It’s the Fourth of July! I hope your day is full of summery things like picnics, popsicles (the red ones are my favorite!), and dips in the pool. But … I don’t want that to be all your summer amounts to. Let me urge you to consider using the rest of your summer to serve others.
Many girls I know take the summer fun approach. They fill their days with trips to the pool, excursions to the lake, and movies in the afternoon. I’m all for fun summers. But I think summer also offers a unique opportunity to do some serious ministry. A whole lot of free time offers a whole lot of opportunities to reach out to others and share the good news.
So here’s a starter list of summer ministry ideas:
Help with Vacation Bible School.
Many churches host VBS during the summer. You may have outgrown music time and popsicle stick crafts (I haven’t), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be involved. Sign up to help, and take the opportunity to teach little ones about Jesus seriously. If your church doesn’t have a VBS, look for ways to serve in another church, or launch a one-day VBS for a few kids in your neighborhood.
Plan a local short-term missions trip.
You don’t have to be a missionary to take a missions trip. Simply think of a group of people who have a need, and find a way to meet that need while sharing the love of Jesus. You can go for a day, a weekend, or a week. Grabbing a few friends to help increases your effectiveness and ups the fun. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Clean up a playground in a low-income housing area, and then offer a free hot meal to the residents (hot dogs and chips work great!).
- Find an area of your state that has been impacted by a natural disaster, and get plugged in with a relief organization such as the Red Cross or Samaritan’s Purse.
- Ask your pastor for a list of widows or shut-ins, and call and offer to do lawn work for free during the hottest days of summer.
- Call that same list of widows and shut-ins, and offer to bring them fresh produce from your garden or a farmer’s market. They likely don’t have the oomph to garden themselves but would love to share in the bounty of your backyard.
- Call your local pregnancy care center, and offer to come and sort supplies for moms in need.
- Call your youth pastor, and ask how you can help him this summer. Be sure to specify that you’re up for any job. The grittier the better!
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. The possibilities are endless!
Adopt a little sister or brother.
Not every momma gets to stay at home with her kids in the summer. This can be especially true for single moms. That means some kids are left to fend for themselves while their parents work. If you know a family in this situation, offer to take the kids during the day for the summer, and be sure to specify that you don’t expect any payment in return. Will it be a sacrifice? You betcha! But God’s Word urges us to look after each other in practical ways like this. Be intentional about looking for a family that you can help by being generous with your time.
Chalk up some blessings.
Grab the sidewalk chalk, and hop in the car to visit people in need of an extra boost. Write an encouraging message in chalk on their sidewalk or front stoop, or write out verse that is applicable or encouraging. Taking the time to give an encouraging word can go a long way . . . doing so in bright colored chalk is even better!
If you want to really take this service ball and run with it, check out this note outlining an awesome opportunity with Life Action Ministries:
Still looking for a highlight for this summer? Life Action Camp is finalizing their volunteers for their Crew this summer. What is “Crew”? Great question! Crew is the Camp’s volunteer-staff program where teens (14 and older) live and serve at the Camp for a few weeks. Serving opportunities include food service, maintenance, housekeeping, family assistants, activities coordinators, and more. There is no experience needed, and all your living expenses are covered. However there is an application process (see website below to download). This is a great opportunity to gain entry-level work experience, grow in your faith through serving and learning from our world-class preachers, and build lasting friendships with peers. Volunteers serve for at least two weeks and may participate in many of the activities that our guests do during free times (including boating, paintball, fun fair, games). Why not come out and have some fun while growing in the Lord this summer? For more information visit the Life Action Camp website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summers provide the time and flexibility to break free from routine. Using that window to serve others in Jesus’ name is one of the best uses of your time. Any other ideas? How can you use the rest of your summer serving others?