Saturday, April 27, 2013

SUMMER: Backyard Wednesdays or Summer Tuesdays?

I've always wanted to start a casual ministry outside during the summer. It would be something very relaxed and informal called Backyard Wednesdays or Summer Tuesdays or whatever day you choose. It could be every two weeks or you could rotate groups and have one week for families, the next for adults, and the next for youth. I'd have them after dinner at 6:30 or 7 (or later for adults).  The goal would be Christian fellowship, connection, and conversation. I've found that having the ability to play music around a fire can be a great thing so you might want to invest in a simple way to do that without intruding too much on the neighborhood. My vision might be something along these lines:
  • For youth - A few games, appropriate music, and conversation on a Bible and life topic. Teenagers always have questions about why things are the way they are. This would be a great place to use a question jar so the kids can have some input regarding what will be discussed. Adults can volunteer to be there to help the conversation but remember that teenagers won't discuss certain topics honestly with parents around. When I was in high school we all liked to lay in the yard and look at the stars and the most random topics would arise about life, the world, and the universe. Don't forget to pray!
  • For adults (of all ages) - Wine (or beer) if allowed, music, a fire and conversation on a Bible and life topic. Adults need to connect with other adults. They may want different music from the kids but the conversation might end up surprisingly similar. With the varied ages of adults in a congregation the conversation could be amazing. Don't forget to pray!
  • For families - Games and popcorn outside in the yard. This would be a little less conversational and a little more active. Popcorn is a simple snack after games and the games could just be normal yard games. Don't forget the prayer and have a short devotion that might include a song. Kids love to sing!
After a while I would bet it would be so casual and relaxing that people start inviting friends to come enjoy Backyard Wednesdays. People rarely take the time to talk about the questions that are swimming through their minds like:

  • What am I doing with my life?
  • Where do I fit in the world?
  • What does God want from me?
  • What really is God's plan for me and can I know what it is?
  • What should I do with the trials of life and what does God have to do with them?
  • What if I become resentful of God because I'm not happy?
We often get so focused on the pace of life that taking a few moments to relax and ponder God's universe and our place in it can be attitude changing and sometimes that's exactly what we need. It's about ministry of presence and being present for each other in a real way. 

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