Summer is quickly approaching.
Planning now for how to intentionally spend your summer will keep it from just passing by. God has prepared many unique opportunities for you to represent Him to others as life simply happens.
Here are some suggestions as you and your family naturally live out your faith amidst what God has in store for the coming months.
Meet New People through Summer Programs
Many families enroll their children in day camps and sports leagues during the summer break. Meeting new friends can provide rewarding opportunities not only for the kids, but for you as parents, as well.
Most cities offer reasonably priced summer programs to fill those empty hours the children normally would spend in school. By giving your kids something new to try, you can meet new people while they are doing fun activities. Adults don't have to miss out on the excitement either. Community programs typically increase during the summer months for youth and grown-ups alike.
Invite your new friends and their families out for a picnic, into your home for a meal or to your church. Include the kids by praying as a family for their new friends or learning together how to tell others about Jesus.
Volunteer to Meet Needs and Show Christ's Love
Places like soup kitchens, shelters and nursing homes constantly need hands and feet to help meet the needs of others. Sign up as a family to continue spending quality time together that is both purposeful and faith-building.
"The Humane Society has a program to take your pet around to the elderly or disabled children to cheer them up," says Cru staff member Nancy Alvarez. "We are hoping to sign up this summer because it's a really nice way to reach out to others, and we can do it together as a family."
Showing kindness to strangers often results in conversations about why someone would do those things for them. That's the perfect opportunity to talk about how your faith in Christ empowers and motivates you to love others.
Go on a Summer Mission Trip
Teenagers and college students aren't the only ones participating in summer ministry events and trips. Families can serve Christ and others in foreign countries, various areas in need around the United States or even their own neighborhoods.
"For the past 6 of 7 summers, our family has gone on international mission trips," says Cru staff member Donna Kushner. "It has been amazing to see how God has used this in our kids' lives. They have gained a heart for the world, are aware of real-life issues like poverty and AIDS, and have been able to have a part in making a difference around the globe."
The personal benefits of a mission trip reach beyond awareness. "They have been able to see God use their unique gifts," says Donna. "They have seen clear answers to prayer and have had to wrestle with how faith works in the real world."
Even if your family can't go on a trip this summer, you can encourage others that are. Inquire at your church for ways you can help serve those who will be traveling. You can help them prepare for the trip, pray for them as a family, or even offer to care for their home or pets while they are away. If you don't know anyone that is going on a trip, pray for college students around the United States who are on summer projects.