From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
Summer consists of longer days enabling a family to spend more time outside, doing special activities, and making memories. From the moment the sun rises to where it sets, it is an opportunity to praise the Lord for all the blessings he provides as individuals but also as families.
We want to provide you a summer challenge checklist of items to do to make sure this summer doesn’t pass you by.
The next few months in your schedule is a unique opportunity to draw closer to Jesus and one another. We want to equip you with some ideas to make sure both of those happen.
Treat this list not as a calendar but a checklist. We are giving you 17 items to do in the summer of 2017. Go through the items and make plans on your calendar, and check them off as you go along. These activities are intended to let a family of any shape or size grow together.
#1. Make a Summer Memory Jar
Summertime is full of so many special moments, you might forget some of them! Put an empty jar or container in a prominent place within your home. Put some small pieces of paper and a pen beside it. As you go through the summer, write down memories you make together as a family. Your memories could be funny moments, lessons learned, exciting opportunities, individual milestones, etc. At the conclusion of summer, empty the jar and celebrate the memories together.
#2. Prayer Basket
Our church is blessed with so many wonderful people! Prioritize to pray for different people this summer. Make a prayer basket to sit on the kitchen table. Compile a group of people that you want to pray for in the church over the summer. You could gather Christmas cards within the container or pictures of certain families. You could write names of people on popsicle sticks or pieces of paper. Include elders, staff members, your children’s teachers, volunteers, discipleship group members, etc. Make it a variety of names. When you have a prayer time over a meal, pull out one name and pray for that person or family specifically.
#3. Prioritize Hospitality
Open up your home this summer to a family in the church. Carve out time where you don’t have to be rushed. Enjoy a meal together. Play some games in the backyard. Over the meal, have someone in your family pray for the other family and vice versa. Schedule a time and prioritize hospitality.
#4. Listen to the Heavens
Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens are telling the glory of God. Take a moment this summer to listen to what the heavens are saying. Whether it is by watching a sunrise or a sunset, taking a walk under a starry sky, or beholding a glorious cloud configuration, watch it together as a family and read Psalm 19 together. Talk about what the heavens tell us about God.
#5. Seek and Find
Play a game of seek and find together as a family. Hide a special item(s) in the house or the backyard that will benefit the entire family and tell them what it is (sum of money, gift card to ice cream store, some special item, etc). Then let the family go with urgency to find the item. Once the item is found, read Luke 15:1-10 together and discuss the passage together. How urgent is Jesus to find us? After talking about his desire to find us, enjoy what was found together.
#6. Serve a Service Person
We have wonderful service people who help make our lives safer and better every day. Either write a note, get a gift card, or get a baked good into the hands of a service person (military, veteran, police officer, fireman, etc.). Tell them how much you appreciate them and how they remind you of Jesus since they serve others (Mark 10:45).
#7. Love a Neighbor (Sting Operation)
Think of a neighbor you can serve in a tangible way, but…it must be a surprise! Maybe you do yard work when they aren’t at home, bring over a favorite treat, write an encouraging note and leave it on their front door, or serve them in a practical way. Trying to be sneaky about it makes it more of an adventure. Serve the neighbor and find a way to thank them for being such a great neighbor.
#8. Revisit Memory Lane
Find an older relative or friend and interview the person about life when they were young. Ask them questions about what life was like. Ask the person what his or her favorite memories were about childhood or a special time in life. As you listen, have your ears open to a memory you could recreate. Maybe it is something simple (a cold Coke in a glass bottle) or something more involved (visiting a favorite childhood location). Either way, try to find a way to honor the older person and surprise the person while revisiting memory lane.
#9. International Food Night
Either find a recipe from a different country or go to a restaurant that serves ethnic food. As you prepare to eat, create the atmosphere as close as you can (sights and sounds). Before you eat, get some prayer emphases from operationworld.org and pray for the country and missionaries from the place you are recreating. You may know someone from our church who is from a different country. Inviting them to your home also helps you build relationships with those within the church.
#10. Alphabet Praise
As you travel, turn off the electronics and play the Alphabet Game. Take turns as you look for each letter of the alphabet on signs or license plates as you drive. You can also look for things that start with each letter. After this round or after each letter, think of one thing you can thank God for that also starts with each letter.
#11. Once Upon a Time
Either as you travel or as you hang around the house, create a story together. Have one person start the story and “pass the microphone” around to each family member. Unlike the story you create together, God’s story is united with one author – Himself. What are some of the key components of God’s story? Is there a favorite story of the Bible someone wants to read?
#12. Creation Scavenger Hunt
Either as a unit or in split-up teams, go on a creation scavenger hunt. You can do this in your backyard, park, lake, zoo, aquarium, or anywhere you think you can see all the elements. Read Genesis 1 and look for something related to each day of Creation (1 – Day and night, something that is only out at day or only out at night, 2 – sky and water, something that is made for the sky or water, 3 – land, different evidence of things made on land, 4 – sun, moon, and stars, find something that needs a lot of sunlight to live, 5 – birds and fish, spot an animal that lives in the air or underwater, 6 – land animals and people, spot as many animals that live on land, 7 – rest and reflect). Depending upon your family makeup, talk through as many items as you can. Talk about the favorite things you saw. What does God’s Creation tell us about him?
Have an opportunity for every family member to go through closets, baskets, drawers, etc. and find clothing, toys, or items to donate to someone in need. Talk about how God has met our needs and how others are less fortunate. It is OK for it to be sacrificial as well. Go together to donate the items and pray that whoever uses them will be blessed.
#14. Intentional Encouragement
Think of someone or a group of people in the church who have been a blessing to your family and write a note of encouragement to the person or group. It could be someone who teaches a class, leads in worship, holds a door, or helps out in another way. Read Heb. 3:13 together and talk about why it is important to encourage those who work at our church. Send out those letters or leave them where the person or group will see it.
#15. Family Picnic
Set a time to go have a picnic together. Get together and get outside. Let everyone be a part of the preparation of the picnic. As you eat together, talk about the things you are thankful for on that day. Talk about what is challenging about not eating inside. Read 1 Peter 2:11 and talk about how this world is not our home. How will dwelling in Heaven forever be better than having to eat in temporal places as we are merely passing through?
#16. Backyard Water Park
Create your own version of a backyard water park with sprinklers, hoses, water guns, water balloons, tarps, and whatever else you can find. Enjoy cooling off on a hot day or night and enjoy the time together. Read Malachi 4:6 and talk about the importance of your family drawing close to one another. Share how much you enjoy spending time with your family and what you love about each one. At the end of the summer, empty out the Summer Memory Jar and relive some of your family’s favorite moments. Talk about how each family member is closer to God and one another. Make commitments as school approaches of how the family can make family time a priority. Pray over the coming year.
#17. Let’s Retreat
You don’t have to actually “go” to a hotel for a family get away (but you could). Your family get away could be all the sleeping bags pulled into one room in the house. Start several weeks in advance and either start your summer or end your summer with a family retreat. One of the best things you can do with your child, teenager, or college student is to study the Bible alongside them and pray aloud for what you desire for God to do in and through them. Some of the best encouragement you can receive as a parent is to hear your children pray for each other and for you as the parent. Select a theme – patience, hospitality, sharing your faith, giving generously, standing strong when tempted and give assignments to individual family members to help you plan and lead. Somewhere in the middle of your retreat, have a time for each person who is already a Christian to share his or her personal testimony.
Summer at Rocky Creek
Sunday Fun Day at Fuddruckers after Worship
When: June 4, 2017
Who: Children’s Families and Anyone Else Who Wishes to Join Us
Sometimes it is just plain fun to gather at the same place to fellowship without an agenda or a plan. Invite another family to join us at Fuddruckers for lunch as we eat and get to know each other better.
Vacation Bible School
When: June 11-15, 2017
Who: Completed 4K-5th Grade
At Vacation Bible School, children will discover the amazing and wonderful things God created. Children will learn that God created them and that He desires to have a relationship with them. By examining our world and the Bible, we will discover how sin messed everything up and how relationships were broken. We will discover that God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for the sinner and that through His death and resurrection, Jesus proves that He is the only way to have a relationship with God.
Registration is now open.
Student Ministry Crossroads Summer Camp
When: June 19-23, 2017
Who: 6th graders – 12th graders
Students are invited to attend a week of camp at Anderson University as Clayton King leads students to Scripture and life-changing lessons from God’s Word.
Follow Through Sports Ministry Basketball Camp
When: July 17-21, 2017
Who: Kindergarten – 5th Grade
Basketball players can excel on the court and then fail to excel in life if they never realize their personal potential and leadership role as identified by who they are in Christ. Your player will be encouraged to focus on the spiritual aspect of their lives as well as the physical aspect of the sport, and the relational aspect of the sport.
Registration is now open.
Sunday Fun Day at The Olympian Grill after Worship
When: July 23, 2017
Who: Children’s Families and Anyone Else Who Wishes to Join Us
Sometimes it is just plain fun to gather at the same place to fellowship without an agenda or a plan. Invite another family to join us at The Olympian Grill for lunch as we eat and get to know each other better.
Children’s Camp at Look Up Lodge
When: August 4-7, 2017
Who: 1st-5th graders
Children are able to spend a weekend away from home focused on learning more about Jesus and God’s plan for each of their lives. Camp reservations have already been made and there is not a waiting list. You can contact Joy Emery at 615-364-5235 if you wish to have your child’s name on the waiting list.
Student Mission Trip to Atlanta
When: July 21-23
Who: 6th-12th Graders
Students have an opportunity to leave our state and join with a team in Atlanta to serve in the inner city of Atlanta. Students will serve in various ministry roles and look for opportunities to share their faith with others along the way. You can contact Marty at (864) 353-0914 if you want to join the student mission trip team.
Grow During the Summer on Sundays at 6:00 p.m.
We will gather in the fellowship hall to go through some interactive training sessions on how to share the gospel. This course will be helpful for all ages grow in their understanding of the gospel in order to test oneself (2 Cor. 13:5) and also to share others (1 Thess. 2:8).
Go During the Summer on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
We will gather in the fellowship hall to be sent out with different mission and service teams. Since everyone has a different set of skills, passions, and degree of mobility, we are going to have teams that anyone of any age can join. We will have teams that will do backyard Bible club teams, outreach teams, senior adult ministry teams, mission partnership teams, construction and remodel teams, and many more. Some teams will be making calls, writing cards, painting walls, cleaning up, reaching out, sharing with, singing for, and so many other opportunities. The entire family will have some way that they can serve or share.