What Do We Do During The Summer?

Many people ask me what I do during the summer. Do we just have summers off? A pastor once told me "it must be nice to only work 9 months out of the year." I have learned that if I do nothing all summer and just relax, August and September are disastrous and the fall semester never gets going because it never got started. If I don't spend time this summer preparing for the fall, then the ministry will pay for it all year. On the other hand, I have learned the hard way as well that if I don't rest, I become exhausted and burnt out by October. We are designed to work and rest, a rhythm of that takes wisdom and experience to perfect in a calendar year. Well, here are some ways that RUF pastors spend their summers:

1) I spend a reasonable amount of time doing research for my sermons in the fall. There is so much going on the first month of the school year that I don't want to be in my office all week working on sermons. However, because preaching is such a vital part of what we do in RUF, the work needs to be done. The summer is a great time to do the hard work for that.

2) Our mission statement says that we exist to "reach and equip students." In order to equip students I have to work on and develop curriculum resources that enable student leaders to equip their own peers. There is not much time in the school year to do this, so most of the material I give my students is developed during the summer.

3) Raise Money. RUF is a ministry that is funded by local churches and individuals who grow a heart and passion for the ministries at particular campuses. I choose to spend my time during the summer cultivating these relationships by visiting churches, committees, and individuals who are interested in giving to the ministry.

4) In State College, we have about 25-30 students who hang around during the summers. We have a weekly "summer RUF" gathering that involves cooking out and Bible study discussion. It is a very informal gathering, but a profitable one. Students grow in their relationships with God and one another.

5) I rest. I am gone at least 3 evenings a week during the school year. The summer is much needed for my family to spend some concentrated time together that we don't get during the school year.

Alex Watlington, Campus Minister at Penn State
June 10, 2013
Northeast@ruf.org • 610-691-0988 • 631 Fourth Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018