I have often seen my Summers as times to prepare for the coming year. It is a great time for your personal pace to change for a short period as you prepare to launch into another cycle on the calendar.
Sure, I know, it is New Years that typically gets all the press for another year beginning. But the truth is most young families see the start of the school year in August to be the real launch of a new year. The kids are all entering a new grade of school, you are buying them a new wardrobe for the year, it is time to get back to class, back to the normal routine, and back to a new year at church.
That is why your Summer is a great time spiritually and organizationally to prepare for the coming year. I find, for me, the Summer is an intense time of preparation. In some ways things slow down for me, but in other ways my work intensifies.
Where my work intensifies is in the area of preparation. Currently I am on a month long Study Rotation. Most Pastor’s call this a “Study Break.” But I hardly take a break during this time. In fact in the area of preparation I work more strenuously during these weeks than perhaps any other season. I read, research, write, and plan for my teaching, preaching, and leadership for the next year.
All of us can use our Summer to spiritually and practically plan for the coming months. Here are a few ways you can use your Summer to prepare…
- Regain your spiritual focus. This can be a great time to get back in the Scriptures and drink deeply from God’s Word as you prepare your heart to follow the Lord into another year. When I was 18 years old and gearing up to go to college, I used the Summer to read the entire New Testament. I read three chapters a day for three months. When I started school, the Word of God was fresh on my heart and mind. It prepared me to see God’s handiwork all around me. Last Summer I read the entire Bible in just six weeks. Talk about an immersion. Not everyone can do that, but I am telling you it impacted me deeply. This Summer I have been reading and re-reading 1 Peter in preparation for a series I will preach in the Fall. I am seeing things I have never before seen and truly sense God speaking to me about the spiritual future of the people of our congregation.
- Evaluate your previous year. Every year at this time I do a lot of reflecting on my previous year. To be honest this one can be painful. Even when my year has been filled with successes, I most always have some regrets where I believe I missed an opportunity or dropped a ball. But as painful as this process can be, it is so helpful in planning for the next year. If I am honest about things that need improvement, then I am more prepared to make a bigger impact in the year to come.
- Set some goals and make some plans. This is what I am in the process of doing now. Those goals and plans include several areas of my life. Sure they involve my job and career, but they also include ways I want to go to another level in my marriage, parenting, and personal development. The biggest key to setting goals and making plans is to write them down and place the tasks on the calendar. After that, roll up your sleeves and get started. Action is the only way to get momentum toward the fulfillment of your plans.
- Get some rest and have some fun. This is important. I am still trying to learn this and have a long way to go. As a workaholic by nature, I find this a serious challenge. But it is vital. There needs to be some decompress time in order to have a refreshed mind and soul for the coming year. Recreation is all about being re-created into a more refreshed person.
Question: What are ways that you use the Summer to get ready for the coming year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.