On the Go for God this Summer?

June 12, 2024 |

“Two-thirds of the word God is go…” I was struck by this statement made by a colleague at a district event some years ago.

God has been on a mission since, well… the beginning: from creation to establishing a covenant with Israel, speaking with the prophets to the sending of Jesus, and calling the first disciples to calling us today.  God is on the mission of calling all creation into a fuller relationship with the Lord.

Jesus doesn’t just call us to be passive observers but to actively participate in the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” He also directs us towards ministry in his world, saying, “As the Father sent me, I am sending you” (Matthew 28:19; John 20:21).  Christ gathers us as the church and then sends us into the world. Let us be honored to be active servants of God’s mission!

“How are you this summer ‘on the go’ for God?” Meaning how are you and your congregation living as sent people on the mission for Christ in the world?

Churches across the conference are gearing up for a summer of vibrant ministry. Vacation Bible School is taking shape, and new families are eagerly being welcomed to the church. Teams are buzzing with excitement as they prepare for summer mission projects. Sunday morning fellowship hour is heading outdoors with lemonade on the lawn. Backyard community book clubs, bible studies, gardens, and movie nights are on the horizon, promising fun and fellowship. With people’s summer schedules different, some churches are even launching early morning Sunday worship services. And the list of exciting ministries goes on…

In the local church, one of my most transformative summers took place during a strategic planning process. Eight leaders from the congregation, each with their unique gifts, met over three months to develop a church mission and ministry plan. With committee meetings on summer hiatus, these leaders could invest in vision casting, fostering a sense of shared purpose and community. This process required a high commitment from everyone involved, but we sensed God was leading us forward. Together, we walked the neighborhood and met with leaders of businesses, schools, and the community. We compiled a congregational gift assessment. We held focus groups to discern where the Spirit was moving. We shared meals, read scripture, dreamed dreams, and prayerfully cast a vision. That summer led the congregation to appreciate and embrace its members and the community in new ways. It also informed me about my own leadership strengths and areas of growth that were necessary for this next step in ministry. In this summer season, how are you tapping into new possibilities for ministry and mission?

If you are interested in reflecting on your church’s present circumstances and future discipleship and missional possibilities, you may want to learn more about the resource called Pathways. With a coach or self-led, you will engage in assessment, visioning, planning, and executing goals. The planning, strategy-setting, and action-taking phases may extend from three to 18 months with ongoing efforts.

God is on the go. Let us listen, pray, discern, and follow the Lord’s lead in ministry and mission in our lives, the church, and the world!

*The Rev. Dr. Juel Nelson is GNJ’s Director of Leadership Development and Associate Superintendent for the Metro Highlands Region. Republished from the Metro Highlands Region newsletter June 2024 issue.