Resources to grow as Disciples
“Although we don’t have a good explanation for it, children seem to grow fastest in the summer and slowest in the fall,” says Joseph Gigante, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville. This is more than physical growth. The summer is a time for faith growth-spurts too.
In spite of the cold weather outside, if you haven’t started already, now is the time to begin planning for a meaningful summer. Leaders of all ages benefit from the change of pace that summer provides. When leaders grow, their congregations and their families grow too. In fact, the number one remedy for burn-out is not rest, it is actually learning something new.
Ideally, pastors benefit from planning time to focus on sermon prep with intentional reading and reflection. At The Disciple Project in June, there will be a Preaching Track for professional leaders who want to increase their preaching skills within a meaningful leadership community. We are honored to have Rev. David Brondos, Professor of Theology at the Theological Community of Mexico, an ecumenical consortium of seminaries in Mexico City, and teacher of systematic theology and biblical studies, with us this year.
The summer can also be transformative for youth and young adults who participate in summer ministry. There is nothing like being on a Camp Hope staff, going to The Disciple Project for a week, experiencing a cross-cultural immersion or spending a week at an outdoor ministry site to get a bigger view of God. Experiences that include a chance to meet new people, try new skills, and enter into new cultures within a caring community can provide a new understanding of personal capacity and gifts.
In a perfect world, every young person would have at least one week in the summer to launch a faith growth spurt. Yet this won’t happen unless adults (parents, grandparents, pastors, youth ministers or mentors) invite them into an opportunity. Many young people and their families do not know they can go to camp for a week, much less take advantage of some of these other experiences. We need to invite our neighbors, nieces, nephews, and friends to give Christian ministries a try over the summer. It might just change their lives.