10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Church Summer Break

10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Church Summer Break

Aaron Buer

Digital giving apps and tools

Depending on where you live, you may be well into summer or it's just turning green.

I’m from Michigan, so we just put away our snow shovels and dug out our flip flops. We only get a few months of summer weather around here so we go all in. We are all about maximizing summer!

One of the beautiful things about summer in church world is a change in rhythm.

For me, my work rhythm shifts from Sunday to Thursday to Monday to Friday. We also shift from weekly student ministry program to trips, camps, recruiting, curriculum writing and planning.

The thing about summer is that sometimes it feels refreshing and I enter the fall ministry season fully recharged and ready to hit the ground running.

And, there have been other summers where I entered into the fall completely exhausted, dreading the demands of life and ministry.

I’ve spent some time thinking about why.

I don’t know about you, but I want this summer to be rejuvenating so that I can serve and lead well in September. And so, here are ten ways to maximize your summer while recharging at the same time.

1. Daily Walks

Hear me out.

I’m a big fan of a daily walk in the summer months. I use this time for thinking, praying, strategizing and simply creating white noise during the flow of my work day.

Often, taking a walk after lunch helps me feel energized and ready for the rest of my work day.

If you want to maximize your productivity this summer, consider taking a short walk during the day.

2. Schedule Family Time

If you’re like me, you love work.

Yes, it’s a job but it’s more than that. I love my church and I love ministry. Usually, I don’t mind pouring myself out week after week.

Because of this, it’s easy for me to put my family on the back burner. I always have good intentions of spending more time with family—vacations, camping, etc, but unless I schedule this time before summer hits, it usually doesn’t happen.

I love church and ministry and I want my kids to love it too. But, I’ve learned that if I let my work consume my schedule, it creates a resentment in my kids.

If you want to maximize this summer, schedule quality time with your family before summer hits. Maybe it’s vacation. Maybe it’s weekly breakfast dates. Maybe it’s a hiking trip. Who knows?

Get creative.

3. Read Something For Fun

I’m always reading, but it’s usually for development purposes.

I’m constantly reading about ministry practices, leadership and strategy.

Summer is a great time to switch gears and read something entirely for you. It’s amazing how a great story can breathe life into your soul.

Ask around for book recommendations and choose one that has nothing to do with work. Give your brain an escape. The experience will help rejuvenate you.

4. Exercise

Recently, I was talking with a new friend about the relationship between physical fitness and ministry. He said that the reason he stays fit is because he wants to be a great pastor.

At first I was like, “Yeah…that doesn’t make sense.” But, I think he might be right.

When we exercise regularly, we build up our energy endurance. His point is that physical, mental and emotional energy are all connected.

When we exercise regularly, we build up endurance and that endurance may come in handy in tough conversations, late nights, or mentally strenuous sermon prep.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you want to maximize your summer, it might be time to re-engage regular exercise. Exercising now could really help maximize our energy output next fall.

5. Meeting Creativity

I get bored with monotony. In fact, on Tuesdays when I have eleventy hundred meetings back to back to back, I find it necessary to change the scenery. If I don’t, I get impatient and don’t truly engage with my teammates.

Summer is a great time to get creative with meetings. Sometimes, I conduct one-on-ones driving in my car just to get out of the office.

Meeting outside or while taking a walk are other great ideas.

A team or one-on-one meeting in the same setting all year long is the definition of monotonous. Changing the scenery could breathe life into your team meetings and work relationships.

6. Written Word Wednesdays

In a recent post, I shared that we lost a co-worker and friend in a car accident. Her passing has started a letter writing revolution among some of my friends.

You see, Ashley wrote a LOT of encouraging notes and letters.

In honor of the way she lived her life, some of my friends have started something they call “Written Word Wednesdays.”

The idea is to write an encouraging note to someone every week.

If your schedule adjusts in the summer and you find yourself with a little more discretionary time, this could be a beautiful and redeeming way to spend your time while investing in the faith and emotional well-being of others.

If you want to maximize your time this summer, consider “Written Word Wednesdays.”

7. Engage Social Media

If you’re like me, social media is one of those things.

“Yeah, I should probably use that.”

I mean, I do have an Instagram but it’s mostly pictures of my kids. What I don’t do very well is use social media for ministry purposes.

Again, summer is one of those times when we often get to rebuild our schedule. This is an opportunity to pursue something we’ve been neglecting.

Maybe this summer is a good time to learn a bit more about social media and/or start utilizing it to serve your church.

8. Empower Others

Here’s the thing: If you’re actually going to rest and recoup this summer, you’re going to have to do less.

What if you viewed this summer as an opportunity not only to rest but also to empower others?

If you don’t do “that thing”, someone else will have to do it. Something I’ve been learning is that often, someone else wants to do “that thing” and it would be really good for them to learn how.

For example, if you handle most of the preaching in your church, I would bet money that there are a few people in your church who would really like to preach.

Empower them to do it!

They will gain valuable experience and an opportunity to serve God and, you’ll get to rest.

The truth is, there’s really no resting without doing less than you’re doing. Rather than feeling guilty and lazy, empower others to do “that thing.”

It’s not lazy to empower others.

9. Take The Offer

Recently, a member of our church offered to do something outrageously generous for me. I mean, it was over the top and expensive.

In the past, I would have definitely declined. Accepting generosity can be awkward. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.

This time, I didn’t decline. I took the offer and got to experience something really cool that I never would have experienced without that person’s generosity.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Some people really like you and they’re wealthy and they’re generous...and this is all good!

Let them serve you. Take the offer. Consider it God’s kindness towards you from a fellow follower of Jesus. It’s a blessing to you as the receiver and a blessing to them as the giver.

So, this summer, when someone offers you their cottage for a weekend, their boat for a day, their camper for a week, a bunch of money to do something nice...take the offer!

Maybe it’s God’s gift to you through one of his servants. Use that gift to rest, relax and enjoy God’s kindness!

10. Invest In Relationships

Last weekend, I had an epically great date with my wife. We went on a bike ride, ate dinner in a nearby town and rode our bikes home in the rain. It was fantastic!

Ministry is so busy. It’s emotionally and relationally draining.

Because of how emotionally taxing it is, it’s easy for the relationships we care about the most to get our emotional leftovers.

Something I want to do this summer is invest in the relationships that matter most to me. Partly because I enjoy them. Partly because I know I should.

And, partly because I know that the fall ministry season drains me emotionally and relationally and it’s really important that my marriage and relationships with my kids are in great shape before entering into that season.

If you want to maximize your summer and make sure you are hitting the fall in top form, invest in the relationships that matter to you the most this summer.

Even though, for most of us, summer has a slower pace and our schedules are a bit more open, it’s easy to fill up our time with stuff that won’t rejuvenate us for the next ministry season.

We have to invest our time in what matters.

Wrap Up

I hope these 10 suggestions have been helpful and that one or two of them find their way into your life.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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