The Salvation Army for a new generation

10 Ways To Use Your Summer For God

1. Go to a Summer School

Most ‘divisions’ or areas of the UK have a Summer School you can attend and there are also ‘territorial’ or national camps. This is usually a week’s residential course filled with things like Bible studies, music, outdoor activities, mission and worship. Many people in The Salvation Army recognise these events as the time where they made commitments to God that have shaped their lives ever since. It’s also a great way to make lifelong friends who will support you in your Christian journey. And the banter is off the chain. There might still be time to apply for one near you!

2. Order a T-shirt with a Christian slogan on it and wear it all around your holiday destination

Whether you’re off to Argentina, Zimbabwe or somewhere not so far away, why not take the chance to share the good news with one of these cheesy slogans printed across your chest?; “Jesus is my homeboy”, “Jesus loves the Hell out of you” and the truly ironic “God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts”. But if you get chased down the street or mocked, don’t blame me.

3. Keep going to Church

Is everyone else going away during August and you’d rather stay in bed on a Sunday morning than be dragged along and have to sing a solo as the Singing Company item? As tempting as it might be to just have a lie-in, going to Church in the summer months when others are away can be a really good thing to do. You’ll be encouraging all the other people who are there and you’ll probably find that because the meeting is a bit more informal you find it easier to listen and hear from God whilst you’re there. That will be worth getting out of bed for, trust me.

4. Bible Drop

Whether you’re going abroad or just to your local park, why not take a Bible and leave it on a bench for someone to pick up or print off some of your favourite Bible verses and leave them around the town? You’ll be amazed how many people actually read them and take notice and you’ll never know the impact you might have had on someone. One of the most touching stories I heard from the Boundless Congress last month was about an African man who left his Bible on a chair at Heathrow Airport. When another Salvationist ran after him to give it back he simply said, “I meant to leave it there. That’s for the next person.”

5. Pray Continually

Six weeks off of school means more free time. Why not use some of it to pray for those around you? You could go on a prayer walk around your local area, praying for the people you come across. Or you could commit to praying for a list of 10 specific people throughout the summer. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 says “ Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) More free time means this is easier to practice and then it will come more naturally when you get back into a routine.

6. Go to a rock festival and help on The Salvation Army stall

When I was 17, I managed to blag my way to getting a free ticket to Reading Festival by working on The Salvation Army tent. This meant I could camp with my friends and see all the bands I wanted to see and then work the midnight – 6am shift serving tea, coffee and soup. Despite being a complete mess by the end of the weekend as I had had no sleep or proper food, I got to meet some really interesting people and share some of my beliefs with them (whether or not they remembered them the next day I’m not so sure!)

7. Plan in your Quiet Times

Ever have the feeling at the beginning of the holidays that you’ve got an eternity of spare time to fill and then suddenly it’s September 1st again and you’ve not found time to buy all your new school stationery or complete the latest computer game you bought, let alone read your Bible? At the beginning of the summer try and make a plan for when you’re going to pray and read your Bible each day so that it doesn’t get pushed to one side.

8. Serve your Family and Friends

What can you do over the next month or two to serve your family and friends? Doing the washing, helping with packing suitcases or doing the food shopping can all help to give people more free time to enjoy their holidays as well. Why not challenge yourself to do one act of kindness each day for your friends/family?

9. Go on a Mission Trip

One of the best summers of my (albeit short) life was when I was 19 and I chose to spend it going to Brazil with a Christian organisation called Latin Link. We went for a month to run children’s summer camps and serve the poor community in Recife. I made really strong friendships, learnt an awful lot about myself, strengthened my faith and got to go hang-gliding in Rio do Janeiro in some spare time we had. It gave me some great ‘Gap Yaaah’ style stories to tell my friends when I got back. But more than that it’s had a lasting impact on my faith. Why not plan ahead for next year or a few years’ time when you could do something similar with The Salvation Army or another organisation and use your free time to make a real difference in the lives of others?

10. Read a book of the Bible

Got a spare morning? Afternoon? Day? You could challenge yourself to read a whole book of the Bible. You could try the book of John. It would give you a chance to get an overview of all of Jesus’ life and will probably raise some questions that you’ve not thought of before. I find it more helpful to read aloud (maybe don’t do this in public though!).
Whatever you’re up to this summer, have a think about how to use your time to get to know more about God and his plans for you and to share that with the people you come across (randomers or otherwise!).

Written by Beth Parker

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