By Gavin Duerson
I find that no time can test your commitment to simple church like the summer. Summer can expose just how much we like to hold onto the “come” mentality when gathering with believers. Since most in the west are tied to the public school calendar, summer tends to be a time of visiting family and friends as well as vacationing. In a larger traditional church service, this irregularity can go without much notice. However, in simple church, summer travel can leave some sitting at home by themselves for their simple church gatherings and this can prove to be a test of our commitment to organic church principles. Here are few thoughts that I pray will encourage you to stay strong this summer:
1. Adjust Your Expectations. Remember that we really are not about the weekly gathering but about a way of life. Alter your expectations of what is realistically going to happen during the summer as you and your friends travel.
2. Adjust times. Sometimes simply initiating a conversation about travel schedules can be all that is needed to see that you can actually continue to meet together through the summer–just on different days and times.
3. Look for opportunities. When you or those in your community are out-of-town, take the opportunity to visit another simple church in the area.
4. Pray and Plan for the Fall. It seems like you blink and summer is over. Could a break from regular routines be an opportunity to consider a new direction for the start of the new school year? Even if you are not physically together, you can still commit to praying with each other about what God might be leading you to do in the coming months as a group.
5. Few Focus. Perhaps take the summer months to invest in one new neighbor. Perhaps it will just be you and your friend for simple church for a few weeks while others are gone. This could be just the opportunity that is needed to help welcome a new family into the Kingdom and eventually your simple church. Starting an LTG or taking seven weeks to do the Seven Signs of John one-on-one with a new friend can be great ways to re-commit yourself to personal discipleship.
6. Pick a Topic. Summer can be a great time to focus on one particular topic (marriage, finances, service, apologetics, etc.). There are many good video discussions series as well as books to help you. This can be a good opportunity to reach out new folks who might enjoy the safety of a clear start and ending date.
7. Don’t Miss July 30! – We are looking forward to coming together with simple church folks from around the region! Plan to come and bring some new friends. Perhaps this could be an opportunity for you to challenge a friend or family member to consider being baptised on this evening? Could anything better happen this summer than helping a new person find Jesus and be baptised into His family?
Let’s make the most of the opportunities we have this summer to build new friendships, spend time with family and friends, and share the love of Jesus with others! Let us not be discouraged by the enemy as the fluidity of summer causes irregularities in our gatherings. May we all continue to learn to adjust expectations to embrace the fluidity of God’s Spirit working through simple church!