July is the most important month of the year for me. The reason behind its importance is an odd clashing of competing motivations. First, I seek the Lord earnestly in the process of planning the coming ministry year. Second, I take two weeks of vacation to rest with my family.
Every June the ministry staff gets away for 24 hours to evaluate the past year and look forward to the coming ministry year. We work through the big opportunities to be placed on the calendar. We evaluate the previous year’s endeavors, helping us shape the objectives that should be tweaked, cut, or added. This retreat provides me with the nuts and bolts I need to do my planning over the first two weeks in July.
The first two weeks of July are very intense. Within that two weeks, I am pleading with the Lord for direction in regards to sermons for the following 12 months. Moving from series planning down to each individual week and the central scripture of that week, I work to populate a spreadsheet that guides the next year.
How hard can it be, right? The best comparison I have to offer is a Rubik’s Cube. The process consists of taking many pieces and moving them around in order to solve the puzzle of unity and progression across the ministry year. The greatest challenge is often arriving, through much time in prayer, at a destination of confidence with each sermon, event, and opportunity that is placed on the calendar. The natural ebb and flow of our local community, our ministry events, and my personal rhythms create a mess of pieces. Prayerfully, those pieces are eventually arranged into something that will propel us into our next season of growth as His local church.
If I am able to solve the Rubik’s Cube within the first two weeks, then I take two weeks of vacation to spend with my family. Working in ministry ushers many seasons of 6 or 7 day work weeks. The “holidays” that many people enjoy on the calendar are still work days for me and even our staff sometimes. Every week that ends on a Sunday is one that brings the gracious blessing of preparing a sermon bathed in prayer and built upon God’s Word. In order to shepherd my family well and not make ministry the mistress of my home, I have to be very intentional about resting and spending time with my family.
We usually try to find an economical way to leave the area as a family to enjoy some time together. Also, there is some time spent on my job description of husband, daddy, and friend. These short days are always priceless moments spent as the chaos of the Fall ministry and family calendar is imminent.
Would you pray?
Whether it is just this very moment as you are reading this post or sometime over these days, I would love to have your prayers. Pray with me as I seek the Lord’s guidance in ministry and sermon planning. Ask that His voice would be loud and clear in my heart and mind. Also, pray that every minute we have as a family returns bountiful investments.