Growth time. The fields are planted by now and the weed control is being applied. It is that time of year when we expect crops and gardens to grow all over North America. In a few weeks we will all be glad for the fresh vegetables and fruits. There is nothing like a fresh, Decker melon from the southern part of the state in which I reside.

Thinking of summer growth caused me to ask this question: How do you grow in your walk with Jesus during the various seasons of the year? If it is growth time in the vegetable garden, how do you plan to grow in the fruit of the Spirit this summer?

Many churches cut back on discipleship initiatives in the summer. Youth groups often depend on a variety of summer camps and other events to keep a student’s faith intact. Knowing we cannot afford to take a three-month sabbatical from being made into a disciple of Jesus, here are some ideas to keep the fire in your soul hot for the Lord this summer:

1.Worship. Go to church. Even if you are on vacation, there are church services all around you. I know I’m the weird one on this, but when I went on vacation with my family, I would look up surrounding churches and worship service times and plan out my weekends. It was not unusual for me to attend four to six worship services between late on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Worship feeds my soul and vacations were some of the only Sundays when I had no weekend responsibilities.

2.Read your Bible. I had a friend years ago who used to say, “I’m going fishing for a long weekend and I’m not taking my Bible.” I never did ask him what his problem with mixing Bible reading and fishing was, but that was his statement. The Bible is meant to be mobile. In fact, some are reading this article and need to exit in order to pull up their daily Bible reading plan instead.

3.Start a small group. There are many around you that perhaps have the same interests you have. Some have kids that are the same ages as yours. Some like the same activities. Why not start a Bible study and prayer time with them while you are at the campgrounds or on your way to the game? When our kids played travel soccer, I took players and parents to church, had prayer times, and even discussed quite a few doctrines and passages on the side of a pitch

4.Serve. One of the best ways to grow in your walk with Christ is to serve others. This service best comes from a heart that is focused on God’s Word and prayer. Once you’ve spent the year getting fed, get out and put the things you’ve learned about Jesus into practice. Many need help around the house during the warmer months. Community projects often happen during the warmer months. Even your church could use a few weeds pulled and a few coats of paint applied.

Maybe you would like to add to the list of ideas. Regardless, there is a harvest coming. This time of year is a great season to grow in your understanding of God’s beautiful work in your life. When Jesus told us in the Great Commission to “…make disciples of all nations,” he intended that to happen every day of every year.

Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.