Seasons Of Ministry

About this time, I am once again reminded that there are definite seasons to ministry.

Right now, of course, we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, which will then lead us into Advent. Then there’s a brief post-holiday letdown that lasts until mid-January, when ministry ramps up again.

In February, ministry begins humming along again. For leaders, it is also the season for conferences in warm-weather locations and for a short break before Lent and Easter.

Following Easter there is a bit of tension between post-Resurrection Celebration letdown/Spring Break, and the desire to capitalize on momentum from that season. That takes us into late spring and early summer, which is the season for graduation parties, volunteer appreciation events, summer sign-ups, and recruiting volunteers for the following fall.

Summer probably has the most variety: for some churches, this is their busiest time of the year (those in or near vacation destinations), while others go into summer hibernation as everyone travels, volunteers get the summer off, and the children and youth are off at camps and mission trips.

That brings us to early fall, the season for kick-offs: small groups, sermon series, classes, ministry fairs, graduation to the next age-level ministry, and new service schedules. Everyone is back, everyone is excited, everyone is committed.

Six weeks later, everyone has scattered to their activities and everyone is tired — including leaders, who attend conferences like Catalyst or take time off after the busyness of the early fall. But we look ahead on the calendar, and see that in no time at all it will again be…

Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and then the cycle starts all over again.

Of course, I write this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the reality is that life and ministry happen in seasons and cycles, both general and specific to a particular context. A wise leader will recognize the ebbs and flows, allowing for yet capitalizing on both.

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