No matter our age or season of life, we can have a summer full of joy and rest. Modelling the gospel to our children and the younger generation around us is super important. During this Summer season, you may have some extra time to invest in doing just that! Here are six ideas on how to keep the gospel in view as we intentionally pursue joy, rest, and fun this summer.
1. PICNIC AND BIBLE STORY IN THE PARK
Grab your Bible, pack your picnic and head outside. Reading God’s Word, surrounded by his creation, is a wonderful gift, so let’s make the most of it. (Psalm 19:1-2) Why don’t you invite another family to join you and make your picnic into a fun day out?
2. TAKE A FAMILY PRAYER HIKE OR WALK
Besides benefiting from exercise, fresh air, and Vitamin D, you can also nurture your prayer lives together. 1 Thess 5:16-17 Reminds us to rejoice and pray continually. As you walk, try to come up with things you are grateful for and take turns praising God for his gifts.
3. FAITH-BASED OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT
You can buy or borrow a projector. Hang a white sheet in the garden for the screen, or simply use the wall of the house. Lay out some picnic blankets and soft cushions on the ground, or use any chairs. Make some popcorn, and you are ready to watch a Gospel-centered movie under the sky. Invite friends and neighbours to cultivate moments of hospitality and community together. Not sure what to watch? Check out these websites for inspiration: https://www.pureflix.com/insider/top-10-christian-movies-for-your-family or https://www.crosswalk.com/culture/features/best-christian-movies-for-kids.html
4. BAKE TREATS TOGETHER
Bake treats together to give to your neighbours. Creating something is a great way to spend quality time together while teaching the little ones about generosity and community by giving away the treats they helped make.
5. VOLUNTEER WITH YOUR FAMILY
You might have more time to support your chosen charity during the summer. Find out what you can do to help others as a family. You might choose to participate in a community clean-up, support your local food bank or volunteer at a summer camp. Mt 25:35-40 reminds us that we can serve God through generously serving others.
6. PLAN A SUMMER BOOK CLUB OR READING CHALLENGE
Not sure what to read? Visit https://www.thebookwell.co.uk/ or pop by and browse in person in The Bookwell (27 Belmont Road, Belfast, BT4 2AA).
We hope you will try some of these ideas to keep Jesus at the centre of this summer season. Your sun holiday might have bad weather, your kids might get sick the day before camp starts, and your summer may turn out to be less insta-worthy than you hope for, but please remember that you can always find joy and rest in Jesus Christ.
Remember to come along to our Messy Summer Event for families on Saturday, 29th July, 10 am - 2 pm. Talk to Laura or Jemma for more info.
A PRAYER FOR SUMMER BREAK
(based on the words of Tiffany Dickerson)
We thank you for a much-needed break and rest for our family. Thank you for the good things you provide in our life, such as time to spend together and fun activities to bring us closer. As we begin this summer together, may you help us fill our hearts and our minds with You.
May we be intentional in reading your Word individually and as a family. May we be intentional in praying for others and the adventures we take together. May we seek to be a part of a Gospel-centered community and not become lazy or apathetic in our walks with You simply because it is summer. Help us to show each other grace as we are together more, both at home or when we travel.
Lord, would you help our family seek out opportunities to interact with our neighbours and show them the love of Christ?
In those moments when "I'm bored" is uttered, may you grant us grace to point children to activities that remind them of you and bring them joy.
As the summer draws to a close, I pray You will bring to mind all the blessings we can celebrate as a family.
Lord, help us make wonderful memories and share in laughter that year from now we'll talk about and cherish.
May our families and church family be a shining light for Jesus wherever we go and whatever we do this summer. May we keep Jesus at the heart of all we do.
Thank you, Father, for your love, for your salvation, the gift of rest, and the joy of family. All praise, honour, and glory belong to you. Amen.