By Ryan Rice
Growing up, my favorite time of the year was summer. I remember as a kid heading to the pool with my grandfather after the last day of school and thinking, “There’s nothing I have to do for months.”
Summer was indeed a slower time for me growing up. Even when I added summertime activities to my schedule in my older teenage years, time still seemed to slow down during the months of June, July, and August.
Is it any wonder God created seasons for us? Yet, we often reject the very rest God provides.
The idea that Christian ministers should remain busy at all times seems to be more caught than taught. The prevailing attitude is that busyness in church means fruitfulness. This can be especially true during summer when church schedules can include Vacation Bible School, youth camps, special conferences, and other activities and events.
While these events are great and are helpful for building up the body of Christ, the season of summer can find church staff busier than any other time of the year. So as you make ministry plans for summer, make sure to incorporate rest for you and your people.
This summer, our church is slowing down to focus on creative outreach where our members can engage their community in normal patterns of summertime life. In doing so, here are four goals we hope to accomplish that will refuel our ministry.
1. Equipping Leaders.
Summer is a season when many people travel, but your people aren’t going to be away from home every week. One of the goals we have at our church this summer is to spend intentional time with our ministry leaders.
Is there an area you’d like to see your leaders grow in? Why not plan some intentional equipping times with them?
Why not also make it a summer hangout event by incorporating the equipping time into a barbecue or other outdoor get-together? If you’re able, invite your leaders over to your home where you can train and show hospitality.
2. Connecting People to the Mission.
Our church is an outreach-focused church. But there are still many people in our pews who aren’t actually on mission with us.
One of our aims this summer is to engage people who’ve been coming to our church for a while but haven’t quite connected to the mission. We have some church community events planned where those who are new can get to know others who are established members of the family.
3. Refueling the Pastor.
I know some married pastors who’ve neglected to vacation with their family for years. For some, this is because of financial reasons, but for others, it’s an issue of finding someone they fill comfortable with filling the pulpit.
Allowing an up-and-coming preacher to fill the pulpit while you’re gone one Sunday won’t destroy the church. It will hopefully bless your people and allow the guest preacher to gain experience and grow their skill set.
If finances are an issue, there are great ministries that offer retreats for pastors and their families. If you’re part of a denomination, reach out to the local office and see what resources they have available.
4. Enjoying the Fellowship.
What if your church could look back over the summer and say they enjoyed slowing down and spending time with one another? Many passages focus on the importance of fellowshipping with one another. What if we reclaimed that as a goal this summer?
Summer will go by fast. Let’s not miss out on a great moment to slow down and enjoy the season God has given to us.
Ryan Rice, Sr.
Ryan is husband to Seané, father of Ryan, Jr., Brayden, Reagen, and Bailey, and has been in ministry since 2007. He’s currently the lead pastor of Connect Church of Algiers in New Orleans, Louisiana, which they planted in 2014.