by Bobbi Miller
I love summertime—fun, beach, pool, heat, BBQs, and no school for the kids! But I love it on the ministry front as well! Why? Because we get to go fishing!
Summertime is a great time to give our weekly serving people a break, inviting the church to step up and stand in the gap for them while they rest and refresh for the summer with their families! And yes! That means that every May, we begin to strategically invite a whole new group of “Summer Serve” people to jump on in!
Summer Serve has become a strategic part of our ministry rhythm! We have learned over the past seven summers that it not only affords our leaders a break, but it gives us the opportunity to meet a whole new “pond” of people to fish from!
What do I mean by that? All year long, our people experience amazing teaching and worship in “big church.” God is working in them and growing them into the likeness of Jesus! At some point, people will be ready to take a step of faith toward a serving role, and we have found that Summer Serve is a great time for them to make that first step out of their seats and into service!
What do we do? We put a laser focus on the serving experience in the summertime. We want new people to realize that serving is a joy. They come in willing to help! But when they experience Jesus working through them impacting kids, we hear them say: “I didn’t know it was like this!” “I loved it; when can I do it again?”
Every Sunday, we pray “God, show me today who to tap on the shoulder and invite into service!” It never fails. He does. Every week, somebody shines! And we invite. And we wait to see what God does! People come back. We get to see them and encourage them again. And by the end of the summer, we don’t even have to fish—they are jumping into the boat! And our rosters are full of new people to love on for the new season! And the “old” people return too!
Sound familiar? Jesus told some fishermen who had been fishing all night long, with no fish to show for it to cast the net on the other side of the boat this time! To trust Him. And what happened? More fish than they could imagine. Sometimes God puts us in situations where it seems like there is no answer. We have tried everything. We thought we knew what needed to be done. It worked before. Perhaps God is asking us to do something different; counterintuitive; something that doesn’t make sense!
Around here, we go fishing in the summer—and we cast a wide net on the other side of the boat. And we are never disappointed with the result, because we know those who get in the boat are supposed to be there!
Its summertime! Let’s go fishing!
Bobbi is the kids ministry pastor at Bent Tree Bible Church in Carrollton, Texas. Her passion is to lead her staff and volunteer teams toward creating environments where kids, servants and families can flourish. After starting her career in ministry with Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, she spent the last 15 years taking the leadership principles she learned and applying them to a small church children’s ministry in Michigan before landing in the heart of Texas! She and her husband, Paul, who is also a pastor at Bent Tree, have five children, the youngest two adopted from Rwanda, Africa.