How great is summer? As a student pastor – I know that I can just feel a buzz and excitement in the air as students are getting out of school for the summer today and tomorrow! I mean, they should have been out last week – but stinking record snow ruined that. But, students are PUMPED about not having class, hanging out with friends, family vacations, and of course mission trips. 🙂
Mine and Brooke’s summer is pretty slammed – because why most programs around the Church shut down – student ministry ramps up in the summer as we have time to hang out with students and they have the time to participate. I love summer a lot, because a lot of the times whether it be through a Church Camp or a Mission Trip – I see students making awesome decisions for Christ and growing in their faith. On the flip side, I see some students with TOO much time on their hands – and sometimes that leads to bad decisions, poor judgement, or even spiritual atrophy.
SPIRITUAL ATROPHY defined – gradual decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect in the spiritual sense….
So, I challenged the students last week with one very simple task…
DON’T WASTE YOUR SUMMER
Why not go into this Summer with a different focus? Why not have a plan and set goals for your faith.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9 says it like this…
” I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
Paul lived his whole life with this purpose and focus. He disciplined his faith according to the calling set upon him (the same calling set before all of us).
Here are a good five places to start if you don’t know where to begin on setting goals for this summer:
1. Pray for the entire World (or at least your friends & family)
There are some great resources out there. You can set your homepage to OPERATION WORLD and they will give you a new country to pray for before you get online to check facebook or twitter. Or you can download the Mobile App for VOICE OF THE MARTYRS that will give you a prayer calendar on persecution happening around the World.
OR – this would be a crazy concept – but actually ASK and keep up with prayers from your friends and family then make it a point to pray for them this Summer in your spare time or at a specific point in the day.
2. Read the Bible
This will never get old and will never become ineffective or irrelevant. Jesus Christ Himself left us with the challenge:
“If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Pick out a book in the Bible and dwell on it this summer, abide in it and God will abide in you! Focus your attention to being disciplined about getting in the Word of God – it is living and active…and will transform you!
3. Give Your Money to a Specific Purpose
A lot of students have a summer job or summer chores that their parents might actually pay them for. How about using some of that to give sacrificially. Whether it be to a friend going on a mission trip, using it to pay for your own mission trip, tithing at your local church, or adopting a child from Compassion International for $38 a month…be a good steward of your Money and allow the Lord to teach you the valuable truth that it is HIS money and we should faithfully use His gifts to bring glory to Him.
4. Spend Time in Another Context
Here is the reason why Grace Point Students is doing three Global Adventures/Mission Trips this summer. We are going to Missouri for 5 Days, Peru for 8 days, and serving around NWA for 3 days! God can use this to draw us into HIS mission and His purposes. Beautiful thing to get outside of our own worlds and develop new and biblical world-views.
5. Commit to a Multiplying Community
GPS is here and ready to be an Authentic and Challenging community for any students (and adults). Being a part of the Church Body is absolutely, 100% key in Growing in your faith. The key word here is COMMIT – If you do not commit to something as in be consistent, give of yourself (not just take from), and believe in it enough to put value into it….then Church will become just another chore or task that you do and will leave you empty inside.
So all that being said…
DON’T WASTE YOUR SUMMER
5 Challenges Adapted from David Platt’s, RADICAL