Creating Sabbath in a Youth Ministry Summer

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“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Exodus 20:8. Sounds pretty simple, right? Remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy sounds so easy to accomplish, but in our fast paced, ultra connected, crazy busy culture, it’s so much easier said than done. And when summer comes around, it becomes even harder to fit that Sabbath time into a schedule of summer camps, annual conferences, lock ins, concerts, kids being home from school, missions projects and so much more. The thing is, God’s standards for Sabbath time are just the same in the summer as they are in the winter. If you’re like me and you find summer Sabbath to be one of the most difficult seasons to make Sabbath happen, then here are some tips that may help.

1. Prioritize

This one is pretty simple. If you want Sabbath to happen, you have to make it happen. Do what you need to do to make it a priority in your schedule. Change some things to make sure the time is there. Avoid over scheduling whenever possible and put Sabbath time on your calendar each week. When you put Sabbath on your calendar before all of the many other obligations you have, many of which are less important, Sabbath is much more likely to happen.

“A runaway calendar will keep you from simplifying your life. It holds you hostage to tangible things—meetings, appointments, and projects—without giving proper priority to the intangibles: who you are becoming, your relationships with family and friends, your connectedness to God. Without conscious intervention, this pattern of chronically overscheduling ensures that the priorities you care about most will take a backseat to the urgent priorities of others every time.”

Bill Hybels, Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul

2. Take it Outdoors!

Summer is the perfect time to take your Sabbath outdoors, especially if you live in an area where the other 9 months of the year are not conducive to outside activities that don’t involve parkas. Move your Sabbath times outdoors. I have found that some of my best times connecting with God have been sitting next to the lake, walking along the beach or on the hiking trail. Take advantage of the tranquility that nature has to offer and use it to deepen your connection with the Creator.

3. Find Your Best Rest

Rest looks different for everyone. What is restful for you may be stressful for me and vice versa. Figure out what brings your body and soul rest and focus on doing as much of that as possible.

4. Go Small

If fitting an entire day of Sabbath just will not work in certain, crazier than others weeks, fit small chunks of Sabbath time into each day. 20 or 30 minutes of Sabbath can make a big difference and certainly will make a bigger difference that no Sabbath time at all.

5. Disconnect

Sometimes, even our most quiet, restful moments can be sabotaged by the urge to grab your phone and check social media or emails. Try disconnecting as often as possible during your Sabbath time. If your Sabbath is a day at the beach with the kids, leave your phone in the beach bag as much as possible. Remember that the world will continue to function even if you don’t check your email for a few hours and even if you don’t immediately post that selfie with the giraffe at the zoo. It might even be better for it.

6. Keep it Holy

My final tip for summer Sabbath, is to remember the second part of the verse, keep it holy. Don’t forget that Sabbath isn’t all about you. While it’s meant to be a relaxing, non work filled time, it’s also meant to include time connecting with God. Be intentional about making that happen.

Whatever your summer includes, make sure it also includes Sabbath. It’s not as hard as it seems and with a little planning and a lot of intentionality, you can make it happen. You’ve got this!!

 

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Chasity is the Outreach and Education Coordinator at Christ UMC in Newcomerstown, Ohio. As part of that position, she is the youth pastor for Meta Student Ministries, a community wide, student led youth ministry, that takes place at Christ UMC. Chasity is most passionate about empowering and equipping teens and young adults to make a difference in the world through the life changing power of Jesus. She is also pretty passionate about hanging out with her awesome husband and family, mission work to Cuba, traveling, sweet tea, all things Spanish and cooking. You can follow her on Twitter: @ChasLOpp

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