God calls us to be disciples, but what does that mean? Often times we think about prayer, generosity, worship and service as the primary acts of discipleship. However, during the summer, these discipleship practices often get left on the back-burner as we make more time for fun, vacations, and celebrations. While all of these things are important, we must not forget God’s call for us to live as disciples.
As we enter into the summer months, we often expect the church to slow down in terms of programming and expectations. While that may be true in some ways—there are no big festivals coming up for a while after Pentecost on June 5, choirs are not rehearsing as regularly, and church attendance often drops as well—the truth is that the needs of the church and the needs of the community remain steady, or perhaps even increase, over the summer.
When kids come home for the summer, families have increased meal expenses in the absence of school breakfast and lunch programs. Childcare expenses increase as families must make arrangements for weekday care. Electricity bills increase with the use of air conditioning and fans, and seniors must plan for extreme heat. Additionally, volunteerism and charity drop during the summer months as individuals plan vacations and trips, and as people attend family gatherings and outings. Schedules seem to get significantly busier.
This means that places like food pantries experience both increased need and less availability of their volunteers at the same time. The summer would be an excellent time to reach out to local pantries and shelters to find out how you can help. Perhaps it’s time to make a call to The Extended Hand Ministries in Mt. Holly to volunteer. They offer community meals, a food pantry, and shelter for those in need, and they are looking for volunteers nearly every day of the week. Call Mike at (609) 914-4270 to volunteer.
Meanwhile, the needs of the church remain steady, too. We are regularly in need of worship assistants for weekly worship. Even if you missed the training sessions offered in May, you’re always invited to sign up and learn. It would be wonderful if the sign-up sheet were filled ahead of time so Rosanne didn’t have to seek volunteers throughout the week. We’re also in need of volunteers for Vacation Bible School, property upkeep, and a variety of committees would love your help. There truly is something for everyone!
The expenses at church also tend to increase during the summer. As schedules fill up with other things and church attendance drops, perhaps it’s time to consider using Vanco (formerly “Simply Giving”) to make automated donations to the church. You can set it up easily through the church’s website or you can contact Rosanne Scassero or Ken Hibbert for more information. If you would like to increase or adjust the amount of our automated giving, simply contact Ken Hibbert. He can manage this easily for you.
The Holy Spirit has gathered us together as the church to help us grow together as disciples. We are called to work together, to support one another, and pray for one another. We join with one another to pray more deeply, give more generously, worship more sincerely, and serve more humbly. And, as we gather together in worship, we celebrate the new life that we see around us, and we pray for strength and endurance to continue serving God throughout the world.
I encourage you to find new ways to participate in the life of the church and the community this summer! How will you continue your life of discipleship?
Rev. Jessica Hahn