I tend not to be too concerned about 'the summer slump'. My experience at Valley is that we are a very 'transient' congregation; many are in their retirement years and have the freedom to travel / get away. On any given Sunday a third or more of our people may be away; the next Sunday they may be back and a different group may be absent. Some are dealing with health issues that keep them from getting out and let's be honest there are other factors that often compete for our time on Sunday morning.
It is a different day in the church today; gone are the days when schedules were built around Sunday worship. I remember my father-in-law arranging his travel to leave after church or to be back for Sunday. If company was around, they were invited to come along or he would excuse himself for the hour and half needed to be at church. If there was a family outing, they simply joined after church. I had an worship team leader in Markham who carried the same value -- I knew I could count on him.
As I talked with this pastor, there was a sense of resignation around this matter; we really don't have any choice but to accept this 'new reality'; it is what it is and many who would consider themselves regular church goers may be absent 50% or more of the time. The church has changed, but is it for the better? How do we develop a strong, vibrant, confident faith while opting out of the worship gathering or passing on the invitation to be part of a small group experience or an opportunity to serve?
In all of this, the words of Hebrews 10 are screaming to be heard: 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 (24-25).
We are called to bring out the best in one another, to build up and encourage one another in the faith; to remind each other that being part of the gathering is a significant factor in our spiritual growth and confidence. Sometimes we need to spur one another on in this regard; to not allow each other to become complacent, to settle for a comfortable, convenient faith. I've seen many make heroic efforts to get to medical appointments or even to go out for lunch or dinner but on Sunday morning, it's a different story.
It's too easy to stay away, to make excuses and blow off that which the Word identifies as of supreme importance. One cannot read the New Testament without coming face-to-face with the centrality of church in the life of all believers. To say 'I'm a believer but church really isn't that important to me', to say 'I'm a Christians but I just don't go to church', is inconsistent with the truth we find in the pages of Scripture.
It may be that my friend is right, we have no choice but to accept 'it is what it is'. But I am still going to call you to give God His rightful place in your life; to honor His church; to come, to serve and to give; to do whatever it takes to be faithful to our God and His church. Sometimes it comes down to a simple commitment...just get in the car!