Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Have fun this summer

Summer is usually a slower time for many churches. Church attendance often drops during the summer months as families try to squeeze in vacations, family reunions, and other activities before school resumes. In some churches, the choir disbands during the summer and other committees and/or boards may not meet.

All of this makes the summer a great time for pastors to get away and enjoy more family time as well. I will be preaching for a friend of mine soon as he and his family enjoy a two week vacation on an Alaskan cruise. Another church recently called asking about my availability to fill their pulpit while their pastor goes on sabbatical this summer.

Unfortunately, not every pastor will take advantage of the slower summer months to get away. I know because for many years in my earlier ministry I didn't, and in my work as a judicatory leader I met many other pastors that made the same mistake I made.

I shared before in this blog about my bout with clinical depression in the 1980s. The root cause for the depression was that I had over-extended myself. I had pushed myself almost to the point of exhaustion until I had nothing left. I never slowed down even when I had the opportunity. The counseling I received during my recovery helped me learn to take better care of myself.

It wasn't long after I had conquered the depression that I bought my first bass boat. At least once a week after work my wife and I would be on a nearby river fishing or just enjoying the summer evening eating dinner in the boat while floating down the river. The factory where I worked had a bass club which we joined. We tried to fish all the Saturday tournaments which took us to some great fisheries in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

After taking early retirement from the factory our fishing slowed down to the point that I sold my boat. I replaced it with my first motorcycle. Now, instead of heading to the lake we took to the road. We rode it on a 10-day vacation out west. Some evenings we would ride a couple of hours just to get an ice cream cone. One weekend we had free, and my wife asked what I planned to do. We ended up riding to Nashville, Tennessee for the weekend and came back Sunday evening. We still agree it was one of the best weekends we've ever had.

The point of all this is for you to enjoy the slower months of summer. Take advantage of the longer days and do things that are fun and relaxing. Visit your state parks and hike their trails. Take in a music festival (and it doesn't have to be a religious one!). Go to a ball game. Start a new hobby. Please take some vacation. It doesn't really matter what you do, just have some fun this summer.

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