For all practical purposes, summer is upon us. Memorial Day is over, and most people are already looking ahead to the next three months. No doubt we welcome the warmth and the “breaks” these weeks afford us.
Yet, even in the God-ordained rhythm of the seasons, it is wise to maintain our spiritual consistency and connections. As your pastor, let me provide some bullet-point ways to do exactly that, all the while wrapping this in an FFC update of sorts.
- Prioritize time for your spiritual family. Even though most of our small groups take a break physically over summer, don’t take a break relationally. Stay in touch. Arrange periodic get-togethers. Go the extra mile so that your love for one another continues even if you’re not meeting regularly for a bit (Hebrews 13:1). This also magnifies the importance of the weekly large-group gathering. Frankly, it may be that one of our campus services is the only time you’ll see some of your spiritual brothers and sisters for a few weeks. By all means guard that time and prioritize the Sunday opportunity.
- Prepare as eagerly for church as you did for school and as you do for work. For example, pray throughout the week for the upcoming service. Read the passage individually or as a family in advance. Arrive early so you can 1) engage with others without feeling rushed, 2) check your children in (if necessary), and/or 3) not miss the opening part of the service. Additionally, check the church calendar, worship folder, or Web site, asking yourself, “Are there things happening today for which I need to register? What’s coming up that needs attention?” Over the summer there will be weeks we’ll adjust various components of our services, changing some things to highlight aspects of our summer teaching series. You’ll see some different songs, the use of creeds and confessions, and some variety in our structure and flow. So I encourage you to be intentional and proactive in preparing so you can can get the most out of every Sunday service.
- Participate visibly and vocally. It’s obvious the summer months offer special ways to serve—VBS, Summerfest, Family Camp, to name a few—but remember there are other on-going needs as well. Certain elementary classes need leaders over the summer, often our youth ministry needs homes and drivers for events, new families moving to Ankeny before the fall will be visiting FFC and need welcomed, and we still send financial support to our gospel partners around the world. Keep your radar on throughout the summer months, stay faithful and generous with your giving, and be a helpful voice to our guests.
- Lastly, remain persistent in making God’s passion our mission—that his “glory be declared among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples” (Ps. 96:3). We’ve had one goal in mind since we started in 2004: to make disciples of all peoples! (Matt. 28:19-20) We do that by celebrating together, growing together, and serving together (Acts 2-4). Both locally and globally, whether across a culture or within the same culture, God’s glory drives us and his Word focuses us to that end. Let’s stay “all in” for that glorious cause this summer.
Thank you for your love for Jesus and your commitment to his body, the church, which he purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). I look forward to seeing God’s purposes continue to unfold in our life collectively as a church and in your life individually as a Christian, especially over the next three months.
For the fame of Jesus,