Even though it has been a long time since I served on a college campus as a campus minister, I still feel like taking a deep sigh of relief as the summer approaches! I guess that routine of looking forward to the summer and a little bit slower pace just carries over all the rest of your life once you have lived it as a minister to college students. The Scriptures teach us to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” In addition to Sundays, I think the Bible is reminding us we need some special down time. What I don’t think is that it’s calling us to be lazy and neglectful. It says that Sabbath time is “holy time.” May I be so bold as to offer some suggestions on how to make your summer “holy time”?
1. Spend some quality time with your family. How many evenings and weekends have you spent away from your spouse and children? Make sure you spend special time with your family to make up for all that time you’ve spent away from them during the school year.
2. Renew your own spiritual heart. There are plenty of ways to do this, and it takes discipline and self motivation, but it is a must if you’re going to be at your best in the fall. Here are some suggestions: Read some of those books you’ve been meaning to read. Spend extra time in Bible study and prayer. Attend a conference that will nurture your soul. Spend time with other collegiate ministers sharing ideas and fellowshipping.
3. Plan your fall ministries. The more plans you make now, the less stressed you’ll be as the fall approaches. Evaluate the past year’s ministry while it’s fresh on your mind, and then thoroughly prepare for the fall, making as many detailed plans as possible so that you start the fall prepared and fresh.
4. Spend time with a small group of students. Fewer students are around in the summer, so find a group that is interested in growing and pour yourself into them in a more personal and deeper way than you have time to do doing the regular semesters. This will be a very rewarding experience for you and for them.
These are only a few suggestions to get you thinking about how to best honor God and make your summer a “Sabbath” experience. Above all, remember to keep it holy.
-John Moore, Lifeway’s National Collegiate Ministry Leader