not give up on meeting together. 

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