It’s summer now in the Northern Hemisphere. The comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbes used summer for fun, getting out and doing things, contemplation, and doing nothing. Not a bad example for church leaders. Here are five ways to follow their example:
- Fun. Fun is underrated. I love this image from Israel Galindo. Whether you are a Ferris wheel person or not, find something to do that makes you laugh. It’s easier to take church lightly (in a good way) if you’re having fun outside of church, at least now and then. The cranky person who always makes a direct line for you after worship to complain will not loom so large. For a little online fun, check out Calvin and Hobbes Daily.
- Light. A recent Wall Street Journal talked about research into the importance of light. Longer days are good for your brain. And the long days mean you can stand outside a little longer talking to folks after a meeting or show up at outdoor parties to build relationships. Or take a walk with someone to have an important conversation – you may find that light and movement create a different kind of connection.
- Reading. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “I’m going to read that book this summer.” (Some of them have said it about my book, which makes me happy.) Most of us won’t get through the whole stack, but vacation time and fewer meetings mean you have more time to catch up on books that can enhance ministry. If you read mostly ministry books, try something different: biography, fiction or an art book. Or try a Calvin and Hobbes book.
- Family time. I don’t just mean spending time with your spouse and kids if you have them, although that’s important. People often use summer travel to connect with extended family. If you’re making a family visit this year, try to learn something about your family that you didn’t know before the trip. Why did your father ask your mother out on that first date? What does your sister love about her work? Cultivating more curiosity and less judgment with the wider family will help you do the same at church.
- Rest. Get some rest this summer. It’s underrated as a ministry essential. Exhausted ministers have less perspective and tend to be more reactive. For some in ministry, summer is a great time to slow down. (If you’re in youth or camping ministry, you may need to choose another season!) A couple of suggestions: try a media-free week. (My media-addicted daughter suggested this one!) Or take a nap every day for a week. Either way, you’ll have a different perspective at the end of the week
What are you doing to enjoy yourself this summer?