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The Dog Days of Summer

With 100+ degree weather upon us, we are into what someone has called the dog days of summer.  Time can seem to drag and life can feel hot and heavy.  My wife tells me that when she was young she'd spend time lolly-gagging in the hammock reading novels.  That sounds good but is rarely a real option for most of us.  What should a working pastor do in the dog days of summer?  (With a slight bit of thought & imagination, a lay person can easily come up with their version of the following.) I try & recommend some of the following: 1.  Catch up on the administrative paper work that always seems to be piling up.  While this hardly makes the pulse pound with excitement, it is important.  (Remember, attention to detail separates the women from the girls and the men from the boys.) 2.  Engage in advanced planning for the fall. This is the ideal time to chart out (and do preliminary research on) sermons through Advent.  It is also a great time to set up the fall stewardship campaign, plan new Sunday School classes & small groups for spiritual development, and plan further mission, service and evangelism ministry, etc. 3.  Do in-depth reading & study. My summer reading program includes Bad Religion, Ted Campbell's text on Methodism, Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials (The entire Cabinet will be reading this book as a refresher on Methodist theology. Dr. Campbell will be leading the fall Cabinet retreat.); and  Jason Vickers'  Minding the Good Ground: A Theology for Church Renewal. 4. Get in at least a 2 week vacation!  After Jurisdictional Conference (mid-July), Jolynn & I are flying out to San Francisco to visit my brother & sister-in-law & head up the Northwest coast for 2 weeks (including 4 days hiking & sightseeing in Olympic National Park.  Genuine recreation is re-creation, and it doesn't need to cost much money! I hope your dog days are worth barking about!