Thinking Out Loud

May 13, 2009

Summer Shutdown Mentality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:56 pm

simpsons_church_sign_closed_for_summerI was glad to see that author and pastor Mark Batterson is reporting on his blog that he’s leading a summer discipleship group for dads during the summer.   Glad because it flies in the face of a mentality that says everything should shut down for the summer.

Here in Canada, we have what is called a “cottage mentality.”   Even if you don’t own a cottage, technically you are “away” during the summer.    Some programs here shut down during the last week of April and the first week of May.

To me, this just leaves a lot of people detached from other people; it leaves them with feelings of isolation and loneliness; it leaves them with more inactivity;  and it leaves them increasingly disconnected from their local church.

Light a candle!   Use the summer to invite people over to your home for informal events.    Can’t lead a Bible study?   Just find a good teaching DVD and set up the machine in the living room; make some coffee and then let whatever is meant to happen next, simply happen.    There are sermon DVDs from pastors you’ve heard of available as downloads online, you can purchase some from various ministry organizations, or you can buy them at Christian bookstores.

Can lead a Bible study?    Don’t do anything fancy.   Just pick a short Biblical book, invite people over; make the aforementioned coffee; and start in on chapter one.   Don’t even suggest getting together the following week for chapter two; let those who are present suggest that. (Some may offer their home for the following week, especially if you don’t have air-conditioning!)

Counter the summer shutdown mentality with impromptu, informal events in your home this summer.    And no, you don’t need your pastor’s permission; in fact, make it a non-church event by inviting some people from a different church.    Or if the DVD has good outreach potential, invite some non-churched neighbors.

Postscript:   If you really want to do the summer in style and you’re not leaving the city yourself, consider upgrading the coffee to a dinner and showing the ten weeks of the H2O discipleship program.    Great videos, with all the content of the Alpha program, but with superior dramatic production values suited to a media-savvy generation.

Okay, so this is not the first time I wrote about this.  I guess I’m quite passionate about this topic.   I call it righteous obsession.   (Which would be a great name for a CK product.)

5 Comments »

  1. You mean God doesn’t take the summer off in Canada? When I moved up from the states I was surprised at how church all but stopped during the summer.

    Comment by Rick Apperson — May 13, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    • Where’s home for you guys?

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — May 13, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  2. I like your thoughts about casual spiritual pursuits during the summer. Life does slow down but that might be the very time God has a chance to break in!

    Comment by Cynthia — May 13, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

  3. Paul,

    Home for us is Smithers, BC though I am a redneck from TN and Tenn will always be my true home.

    Comment by Rick Apperson — May 14, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  4. […] It turns out this is a topic on which I have both strong opinions and raging passion, because I’ve written about it here twice; in an April, 2008 post, Loss of Continuity, and a May, 2009 post, Summer Shutdown Mentality. […]

    Pingback by Most Powerful Institution in the History of the World to Close Next Week « Thinking Out Loud — May 27, 2010 @ 8:41 am


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