Five Disciplines for Down Times

Pastor Wade Mobley
President, Free Lutheran Schools

During the summer people ask me, “Is the summer a little quieter for you around campus?” In a way, it is. The pace is different. The campus is quiet- sometimes eerily so. But summer isn’t really a down time for those of us in administration. Our job is to set the table for the ministry that is soon to come back on campus.

Summer is different, though. I just returned from the Free Lutheran Youth convention and a district family camp. Both were incredible. Student discipleship workers are resting and preparing for the classes to return. Maintenance staff works very hard during the summer. But it’s all different. We have an opportunity to prepare now for what comes ahead. That got me thinking about some disciplines for down time.

  1. Organization- When everything falls apart, you fall back on your organization. Even if you’re not an organizer, take some time to go through your essentials. Clean your office. Sort your files (paper or electronic). Make sure that everything has a place.
  2. Read a book- CS Lewis talked about reading two old books for every new one. Many great lists exist. Contact me if you want some recommendations.
  3. Make a plan- Some of you are natural planners; others are not. What do you want to accomplish in the next quarter, or year, or whatever period of time that is significant to you? Come up with 3-4 items that are essential to your success. How will you accomplish them? What resources do you need to get it done? Revisit those goals over time.
  4. Break your tendencies- If you are a natural procrastinator use down times to accomplish more through focused work. If you are naturally compulsive use down times to rest. If you are wired like me it is therapeutic to be intentionally unproductive. That hurts me to type.
  5. Prioritize people- One definition of hospitality is to make room for people. Down times can provide a way for you to connect with an old friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor.

More than anything, spend some quiet time with the Lord. Our Lord Jesus Christ purchased salvation on the cross, but He delivers salvation through His Word. In busy times we can let our quiet times slip. Use the down times to recover the simple joy of spending time with God in His Word and prayer. Doing so is a delight.

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