Tag Archives: Summer

Summer – The Pursuit & Presence…

Summer is such a chill time, sleeping in – beach days – lazy nights, and in a few months – the fall rush will start all over again.

Beach Bonfire

The reality however is that we only get 20-25 years of our life when we get a “summer off” – the rest of life is fast paced, stressful, hectic and frenzied.

But life hasn’t just become hectic and frenzied. Its always been like that. In fact… Luke tells us this story. Basically Jesus is hanging out at his friend Martha’s house. And they are getting ready for a big party or something. So Martha is running around trying to get stuff done. And her sister Mary is “being lazy” she is sitting down listening to Jesus. Both loved Jesus. Martha wanted to serve him. But Mary wanted to catch his every word and just be in his presence. Because she knew that in the Lord’s presence there is refreshment, encouragement, power….

You see, for most of us summer doesn’t have to be a crazy – frenzied – stressful time. We won’t have to be like Martha – running around trying to get tasks done. But will you make it into that? Or will you choose to be like Mary? Will you choose to sit at the feet of Jesus?

Pursuit&Presence

It might seem simple, but the choices you make regarding this season of your life will have eternal implications. Implications that go far beyond yourself. Will this be a season of your life where you grow in the Lord like never before? Are you going to learn to hear his voice now – so that later in life it won’t ever be a challenge? Will you put to death certain sins that you have been fighting? Will you get yourself spiritually ready to be on mission on campus in the fall? Will you grow your faith – so that when you go on mission trips you will be able to step out in boldness? Will you learn to walk in this Spirit? All of that can happen this summer…

So this summer are you going to cultivate a heart that is desperately in love with God? Are you going to run hard after Him? Are you going to set aside the stuff that gets in the way and run after him? I challenge you to do that – or as 1 Chronicles says:

Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God

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A Leadership Night with Alan Fadling

Yesterday night Rocky Peak had its end of the year Life Group leader gathering. It was a night filled with worship, testimonies as to what God had done in Life Group, and some encouraging words on “rest” from Alan Fadling.

In case you don’t know him Alan Fadling is author of An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest, which was honored with an “Award of Merit” by Christianity Today under the category “Spirituality.” The book has been getting rave reviews by some heavy hitting authors/pastors. I (who am not a heavy hitting author/pastor) liked it a whole lot as well! Also, on a more personal note, many many years ago Alan was the College Pastor at Rocky Peak! How crazy is that!

Anyway here are some highlights of what he talked about last night:

  • As leaders we often lead on empty… What if leadership was leading from overflow? What if it is just sharing what is overflowing from me? That doesn’t happen when you live life in a hurry.
  • Hurry is a disordered soul.
  • We want God to answer quickly, we want him to do things fast… but God has a bias towards relationship, and he knows that sometimes when he gives us what we want when we want it we are quick to run off.
  • Work is certainly a gift from God, but so is rest.
  • I am not what I do… that is not my identity. My identity is “beloved of God.” That identity is true of me whether I am at work or at rest.
  • In the Bible rest comes first, work flows out of that.
  • One thing that you need to understand is how much Jesus treasures your friendship.
  • The more I thank, the more I remember how graced my life is.

There were many more highlights from last night, but those are just a few. If you are interested in what he has to say, I recomend that you pick up his book An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest. Whether you are a pastor, college ministry leader, or don’t do “ministry” at all, there is much to draw from this book.

Summertime Shepherding (Pt. 2)

Summer is finally here which means that for us college ministry leaders it’s time to step back and take a break right. After all we have been running hard for about nine months, now we get three well-deserved months off. Am I right? Not exactly….

A few weeks ago I shared that this mentality towards summer is misguided. Jesus doesn’t take a break from shepherding us and just because programed college ministry takes a break that doesn’t mean that we take a break from shepherding either.

As we approach Summer we will get a chance to spend some great relational time with students that we might not normally get a chance to hang out with. For instance there might be students who come back home from school or there might be students who stick around but don’t have classes. Regardless of who it is, college students have more free time, which means they have more time to hang out, which also means that we will be able to spend more time being relational with them.

Pool Party - Pac Sun

However, our time spent with students can’t simply boil down to “hanging out,” although that is very necessary, we need a certain level of intentionality when we hang out with students in the summer. The way we are intentional with students in the summer might not be as formal as it is during the school year, nevertheless we need to be focused.

Time spent with college students in the summer doesn’t need to be formal, but it does need to be intentional.

One way we can be intentional with students in the summer is to take our role as shepherds seriously. Although the way we shepherd in the summer will largely be similar to how we shepherd students during the school year there are at least two summer specific aspects of the shepherding role that we need to emphasize, today we will hit on just one….

A Shepherd Protects – Acts 20:28-32

28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Here we see Paul saying farewell to the Ephesian elders that he had come to love while spending time in Ephesus. He is on his way to Jerusalem, where he will be severely tested. These are Paul’s last words to these elders, notice what he emphasizes:

  • The Holy Spirit has made these elders overseers of this particular flock
  • These sheep have been purchased with Christ’s own blood
  • Wolves will come and attack the flock
  • False teachers will try to draw the flock away

The Lord has entrusted us with a flock; and the flock he has given us is so very valuable to God. Its so valuable to God that he even sent his soon to spill his blood in order to redeem them. Jesus is passionate about these students, and he is calling us to have the same sort of passion for them.

But these students face an enemy, and that enemy wants to attack them and he wants to draw them away for himself. As shepherds we need to be on the look out for people and or things that will draw students away.

A college leader’s role as a shepherd/protector is especially relevant in the summer.

Summer can be a spiritually dangerous time for college students. Meetings usually don’t continue on into summer. Small groups don’t meet, so there isn’t much accountability for students who aren’t intentionally seeking it. Also there are less responsibilities (i.e. no class, no homework, etc.) so there is a lot more time to get into shady things. Laziness also tends to kick in during summer, which means that its even harder to stay on track with spiritual disciplines.

There are at least three types of students that the college leader will need to protect during the summer:

The Unintentional Student – When summer comes along the number of distractions for college students increase and so do the opportunities to ignore one’s faith. For this reason, a college leader’s role as a protectors is especially relevant. A college leader will need to keep encouraging their students to remain faithful to Christ and he will have to remind his students to keep pursuing Christ.

The at Risk Student – The college leader will also need to keep an eye out on students who are especially liable to slip up during the summer. Some students are barely hanging on to their faith by a thread, the only reason they haven’t fallen apart is because they have community and accountability. But the second that community gets disbanded that student’s faith is at risk. This student needs light touches throughout the summer, they need to be held accountable and they need to consistently be pointed to the gospel.

The Socially Unconnected Student – Its sad but its true, some students only have community because others are pursuing them. If it weren’t for weekly meetings and/or small groups these students wouldn’t have any friends or relationships. They are the students who will get ignored unless leaders intentionally pursue them. As leaders we need to remember who these students are, keep inviting them to things and help them to get connected with other students who are around during the summer.

Questions for Reflection:

    • Which students could use some extra attention over summer?
    • Who are the students that are vulnerable to stray unless you are intentional with them over summer?

Summertime Shepherding (Pt. 1)

Ah Summer! Its every college student’s favorite time of the year. No homework, no waking up early for class, no crazy schedule to deal with. All that is on the agenda is late nights and warm beach days. Its the perfect time of year to be a college student, especially if you live in So-Cal.

The same thing goes for college ministers right? Summer is a time to step back and finally take a break. We have been running hard for nine months, so the three months we have off are a dream come true. Am I right? No. Not exactly

You see, one does not simply take a break from shepherding. Just because programed ministry takes a break (in some cases it doesn’t) that doesn’t mean that shepherds take a break.

One does not simply take a break from shepherding.

A few weeks ago I shared with some of my leaders that I was pumped on Summer. The reason I was pumped was because I finally would get to take a break from shepherding students. I would finally be able to get some time to myself. I wouldn’t have to worry about all of their problems or all of the drama involved in college life. I wouldn’t have to worry about discipling anybody and I wouldn’t have to worry about shepherding anybody. Yes I would still be the student’s friends, but I would no longer be responsible for them. It would be awesome!

All of my leaders gave me a horrified look. Rightly so.

After the leaders looked at me in disgust – I finally explained that I was trying to make a point. Imagine of Jesus shepherded us in that way? Imagine if Jesus ever said to us…

Man, can you just give me a break? Just a couple of months where I don’t have to stress out about all the crap that is going on in your life. Just give me a few weeks off where I don’t have to worry about discipling you or shepherding you. Yes I will still be your friend, I will even be friendly to you, but for a few weeks I am not going to be responsible for your spiritual well being.

The truth is that Jesus, the true and better shepherd, would never say anything like that to us. Jesus doesn’t take a break from shepherding us – if we want to be like Jesus we shouldn’t take a break from shepherding students either.

Just because the “programing” ends, that doesn’t mean that shepherding does too.

Next time we will take a quick look at a couple of passages in Scripture that are especially relevant to our role as shepherds during summer vacation.