What Do You Want This Summer? A Lesson for Church Leaders from Ice Cream

When I was in Columbus, Ohio, last week, for the Healthy Congregations Leadership Series 2012 special event, I had some ice cream. Not just any ice cream, but Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. We have some great ice cream in Portland, but I had already heard of Jeni’s. One of the students at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, where I was staying, pointed out a Jeni’s store half a block from the guest apartments. It was in the 80s, and I was happy to walk half a block to eat some cold ice cream. I was in line behind some young adults. One of them, who was pregnant, said, “It’s going to be a great summer eating ice cream — and it’s not just for me!” She pointed to her belly.

I laughed to myself — but I’ve been thinking about it since. What a gift, to enjoy something fully, and recognize that others are fed when we as church leaders are enjoying ourselves. What could you do for yourself this summer that would enrich others, too? So often we end up approaching ministry with grim determination and a sense of duty. Ministering out of obligation does not help others find joy. Living and ministering out of a sense of possibility, love and simple enjoyment and fun — now, that’s something others want to sign up for. Summer can be a good time to experiment. There’s a little more time, and we remember those long summer vacations.

What do you want this summer? What could you do? Eat more ice cream, or…?

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