The transition time between the summer season and an academic season of ministry is often an overlooked opportunity. Sustaining summer ministry requires a good amount of effort, as does being ready for the fresh new season of ministry that comes with the beginning of the school year. These seasons seem to mesh up together with very little time for evaluation (but hopefully a little vacation/reprieve in there somewhere). As the rhythms in your ministry to children are getting under way, I encourage you to set aside a little bit of time to evaluate the fruitfulness of the ministry from the summer.
This time of reflection can be an informal set-aside time with a pencil and notebook. Spend time thinking back to the beginning of the summer and your prayers for the summer ministry as well as to the children in your ministry. Ask the Lord to show you the places where He was faithful to provide. There are probably some stories you don’t want to forget. You may even want to write them down to encourage you, your leadership, and volunteers in the future. How did you see the Lord at work in the lives of the children during the summer? In your volunteers? In yourself?
After spending time praising the Lord for these things, turn your attention to some of the hard things. Is there anything you could have done to prepare better? How will it benefit the children in your church to plan for next summer? What would you like to do differently and what would you like to do the same? Write down things to begin praying right now for whatever the Lord has your work to be next summer.
This notebook can now be set aside as you turn your attention back to the rhythm of sustaining the school year of ministry. The prayers can continue as you ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment in planning. As you remember the smiles, laughter, and growth in the children in your church and community this summer, you can say with the psalmist in Psalm 92. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night.”