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In recently trying to find a spare Saturday on our calendar, I was stumped. Every single one had an all-day event planned. Can you relate?

That’s the drawback of trying to do ministry during the summer. It’s not just you; your volunteers’ schedules are booked with cook-outs, vacations, and family events. Meetings attract a few dedicated members—if you’re fortunate. Your own family is pulling you in various directions, which can make you feel resentful at times.

I want to encourage you to prioritize ministry in a different way this summer—to your own family. Since ministry is serving others to meet their spiritual, mental, and emotional needs, consider your service to your family as ministry as well. Perhaps like mine, your heart’s desire is to see them strengthened and unified in the Lord and with each other, just like Christ prayed for His disciples in John 17:20-21. You’re probably around them more than ever and can better assess their needs in general. You can also better understand which needs you personally should address and which you can hand off to someone more suitable.

For example, if your 15-year-old son needs help with math this summer, you may decide to handle it yourself—if he needs more time at home or you want to understand his weaknesses better—or pay someone with more ability.

Also, “needs” can be understood in different ways. Your 11-year-old daughter may talk non-stop about the dance lessons she wants. But I’m talking about the underlying issue at stake: her insecurities about fitting into a particular group of friends, for instance.

That’s a need you can submit to prayer and ask the Lord if there is something you can speak into her life than would help her. Maybe she needs you to probe more deeply into the situation. There could be another solution to her need that the Lord will reveal to you in prayer or through your church community.

Try on this image if you, like me, are a visual person: picture each of your family members like a pool. Take along your favorite floaty and sit in it, immersing yourself in that person’s temperature, personality, and interests.

  • For instance, my husband is a do-everything, no-holds-barred energy magnet. He runs hot and loves a packed calendar.
  • My son, however, needs time at home. He prefers a slower schedule. His temperature is cool.
  • My daughter enjoys a mix of activities both at home and away but wants to invite over friends when she is home. Her temperature sits between their two extremes.

As I cultivate conversations with each of them, I hear these conflicting needs. I need to listen to the Lord and pursue wisdom as I build our summer calendar.

Here’s a snapshot of how I’m ministering to our family this summer. Consider the process for ministry to your own family:

  1. Take time to listen to each person in your family. Oftentimes this is done best through one-on-one time. Decide what is the most pressing need this summer. For your husband, for example, it could be uninterrupted time with you or more relaxation instead of mowing the yard every two days (which is happening here in the Midwest from our constant rains).
  2. Mentally assess the person’s needs as you ask him open-ended questions to understand the situation better from his perspective.
  3. Assure the family member that you are considering her need and will pray about solutions to meet that need.
  4. Take the concern to prayer. Ask the Lord for help and His solution for dealing with the need.
  5. Once you’ve understood the need, don’t get ahead of the Lord. It’s easy to try to meet the need first yourself. This burns you out. Allow the Lord time to show you His solution first as you listen to His Spirit, through the Word, and in conversation with your faith community.

Encouraging you as you minister,

Lisa.

P.S. Read this post and it intrigued you? Please leave me some feedback in the comments section. I’ll always reply to you. I’m grateful for your interest!