This is the "slow" time. No, life's rat race did not take a break. Regardless of the month of the year, "hectic" is always the pace and "too busy" is always the reality.

Late July and August have their own personality in a congregation's life. It is the "slow" time. The weather is hot and dry. The heat zaps our energy. Activities are not as much fun because of the weather's discomfort. The kids are bored--many actually look forward to school starting. Even the summertime routine breaks down in families.

Within the congregation, it is the "wrong time" to begin anything new. Momentum would place last in a snail race. Attendance is erratic because families are making their last trips before school starts. It is difficult to find teachers or men to take leading roles in assemblies because so many are gone. Ministry work crawls.

"What's wrong?" Nothing. This is always typical of late July and August. It simply is "that time of the year." It is amazing to watch the life, the involvement, and the momentum revive themselves when September arrives.

The most significant danger in this period is the possibility of developing a bad case of congregational "blahs." Since healthy congregational routines and involvement tend to suffer, it is easy to lose sight of our blessings. Minor frustrations look like monsters.

To help us "see" our blessings and fight the blahs, let's begin "Operation Encouragement" this week. For the next few weeks, I challenge every member to consciously focus on our blessings. Focus on everything that brings you gratitude and joy.

We will sharpen and intensify that focus in a very simple way. Each week I will ask every member to write and mail a note. Just one note, just one stamp! I will suggest a different focus for our notes each week.

THIS WEEK: WRITE A NOTE TO SOMEONE IN THE CONGREGATION WHOM YOU APPRECIATE! It can be anyone you appreciate--someone who touches your life, or encourages you, or renews your faith, or lifts your spirits. Write to someone that others may not write. Perhaps it is someone that you have wanted to thank for a long time.

Do it this week! It will sharpen your focus on our blessings! It will lift the spirits and gladden the heart of the person who receives your note!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 3 August 1997

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