Don't despise the dog days of summer?
For some, summer moves quite fast. For others, it drags on and on like a bad movie.
Despite your perspective or experience, summer unequivocally challenges every living thing to slow down and conserve energy.
Fish don't swim as much, dogs rest in the shade, and those regularly ministering in local churches need a break.
I'm blessed to pastor Harbor Community Church. We just celebrated our 1-year anniversary in April, so one could accurately call us a toddler church. Like all toddlers, we need naps.
This process has been loads of fun, but has also taken loads of people carrying the load.
We now have more than 40 people fairly regularly volunteering simply to make Sunday worship "happen" (not including the ministry during the week outside the walls of the YMCA). And more than a few serve on multiple ministry teams.
Rest is needed. Rest is good.
If a pastor, leader, volunteer, can't press pause on some activities, events and ministries over the summer, he really does believe the lie he/she is a necessity.
God can't work outside these programs I lead; God needs me.
So in the end, rest really becomes a faith issue. Fortunately God doesn't need us.
Summer helps us slow down in the busy-ness of life and remember Jesus will sustain His church, even if it suspends Sunday school, weekly community groups, and limits the number of Bible studies, fellowship or outreach activities.
I'm not saying a church must suspend ministries (particularly if it has a plethora of volunteers), but simply against the inability to do so when rest is truly needed.
Resting doesn't mean remaining in a self-absorbed lethargic state of existence.
Instead, resting refuels us so we can sustain an extended season of ministry (usually the school calendar year).
In our church's stage, the marathon has just begun so we need to be careful not to do too much now, so we can do more later.
Don't believe the lie a full day at the beach is really what you need. Let us not think we know more than the One who offers true rest and delivers each Sunday (Heb 10:25).
If your church limits the number of fellowship or discipleship opportunities for reasons already mentioned, then it is all the more necessary to put yourself in the path of grace and rest: hearing the gospel preached, prayed and sung.
God will not love you less when you skip, but eventually you will love God less.
We love God most when we see Him for who He is and what he's done for us in the gospel.
And since your calendar might be a little more open, why not continue to grow in your love for God by spending time with some in the church you don't know or don't know well? Real fellowship spurs us on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
If you can, get some rest this summer. You probably really need it. But rest well. For your sake and for those in your path, don't confuse rest with lethargy.
Pastor Geoff Henderson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at@theapostleGH. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday's Herald written by local clergy memberrs.