The summer is a simplified time in the life of the church. During the summer, church members usually take week long vacations or shoot off for weekend getaways. Church attendance can be sparse. Typically, we pastors slim down and simplify church life during the summer. Here is the danger: it becomes very easy to let pastoral vision and ambition vacation during the summer months.
What if we utilized the summer for gospel growth? Utilizing the summer for intentional discipleship is going to take a clear plan. Pastor, believe it or not, your church leaders may be waiting for you to give them direction for this summer. The research in Transformational Groups tells us that 70% of leaders wanted more direction from their pastors when it comes to discipleship.
Discipleship requires time and intentionality. Pastors, be careful not to ignore the vital aspects of individual and group ministry over the summer. Give your people direction. Sure, the rhythm of the church may change during the summer months, but the priority of discipleship does not have to. Keep your discipleship strategy focused.
While your people may not be in the same place over the summer, you can keep them on the same page. Summer discipleship should be organized but organic, allowing your people to learn and gather in new ways. Here is a simple plan for summer discipleship.
- Pick a Study: As a pastor, equip your people with trustworthy resources that encourage their spiritual growth. LifeWay has several Six-Week studies that are perfect for the summer months.
- Pick a Strategy: Your people can walk through the study as individuals or groups. Build plans and optional calendars for them to stay on the same page even if they are in different places.
- Plan a Celebration: Pick a date to come as a church to summarize the study, celebrate what they have learned, wrap up the study, and cast vision for the Fall.
All pastors would agree in the importance of individual spiritual growth of their members. Moreover, in a recent survey among Protestant pastors, 76% agree (32% strongly) that groups are the primary network to mobilize their church and its work. Both individual growth, and growth within groups, is vital to the health and mission of the church. But how many pastors validate these beliefs with their leadership in the life of the church over the summer?
In 2 Timothy 2:2 we see that the church is to be a learning and teaching fellowship in which the passing on of what we learn is vital to the health and spiritual progress of the body. It’s also clear that pastors are men set aside for equipping saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16). Pastors, when it comes to discipleship – don’t waste the summer. Summer is the time of year when people generally pull themselves away from their normal routines. Don’t let them pull away from biblical growth. Lead your people.