Last week and this week, I’ve often written on “bridging” from the summer to the new school year. Today, though, I’m looking at bridging across the summer – all the way from last school year.

It is so easy for us (and our students) to see each school year as a self-contained package of impact, growth, ministry, service, trials, education, experiences, friendship, fun, and life. Even now, I look back at my time in college in year-by-year fashion (with a sub-category of semesters).

But we need to remember that God has long-running, ongoing plans for our students and our ministries. His plans don’t always follow our rhythms, so we need to be careful, as shepherds, not to let our natural rhythmic tendencies become “leaning on our own understanding.” Just because we see the world (and our students see their world) in semesters and school years doesn’t mean that’s where God clearly draws His lines of work.

Instead, I would encourage you to spend time – if you haven’t – rehearsing all the clear moves of God from the past year (and even before that). What unexpected trials, tragedies, or triumphs did He use? What efforts did students clearly respond to? How did the students (as a group) grow? If there weren’t these lines of semester and school year, or this “gap” called summer, what could you say God has been doing over time in your ministry?

I’m definitely from the old Experiencing God school; the principle of the hour (any hour) is to “See where God is working and join Him.” He showed you things He was “up to” with students last year; our chance to join in that work, to be His fellow-laborers now, is to allow for some continuity. To build on that foundation.

Shouldn’t at least some major part of our planning be in response to what He’s been doing all along?