Summer is a gift from God. People gather in backyards, on porches and around baseball diamonds to enjoy community and the glorious outdoors. Smoke from a neighbor’s grill, splashes in a nearby pool and the smell of freshly cut grass are sights and sounds that announce the arrival of summer.
Summer offers unique opportunities to bear fruit that endures. Longer days and warmer weather provide numerous opportunities to build relationships that open doors for disciple-making.
How do we make the best use of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day? Here are a few practical tips for living out disciple-making this summer.
A saint once said, “No man has a right to speak to man about God until he has first spoken to God about man.” Consider synchronizing your family’s watches for 10:02. When the alarm sounds, pray through Luke 10:2: “And he said to them, ’The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (ESV).
Whether at 10:02, at bedtime or around the dinner table, pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to grant opportunities to speak of Him with those He’s prepared to hear. Oftentimes what we find is when we pray like this, He begins to open us up to be the answer to our own prayers.
It’s impossible to love God without loving your neighbor. Summertime offers more daylight to be a good neighbor. People are not projects to be figured out but rather image-bearers to love, listen to and learn from. Open your home to host a meal or invite neighbors to join in something you are already doing (running, going to the movies, etc.). Give away food from your garden. Lend a hand to a neighbor’s project. In short, be present.
Gatherings like these, both planned and spontaneous, build a bank of shared experiences that often serve as foundations to build relationships where authenticity can flourish. Sharing the stories of your life (both good and bad) and asking good questions about others create credibility. It’s so simple even kids can do it!
Recently, I saw young children sharing the gospel with their neighbors using sidewalk chalk on a typical summer day that God chose to use for the communication of the gospel.
When God creates spaces and opportunities to be with people in the natural rhythms of your daily life, what He has created for you is a ministry of presence. Remember, however, that faith only comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17).
As you ask questions and listen deeply, trust that He has prepared you for these moments to speak the love of Christ, meaningfully, into their lives.1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 say, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ask God to give you vision this summer. What would our neighborhoods look like if we were to pray, build and speak regularly?
Get the latest news and information by signing up for our N.C. Baptist newsletter.