How to be a Summer

By Ryan Dawson

With the summer season upon us you will notice how much more you are seeing your neighbours outside.  People are cutting grass, enjoying outdoor activities, spending time in their gardens, and having BBQ’s.  Because we are seeing each other more this is also a great opportunity to connect in meaningful ways.  God has planted us where we are so that we can reflect the goodness of God to those around us.  We understand that if we want people around us to experience the loving leadership of Jesus (AKA - the Kingdom of Jesus) we will need to live in a way that reveals the goodness of God.  How do we do this?  

One helpful way to embody this is to embrace B.L.E.S.S. rhythms as missional practices.  By living out these habits we will have an opportunity love people in real and tangible ways as we go through our days.  This is an important moment to once again consider the investments you will make this summer.  B.L.E.S.S. stands for…

Begin with prayer.  Start each day by asking God to help you be a blessing to others.  God will surprise you with “divine appointments” as you take steps to join Him where He is already working.  God is working all around us and prayer often helps us tune in so we can see where He is working.  Prayer is our declaration of dependence so I encourage you to pray by name for those in your neighbourhood and sphere of influence.  One writer said:  “We need to talk to God about people, before we talk to people about God.”  

Listen to needs.   Develop the posture of a Listener-Learner by asking honouring and wondering questions.  As you spend time with people, and practice “active listening”, you will hear of needs in their lives.  When we listen to people, we communicate that we care about them and their needs.  The Holy Spirit will also give us wisdom to know how we can help meet these needs as a church family.  

Eat together.   Something beautiful happens when we share meals together.  People are hungry for community so take the initiative and invite friends, neighbours, and colleagues, to share a meal with you, because sharing meals removes barriers and opens hearts to the message of mercy.  In what ways can you practice radical hospitality, so others experience the goodness of God?  We have talked as a church that we want to “open our hearts and our homes to others” with intentionality this year.  Relationship is the currency of the Gospel, so make time in your schedule to build friendships over meals and drinks this summer.

Serve like Jesus.  Look for opportunities to serve people in practical ways so they feel loved and valued.  Simple acts of kindness go a long way to developing trust and intimacy with people.  When we serve selflessly, we reflect Christ who gave His life for us, and this can warm the hearts of people towards the things of God.  Maybe there is a way to help a neighbour with a summer project or some yard work.  Maybe you have a pool and you can invite them to use it, or a tool to lend, or you can find some other way to be generous.  Generosity reflects the very heart of Jesus so look for ways to be generous.  

Share your story.  A friend of mine described evangelism as “joining the Holy Spirit in the conversation they are already having with someone.”  As we invest in friendships, built on unconditional love, trust, and authenticity we are going to have opportunities to share the difference Jesus has made in our lives.  We can start by asking honouring questions, listen, dialogue, and then when appropriate, we can graciously share about the hope we have in Christ and invite people to consider their relationship with God.  

By exploring these habits in an intentional way, we are in a better posture to live out our faith in ways that will make a difference.  God has a way of using simple and seemingly mundane things to make a huge impact.  I want to encourage you to look for ways to be a blessing where you live, work, play, and go.  God’s Spirit is at work all around us so let’s join Him as He draws people to Himself.   And remember, you have been blessed to be a blessing - so have fun and be a this summer!  

For Christ and Kingdom, Ryan

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