3 things to do this summer: Play, reflect and experiment.

1.       Play

Play and celebration can be a glimpse of God’s Kingdom, the way things are supposed to be and will be, when Jesus returns. Play is not a denial of reality it is an acknowledgment of the ultimate reality! Jesus is coming back to set all things right, so go ahead and play. Play can be a glimpse of the way things will one day be, when Jesus reigns –
where death’s sting is gone,
where tears of sorrow are wiped away,
where everyone is valued,
where there is no hate,
where there are no weapons,
where there are no titles before or letters after peoples’ names,
where there is great joy,
where the best of life – food, art, relationships is enjoyed,
where justice reigns,
where we celebrate the Kingdom come.
 So go ahead – play this summer! Can you taste the goodness God has put in the world?
Isn’t it fantastic?
One day, sin, sickness, death, and evil will be gone. One day, all will be right.
Enjoy the preview now!
Celebrate all that is good, even in the midst of living in our fallen world, knowing that Jesus is setting all things rights.
Celebrate all that is good this summer – eat foods you can only really enjoy in summer, play in the ocean (or a lake/river for my friends reading this who are not living in Canada’s ocean playground), stroll through forest, splash around with kids, enjoy a drawn-out meal, laugh with friends, spend quality time with family, pull out a board game, invite the neighbours for a BBQ, do stuff that makes you forget to check your phone…

Play this summer. It is good for the soul.

2.       Reflect

The change in seasons and routines creates the right time to do some reflection, especially before the craziness of September and school, work, ministry, and schedules hit.
Take some time this summer to reflect.

Look back at the past year:
a.       What went well?
b.       What did not go well?
c.       What area of your life seems to be slipping?
d.       In which area of life are your thriving?
e.       What should you keep doing next year?
f.        What should you do differently next year?
g.       How are you doing after the year that’s been? What’s the state of your heart & soul?

Look ahead at the coming year:
a.       What is God calling you to give more attention to? How?
b.       What do you (in-line with God’s leading) really want to accomplish over this next year?
If you are looking for more reflection questions, I wrote a previous blog "Mountain Time" with lots of reflection questions.

Reflect this summer. It is good for the soul.

3.       Experiment – Experiment personally and encourage or lead your church to experiment too in the summer.

Personally - Try some new things and experiment with different activities, routines, and possible connections. Summer is so short, you can experiment with different ideas without feeling like you have to commit to them forever. Spice things up!

  • try a new routine for meals, God-time, exercise, family time….
  • try new foods
  • try reading a new genre
  • explore a new location
  • try connecting with new people and neighbours
  • invite someone new out for coffee or ice cream
  • have some sort of gathering (BBQ, Canada Day celebration, horseshoe tournament, ATV ride…) to connect your neighbours
  • invite someone from your neighbourhood to join you for a walk
  • try picking up a different version of the Bible
  • try a new Bible app or sermon podcast
  • check out a different church, especially if you are away on vacation or check out church for the first time

Church – Summer is a great time to try some new things! Everyone’s schedules slow down and change in the summer, and the church crowd tends to shrink. It’s perfect for trying new experiments!

I’m so excited to see what Timberlea Baptist, outside of Halifax, is trying this summer! Recognizing peoples’ realities and how few weekends we get in the sunshine in summer, they are coming together for church services on Tuesday night! That’s right – Tuesday church! They’ll have supper together at 5:30, then the service starts at 6pm and will be an hour or less. It’s perfect, you could get home, change, grab the fam and head out to church for dinner and engaging help in following Jesus in this world. Great idea Timberlea! Let us know how it goes. You can see more on their website.

What experiments could your church try?

  • Different sermon format and style – interviews, a sermon bite and then discussion back and forth, small groups, lectio divina in place of a sermon, participatory/responses to sermons, let others try preaching, short videos & discussion, look-up CBC news app and talk about the news from a Christian perspective and how we might respond, engage in different spiritual disciplines or worship stations together instead of a sermon…
  • Put the church service on a different day
  • Meet in a different location for the summer– in a park, in a different part of your building, in a coffee shop, in someone’s home… (Just make sure to make it really clear where you are meeting so people can find you!)
  • Do a BBQ for your small groups & their friends/neighbours they’ve been building connections with
  • Throw a neighbourhood party
  • Intentionally have all generations together for the summer service. Make sure to engage all ages.
  • Do a story-telling/testimony service
  • Try church in peoples’ homes for the summer
  • Add a visiting time in the middle of church over watermelon, coffee, popsicles or strawberry shortcake
  • Cancel your “regular” type of service and make it a time to together go out and bless your city/town as an act of worship
  • Try the 31-Day neighbouring challenge as a church – Summer is a great season for building connections in the places we live, work, study, and play.

Experiment this summer. It is good for the soul.

Happy summer!
May you enjoy some play, reflection and experimenting this summer! May it refresh your soul.
May God invite you to join Him in our neighbourhoods as you play, reflect and experiment.
May God connect you to neighbours as you play, reflect and experiment!

-Renée
@r_embree
@cbacyf
#1neighbourhood 

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