Alas…school is out for our student-aged young people. One result of the ending of the school year is increased activities of the Youth Group. Here at Midway, there are many opportunities to serve others and grow within during the summer months. Generally, children have more time (and energy) to commit to activities with their Youth Group during the summer. With this in mind, I want us to look at some scriptural suggestions for making the most out of our summers.
DO as much as you can. One of Satan’s most effective methods of “catching” Christians is inactivity. This is why the writers of the New Testament letters encouraged their audiences to be active. Paul encouraged brethren to “be strong” (strength comes from “working out”) and to “rejoice.” Peter continually persuaded Christians to “grow,” a term which necessarily involves action. John stressed the Christian’s “walk,” another term that is inseparable from action. As 21st Century Christians, we too must be active. In order to grow into strong Christians and avoid Satan’s snares, we must be actively godly…even during the summer months.
DON’T get burnt out. One of the dangers of “doing” all the time is burn out. Youth ministers and preachers alike are cautioned not to do too much so as to be ineffective in the Lord’s work. If you really are sick…it’s okay to not do something. If you really are exhausted…the Lord understands. The good you attempt to accomplish can’t occur if you’re unable to function. Don’t get me wrong, the Lord wants us all active; trust me, though, he wants us effective (Gal. 6:9).
DO spend as much time with one another as possible. Spending time with other young people who want to do what’s right is a wonderful way to strengthen one’s spirituality (Ecc. 4:9-12). Having Christian accountability is an immeasurable blessing handed down from God. Some Christians scoff at the idea of young people and families going to Six Flags, etc. However, those opportunities can build strong Biblical fellowship that can be relied upon in the future.
DON’T (knowingly or unknowingly) push others away from Christ. Unfortunately, because of the feelings and perceptions we experience as humans, we can feel left out because of the actions of others. The key to figuring out these sticky situations is consistency. People must be active and around to feel “accepted.” However, others who are active need to be aware of how their actions may cause others to leave the group. Actions can be taken or words can be said that are intentionally hurtful. These things are shameful in and of themselves (James 3:10; 4:11-12). In addition, these hurtful actions can result in that beautiful child of God departing his/her eternal security. May we be aware of how our actions and words make others feel; the Lord expects us to; we certainly want to be treated the same way (Matt. 7:12).
DO spend time with your family. Although most parents still have to work during the summer (and some children do as well), the summer can be a great time for family time. Being together is important for children, moms, dads, and brothers and sisters. Sharing good “QT” (quality time) is the best way for parents to raise their children in the Lord through knowledge, experience, and example (Eph. 6:1-4).
DON’T willingly forsake assemblies of the Lord’s church. God designed worship to praise and honor Him. He designed assembling to encourage and love one another. Both are vitally necessary to our spiritual well-being. Notice that Hebrews 10:19-25 emphasizes both aspects: worship (vs. 19-22) and fellowship through assembling together (vs. 24-25). I know the weather is beautiful and the fish are biting in the cool hours of the day. I know that family vacations are worthwhile (see previous point). However, I also know that it is God who as given us beautiful days, feisty fish, gardens to grow, and magnificent vacation locales. He wants us to enjoy His blessings. He also wants to be praised and thanked for them as well (worship). He also wants us to remember that other Christians need encouragement (fellowship).
DO try to reach out to non-Christians. Summer can be a particularly effective time to bring visitors to church-related functions. Since worship services and similar settings can seem “intimidating” (remember, God designed them to praise Him), fellowship-oriented activities are good opportunities for outreach. Our Midway Day Out on June 17, for example, provides a good opportunity to bring other young people (6th grade and down) and their parents. May we never forget our charge to reach others with the gospel (Matt. 28:19).
DON’T let your spiritual guard down. One of the biggest dangers with summer vacation is to take a spiritual vacation. Since we’re off from school, sometimes we unknowingly take off from Christ. This can happen with “majors” like improper sexual activity, drinking, and drugs. It can also occur with so-called “minors” like entertainment choices (concerts, movies, TV shows, and music) and dress (revealing clothing, sexually suggestive content, etc.). May we always remember our task to be as pure as possible…even during the summer (Eph. 5:1-17).
We look forward to the opportunities presented us in the coming months of the summer of ‘06…may we give them back to Him.