I don’t know about you, but I am a creature of habit. I like to think that I thrive in flexibility, but upon further reflection, I am more productive and creative when life keeps to its predictable patterns. I think this is the reason I start summer with grand plans but finish with a dull thud. In summer, things just stop working like they did before—people are gone, stores have different hours, kids are out of school, even TV schedules are different. The fluidity seems more difficult to manage, and if I am not careful, I’ll hit late August with regret and panic.
Not only does the new schedule impact my office work flow, it also impacts spiritual disciplines. I don’t always take advantage of the extra time to pray and read my Bible. I also forget to share my faith. Through the years, I have learned that effective evangelism results from intentionality. In my book, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, 2nd ed., we make the point: “A Jesus Sharing Lifestyle starts with a plan to share Jesus as part of everyday living.” (p. 121) Throughout the book we encourage the reader to place themselves at God’s disposal, praying for opportunities, and then “develop a rhythm of life that focuses on your spiritual formation as a witness.”
How is this possible in the summer?
Embrace summer as a new calendar moment.
The struggle with the summer schedule is that we try to fill it with non-summer expectations. Find the new rhythm and live in it. If you are going to new places and seeing new people, perhaps this is the Lord sending you into a new mission field. We see new people, or spend more time with people, at the pool, the beach, the park, or even eating outside at restaurants. Don’t panic or rush back to “normal.” Embrace the moment.
Let summer reset your evangelistic passion.
One benefit of summer is that for most of us, it becomes a self-contained unit. School breaks, changes in church schedules, shifts in community events, pool and park hours, all seem to fit into a defined season. This can give us a great handle for planning.
- I want to talk with one neighbor a month about Christ during summer break.
- I want to meet a new person each week of summer.
- I want to invite a family to the park every other week from June to August.
- I want to___. (Fill in your own summer goal)
These short, manageable goals can give birth to a fresh evangelistic zeal in your heart. Rather than summer being a time to stumble, perhaps it can serve as a launching pad for the rest of the year.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the size of the task
My struggle in summer is that I see all the white space on my calendar and try to make up for lost time. I over plan and then get overwhelmed. It is tempting to fall into the same trap with evangelism. The enormity of the opportunities can leave us flustered and frustrated. I think it is far better to set some CLEAR* goals:
Concrete – easy to measure
Length of Time – a starting and ending point
Encouraging – a goal that breeds confidence
Achievable – something you can reasonably imagine
Risky – large enough to excite you
God has given us seasons of work and rest. He has also created the seasons and calendar. It is spiritual and right to take advantage of these gifts as opportunities to serve and enjoy Him. My prayer is that this summer will be a refreshing season for you and that someone you know will experience saving faith this summer.
* NOTE: The idea of CLEAR Goals is described in my book Bondage and Freedom: Escaping the Trap of Pornography, 2018)