Our attendance on a Sunday morning has decreased some, but the number of people who are a part of our church hasn't. What gives? Several of the people who are a part of our church don't come as much as they used to.
Some people won't show for weeks at a time, and then we'll see them a bit. Some seem to be on an every-other-week schedule now.
I don't think that's healthy. I remember when Sara and I moved to Illinois. The day after we moved, I decided we wouldn't go to church that morning. We were too tired. We needed to get settled into our apt. Etc. (And this after God had worked several minor miracles to get us to Illinois in the first place!) I wouldn't make that decision now. I would go to church.
As a pastor, I pretty much have to be at church every Sunday. But even if I weren't, here would be my approach: I'd be in church, along with my family, every Sunday I could be, barring illness.
When a kid is sick, he should definitely stay home, for his own sake and the sake of others. As it turns out, given the nature of my relationship with our church, Sara always stays home with the sick kid (if they're too young to be by themselves). There's been times when she's missed 3 Sundays in a row as illnesses get passed around from kid to kid to her.
Corporate worship to me is more than just spending time with other like-minded believers. It is that, but it's spending time with other believers for a purpose (or several purposes). We gather together to edify one another, to build one another up in the faith.
A couple verses in tandem are key for me here: "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Heb 3:13). "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb 10:25).
The world around us, the daily grind, the secular people around us who are more passionate about the Superbowl or the latest video game or last night's reality TV show episode than Christ--these wear on our faith and are constantly working to shift our focus from spiritual eternal realities to earthly ephemeral ones. Being with God's people recharges our spiritual batteries (as do other things, like being in the Scriptures and prayer, etc.).
But even more than that, ultimately I go to corporate worship once a week for God, not for me. We gather together to worship him publicly. Worship is about him; it's about what he's done. He's done so much for us--everything--that we get up, get ready, scrape the windshield, drive to church, sit in the pew and worship--sing to him, pray to him, give to him, attend to his Word as it is read and as it is preached.
The Sabbath is to be different than the other days; it is to be "unto the Lord." The Israelites were to use it to remember their great redemption--when God brought them out of Egypt. We also use it to remember our redemption--when God atoned for our sins and reconciled us to himself through Christ.
He is my Master; I am his servant. He is my Savior; I am the one he saved. What right do I have to take a Sunday off and not come before him to worship as he has asked? What an affront?! What does that say to him?
Illness takes you out of the game. But you don't come to worship to sleep in? To hang out with the family? (Bring the family with.) To go to Cedar Point?
Church attendance is important. That's my take on it anyway.