Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ready to Launch...

This is the first summer in my 10 years at First Free that we took a summer break from our midweek program. As we evaluated the purpose of doing ministry we saw that it's purpose (evangelism) was hitting the mark all year long but falling short (way short) in the summers. We could have changed purposes but we are already heavy on discipleship and fellowship. We could have focused on worship and ministry but that is present in our Sundays, events, bi-weekly ministry opportunities (SummerWood), mission trips (and training). We were either redoing/replicating ministry or we were running a student ministries "child care" program and that did not seem like it was honoring God. September 2nd is coing soon...that is our first ministry night back from our summer break. I feel like this break was very valuable. Other than all that was mentioned for pausing ministry here is what else we are hoping is value added:
  • Leadership is fresh and focused
  • Each series from now to next summer is planned
  • Small groups are ready and we are using the new LIVE Curriculum
  • Taking a break gave us a unique opportunity to get with our adult volunteer staff
  • We did not lose connection with students; there was still Sunday School, twice the events, 10 service opportunities, 2 Mission Trips, and we focused on individual contact instead of large group ministry.
All this said we are hoping for some big payoffs:
  • Entering ministry with freshness (mental and physical: we were getting tired. While other ministries were launching in the Spring, Student Ministries "continued" it 50 week schedule...we did not meet the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and 4th of July when it fell on a Wednesday)
  • Entering ministry with freshness part 2 (fresh ideas, ready to start instead of finding the energy to keep going creatively)
  • Prepared and excited leaders
  • And anticipation. We hope that our students are crazy excited to begin again. This could be a great momentum builder.
There is more I could say but these are the main points. Do you take a break in ministry? What do you see as benefits? Has this hurt your ministries?