Why your students (and you) should have a summer pledge
Summer is here. Which made me start thinking about August. What kind of conversations will I have with my college students about the type of summer they had?
I started thinking about the students in our midst who would have an amazing summer. We’re sending over 200 students to Europe this summer to help engage the refugee crisis. 35 of them will stay the entire summer, serving over 2000 people who will be coming from churches around the world that are connected to ours.
I bet their summer will be one for the history books!
But then I started thinking about the other college students. Those who will not be surrounded by community, will not be given a Christ-centered mission and could be tempted beyond what they’ve known before.
I began to write down all the reasons—and excuses—students have given me in the past for not spiritually thriving during their summer.
So many times over the past nine years, I’ve wanted to grab a student by the shoulders and remind them that they are an adult, spiritually responsible for their actions, they shouldn’t just play defense all summer and focus on what they should not do – but they should make it a mission to fall in love with God and His purposes.
I also wrote down key phrases we discussed in our sermons and discipleship times throughout the year. The next thing you know, I had written a pledge for the summer.
I read this pledge in front of 400 college students and told them this was going to be my personal mission this summer. I then challenged them that if they wanted to make it their mission, to stand to their feet and read it.
They did—and the presence of God was evident! By the end, many were clapping and yelling— they were so fired up.
People began to ask me for the pledge and it has since circulated on our students’ social media. In fact, two girls came to me and said they were going to memorize it this summer so they would not forget what God had done inside of them.
Maybe this pledge (or one like it) could help your students as well! I pray the 1 Corinthians 15:58 admonition that closes the pledge will be true of all of us:
“Therefore brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
My Summer Pledge
This summer, I will love Jesus with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. Because Jesus gave His life to me, I will give my life to others and actively serve my family, my friends, the Church and those who do not yet know Jesus.
I am an adult. Therefore, it’s not anyone else’s job to keep me passionate, holy and accountable. I resolve now to take ownership and responsibility for my life. I will not give myself excuses to sin. I will not shift the blame of my sin to others by saying: “Summer was hard and I didn’t have accountability.”
I will not mess up one time and then give up for the rest of the summer. Instead, I will choose today to love what God loves and hate what God hates. So I will not look at pornography. I will not have sex with someone I’m not married to. I will not let Instagram, Netflix, Snapchat or any other media outlet pollute the purity of my devotion to Him.
I will get some rest, but I will not waste my summer. I will not let my Bible collect dust; I will tremble at the Word of the Lord. I will grow in intimacy with Him.
I will not allow inactivity or isolation to become a breeding ground for sin. I am on a mission. I refuse to just play defense. For the kingdom of heaven is advancing forcefully and the violent take it by force.
Therefore, because I am loved and set free by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I will be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that my labor in the Lord is not in vain!