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Stay Connected this Summer

Summer’s here – it’s official. And this is a great thing! But as routines change, midweek bible study groups take a break and holidays happen, let me encourage you to take some Preventative Medicine in order to avoid Summer Drift (not a brand of washing powder. Read on.).

Summer Drift /sʌmə ˈdrɪft/ n Seasonal malady afflicting a number of Christians. Symptoms may include: spiritual lassitude, lack of bible reading/prayer, drop in church attendance, fall in spiritual zeal. Causes: disruption of routine; holidays may be viewed as ‘vacations from the Christian life’; reduced regular contact with other church family members. Possible outcomes: lower resistance to sin and temptation, cold heart towards the Lord and other believers, and in the worst cases, ‘forsaking your first love’ (Revelation 2:4) completely.

Without wishing to be alarmist, things can be tougher spiritually over the summer so let me urge us all to keep going. In summary: stay connected; stay close.

Stay close to the Lord and don’t be complacent. Be on your guard (1 Peter 5:8), put on your spiritual armour (Ephesians 6:10-18), ask for the Lord’s help and protection (e.g. Psalm 141:1-4) and ask a friend to pray for you.

  • Practically, it’s important to keep feeding on God’s Word, the Bible – if Jesus needed it, how much more do we, his followers?  He said: “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt 4:4. You might want a break from your usual pattern of bible reading and prayer or you might be aware that the busyness of ‘normal life’ has meant you've had no usual pattern of late - why not see the summer as an opportunity to give your devotional life some CPR? Over the summer why not choose something different from what you were using or start again with something that will be refreshing and holiday-ish in a healthy way i.e. not nothing. For instance, a Psalm a day (maybe don’t start with 119. Or 117 come to that…). Or a little bible study booklet that covers a month such as The Good Book Guides on either a bible book (a good starting point is Galatians), or a topic such as Contentment or The Holy Spirit. I can’t recommend highly enough Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ –a bible promise for every day with a few encouraging thoughts from Charles himself.
  • Put a Christian book in your suitcase/on your e-reader, along with all the high-brow classics we’re sure you’ll be planning to read on the beach. It doesn’t have to be a deep and worthy (but stodgy and, frankly, heavy) theological tome. Take something you’re likely to read! How about ‘Perfect Sinners’ by Matt Fuller?  ‘Through Gates of Splendour’ by Elisabeth Elliot? ‘God’s Big Picture’ by Vaughan Roberts? ‘Loving the Way Jesus Loves’ by Phil Ryken?
  • Keep praying – wherever we are, a prayer of thanksgiving as we lay our weary heads on our pillows last thing at night and a prayer committing the day to the Lord before we open our eyes in the morning shouldn’t be beyond us at the least. For a bit of variety (and Ye Olde English), why not use a book of prayers such as ‘The Valley of Vision’? It’s, well, fab.
  • Download some sermons (ours are here) so that you can listen to one or two on the plane/by the pool/beside the seaside.

Stay close to other Christians We’re warned not to give up the habit of meeting together (Heb 10:25) – we’re pretty sure that includes summertime. Scripture tells us that as a church, we’re a body – we need each other to function properly and to help each other (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). So…

  • Keep making Sunday services a priority – it’s 10.15 and 6pm as usual at CCM and keep coming to the midweek meetings on Wednesdays in church. The ‘Summer Specials’ really are, erm, special.
  • Even if your regular midweek bible study group has stopped for the summer, it doesn’t mean your relationship with the members of that group is ended! Keep looking out for one another and having ‘holy conversation’– let’s not be embarrassed to ask one another how we’re going with the Lord/what he’s been teaching us about himself. Let’s resolve not to get the hump with one another if someone phones or emails to say ‘I haven’t seen you for a while and wanted to check you’re doing ok’ – it’s an expression of love and care among Christian brothers and sisters which is right and good. 
  • Got a bit more time over the summer? Sooper. Why not use it to invite some of the church family for a meal - it can be pasta and pesto for main and a yoghurt for pudding, it’s the getting together that counts.
  • Or, let’s be optimistic, why not arrange to meet for a picnic in one of London’s many beautiful parks (don’t forget your brolly. We’re optimistic but we’re not foolhardy).

It’s not rocket science, is it? But Summer Drift is a sneaky phenomenon that can creep up on us unawares so it’s worth resolving now not to be outwitted by it. Share concerns as well as ideas and Top Tips with other brothers and sisters. Let’s pray for one another as a church that we’ll come out of the summer in better shape spiritually than we went into it.