When I was a kid in San Diego, the summer months meant school is out and it’s time to play! It’s different now. Summer still carries a certain mystique as a season that is clearly different than the others, but life and work and responsibilities keep going. So how can we as church leaders best leverage what remains different about summer?
Is work a part of the curse?
Some of my colleagues point to Genesis 3:17-19 and say that “work” is part of the curse and it never ends! I choose not to see work in such a negative light. I see work as a condition of the curse, but not a condemnation based on the curse. We can be joyous, grateful and do everything as unto the Lord! (Colossians 3:17)
Because work is difficult and summer is different, there is a natural rhythm that makes itself available to us as church leaders if we see it and seize it.
Here are a few things I find helpful to gain the most from summer, perhaps they will be helpful to you too:
1) Change up your routine.
Take a look at your normal patterns. Shake it up a little. Take a period of time, for example, six weeks, and change your schedule. If you are a night owl, try rising early. Perhaps dedicate mornings to study or go for an afternoon walk every day. Try a different view. If you normally work at your office, try some work at Starbucks. It’s amazing how refreshing a change can be.
2) Read something different.
I read almost exclusively leadership and spiritual life books. But during the summer I may pick up something on a subject in science, an intriguing novel or maybe a biography of an old rock star! This often sparks new and creative thinking, gives ideas for writing, and it’s just fun.
3) Take time to reflect and dream.
Summer is a great opportunity to take time to listen more intently for God’s voice. Of course you pray year round, but a short season of focus where you can reflect on the last nine months and dream about the future is highly productive. Always keep a journal or your laptop handy. Write your thoughts down! What are you learning? What action do you need to take?
4) Carve out special time for family.
My kids are twentysomething and it’s more difficult to plan family time, but we make it happen. It’s always worth it! Whether you choose a long weekend or the trip of a lifetime, don’t let the planning effort stop you. Don’t let finances stop you. There are good ideas that are inexpensive. Get creative, but go for it. The trip doesn’t have to be perfect, you just need time together where you laugh, play and create a good memory!
I’m sure you could add one good idea to this list for other readers. Please leave it in the comment section below!