As I write this, we are staring down the barrel of Memorial Day weekend. It is the first big holiday weekend of summer. I know, technically summer doesn’t begin until June 22. Try to tell that to people who are hungry for summer and good weather.
The Ministry of the church doesn’t stop over the summer, even though parts of what we do slow down. God created seasons in the year for a reason. There are seasons of rest and seasons of growth and seasons of harvest and planting. He created them for a reason. He knew we could not sustain a high-pitched pace of life continuously.
I lost a friend this week in ministry. Lost is probably the wrong word. One of my mentors and friend, a man I prayed with almost every Monday morning for the past 8 years died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday morning. He had spent 20 years as a pastor and then another 20 years of his life encouraging pastors. He had a ministry called Barnabas Ministries that gave resources and recommended places to rest and reflect for pastors so that they could stay emotionally and spiritually healthy. I used many of his resources on my Sabbatical 18 months ago. Dick Sochacki was 83. He had two famous questions he would ask us each week. “Have you taken a day off this week?” and “Have you dated your wife?”
There is a cycle to life. There is a cycle each week of worship, work and family, rest and projects, extracurriculars, friends and learning. We must intentionally spend time investing in what is important. Have we taken time to rest? Have we invested in family? Everything in life cannot be constant activity.
Summer is a vital part of our life cycles.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
We want you to understand what is going on at MCC over this summer. There is a cycle to this season at church.
June is still a busy month for us: Baby Dedication Day, Father’s Day, graduations, weddings and open houses. There is a lot going on in the church family.
July is intentionally quieter. Our Engage, Sunday night programming is on a break. We didn’t schedule any church wide activities or outreaches. Most of our Life Groups break from their normal schedules. Between the GM lay off and the fact that July is sometimes the only summer month you can count on in Michigan, we intentionally plan less that month.
August is a month we have dedicated to outreach. In our local community, we will be doing three distinct outreach oriented events. Our Church in the Park on August 13, is an opportunity to invite people to come to church and stay for a baseball game. Jimmy Johns Field provides us way to have church in a huge, outdoor venue. On two Saturdays, we are doing events where we will be inviting the community to join for a family oriented activity. It will involve parents and children. It will involve fun. It will involve introducing people to God. It will serve our community.
Every Sunday morning, we will continue to meet for worship. Our Children’s ministries will continue to teach and worship. We will be teaching through some amazing themes this summer. We will be talking about living your faith at work… we will look at the mission and the purpose of the church… we will be answering your questions in our series “Just Ask me.”
The ministry of the church looks a little different in the summer, but we are still doing vital things to accomplish our mission.
With all of that said, let me also remind us that the mission of the church continues through the summer, we need you to continue to support the ministry of the church through the summer. The truth of our finances is that what we plan to do in August and kick off in September is largely paid for upfront by the money that comes in through your tithes and offerings in June, July and August. Giving is a vital part of our service to the church, even when we can’t be in church. We live in an age now that allows us ways to give, even when we are not in church each week. Online giving allows us to continue to support the work of ministry, even when we are on vacation. You can even automate your giving. You can automate what is important. Ministry can thrive and plan over the summer.
Summer is coming. And that is a good thing. We all need the cycle of life that God has planned for us.