What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone say, “Summer in Houston”? For me, it's three things: hot, humid, and head northwest to my mountainous home state of Colorado! But what does the summer mean for you?
Summer in churches can mean all kinds of things: mission trips, church camps, VBS, just to name a few. It can also mean different routines because of lower attendance, whether it's changing service times or taking a break from midweek home groups. Summer brings a degree of informality too; some pastors who normally wear a tie to preach will move to a polo shirt, and some who normally wear jeans might even wear shorts!
Here I've complied some things to do that I hope will prove helpful as you move into the summer months. Depending on your role, the summer can be a slower time or your busiest of the year, so scale these considerations accordingly. Whatever your role, I believe there’s something here for you. So take a moment and join me as we reflect on summer together.
1. Recharge and Get Some Rest
Congratulations. You did it! You made it through the spring and the end of the school year with all of the band concerts, proms, graduations, and recognitions that the calendar could hold. Of course like many people, you had the summer calendar planned out months ago so that—between sports camps, mission trips, VBS, youth camps, and 100 other activities—the days will be filled until late July or early August when band, football and other pre-semester activities start back up again.
And you may have even scheduled a vacation or some time away. You may have scheduled a cross-country road trip with daily activities like seeing the world’s largest ball of twine! But if at the end of the summer, you didn’t build in times to rest and recharge, you didn’t do it right.
If you’re a team leader, be creative and insistent that your team takes care of themselves and develops a good balance also. Maybe close the office on Fridays in anticipation of late hours or busy weekends; maybe pick a slow afternoon and send everyone home early. Involve your leadership team and get the proper permissions, but remind everyone that your people are your best asset.
2. Be Prepared if Disaster Strikes
In case of a storm
In the days leading up to a storm event, we hope your attention is rightly focused on the safety of your family and your community. If you need some websites to help you, I have found these helpful for general preparedness as well as building a home kit. We also hope that your church is playing a proactive role in helping everyone in their sphere of influence prepare themselves for the next storm event. Once the storm is over, however, the clock for assessing who needs help is ticking.
During the first 48 hours of a storm event, the UBA website will direct all traffic to www.ubahouston.org/disaster. On that page, you will find only 2 buttons: one for UBA churches to “check-in” and one for potential partners outside of Houston.
In the event of a city-wide disaster, the UBA website will be the fastest way for your church to tell us that you need assistance or that you are in a position to provide assistance. By using the website, you’ll be helping us steward our resources to better make contact with our entire UBA family.
Get trained ahead of the storm
TBM offers some of the best and most comprehensive disaster relief training and prepares people and churches for a variety of scenarios. The Houston area depended heavily on TBM in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. By going through the training ahead of time, your church can be prepared not only for local storm events but also to assist wherever TBM deploys nationwide.
The next training will be held in Katy on June 7 & 8. Find details here.
Connect to a local group of churches that work with outside agencies
Communication and preparation are the keys to disaster relief and recovery. Before and during Hurricane Harvey, churches and agencies did good work, but there were many lessons learned.
One of the most important lessons concerned coordination. Houston Responds is a network of networks, helping to lend expertise and experience to navigate existing systems so that those who need help receive it in an efficient manner. They do an excellent job coordinating efforts so that churches and agencies work with each other to help as many people as possible.
Find out if your church is connected to a local network of churches for disaster relief and recovery on their website..
3. Connect to Your Local School
Have you considered building a better relationship with the school that is closest to your church? Have you thought about what such a relationship might look like, what the benefits might be for the school and for the church? Do you know what schools are looking for in church partnerships, or do you just think you know? Now is the time to make plans for beginning the next school year with a partnership in place.
UBA is proud to work with Loving Houston, an organization that inspires, equips, and resources churches to build long-term relationships with local schools so that every child, parent, and teacher can experience Jesus’ love in a tangible way. A relationship between a church and school starts with questions, and attending a Loving Houston training is a great way to learn more about starting that relationship.
The next training is June 11. Find out more information here.
There will be more information on disaster preparedness as we get closer to the opening of hurricane season and a video interview between me and Marilyn Lee, the executive director of Loving Houston, coming soon. So stay tuned to all of UBA’s social media channels throughout the summer—when you’re not trying to get some rest that is!
Have a great summer!