categories:, church, church planting, encouragement, global culture, leadership
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March 24th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

23 comments (+ Add)

Working With God’s Seasons

Proverbs 20:4 says, “If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest.”

In ministry it is so important to work with God’s seasons. Instead of always wishing for the next season, we should embrace the season we’re in.

Here are a few examples of how to work with the seasons:

  • If you’re a church planter, you won’t be any more of a real church when you have a real building. Enjoy the ride in portable facilities. You’re in a special season.
  • If you’re 50 years old and not naturally a cool person, you’ll look silly trying to act and dress 28. Embrace your season and be a mentor instead of a buddy to the next generation.
  • If your church is debt free and strong, don’t pretend like everything you have is for you. During this season, your greatest calling might be to fund the next generation’s vision.
  • If you had a singles ministry that worked for 9 years, but is no longer effective, celebrate the 9 years of success. Close it down and do something different. Don’t keep something on life support once its season has passed.

Because I was 28 years old when I started Life Church, I always felt like I was the young guy with everything in front of me. I’m not the young guy any more. (It happened so fast.) Now rather than just building our church, I embrace this season of lifting the next generation to do more than I’m able to do.

How can you better embrace this season?

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  1. Mar 24, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Craig: I missed commenting yesterday so hope to tie these in together (without being too long). I am at 56 considered an old man. But other than a few physical ailments (trust me you will get there! :) ) I am so excited about this season in my life. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams and I am enjoying the ride of my life. I sometimes want to bemoan the fact that I am not young any more but then realize that God has placed me in this season for “such a time as this.” I was hired because I was older and they needed someone to give stability to the younger couples and to the “baby” church. For that I am grateful. On today’s post: we are in a rented facility, sometimes wishing we had something to “call our own.” But God has shown us, especially in this slowdown, that we are blessed to have a place to worship without the constant concerns associated with our own building. Someday maybe the door will open. But until then we will enjoy this season. Also, I do try to act my age without being a total stick in the mud. :) Thanks for a good two posts this week.

  2. Mar 24, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Thank you so much for this post and reminder Craig - as a church planter in a church that launches this coming Sunday, point #1 is a great reminder for me and our people!

  3. 3JE
    Mar 24, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Sorry this is slightly off-topic.. but do you guys think the (global) Church has a common season going on? Is there something special that God seems to be doing everywhere, or is it just that all of us have different seasons at different times with no relation to one another?

  4. Mar 24, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I just read this statement from Mark Batterson on his blog yesterday:

    “It’s adventure that helps us appreciate routine and it’s routine that helps us appreciate adventure.”

    Mark went on to explain that we was just getting back from an adventure and he was excited to get back to his routine.

    Along with the seasons of ministry, we need to have both aspects of adventure and routine.

    Right now I’m looking forward to getting out of my routine and I’m ready for a new adventure.

  5. Mar 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

    [...] I’ve been thinking a lot lately about seasons. Both personally and as a church (or business), focuses and direction are different in different times. We go wrong when we are blind to it. This is a great post for church leaders in thinking along those lines: [...]

  6. 6Janne E
    Mar 24, 2009 at 8:17 am

    And I don’t mean that there wouldn’t be any relation (of course there is), but my point is to ask if there’s a higher perspective trough which we could look at the seasons God is taking us trough?

    It is encouraging to see that you’re not the only one facing a certain season, and it would be even more encouraging to really see my own season as a part of something bigger that God is doing in His people.

    As we can embrace each other as an important part of the Body, maybe we can also embrace our season in te same way, knowing that God has a bigger plan to which our season relates to. And to trust that He knows what He’s doing.

  7. 7Jimmy K
    Mar 24, 2009 at 8:19 am

    How interesting that 5 years ago today I sat in my Sr. Pastors office and told him I thought God was calling us into a new season of ministry with a church in Texas. Today a phase of this ministry in Texas is complete and I sense with great anticipation the beginning of a new season. My thoughts today as a 56 year old guy who embraces the fact that I no longer have to try and be cool are that the seasons never end and the mercies of God are new every morning.

  8. 8Kevin
    Mar 24, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Craig. I have watched from the margins (that sounds sort of stalker-ish, sorry about that) as you have shared your influence with a friend of mine. He is a tremendous leader, but you are enabling him to achieve a whole new level. I don’t know many leaders who would do what you are doing, espcially with someone right outside their back door. It is quite impressive to see someone in your position and with your level of influence actually WALK-THE-WALK. You cannot do that with everyone, but the fact that you do it with anyone is really admirable. Thanks for being such a servant-leader. This has nothing to do with seasons, but I just wanted to send it your way.

  9. Mar 24, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I am in a tough spot in my church. I don’t agree with a lot of things that happen in our Church and with my pastor. There is hardly any accountability if at all.

    I was at C3 this year and heard your talk on IT, and also Steven Furtick talking about the difference between Honor and Respect.

    I have been trying to embrace this season that I am in by allowing God to show me why I am needing to endure all these things. I want to use this time, not to complain about how bad things are, but to let God show me and teach me what I need to know out of this situation.

  10. 11Vicky
    Mar 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    For JE’s question: I think the answer is both. God works globally in the sense that He entered human history in order to save the world (John 3:16). At the same time God is working with individual people and nations. Ultimately the goal is “Salvation” because Jesus came into the world for that very purpose. An evangelist once said, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad men good, He came to make dead men live.” This is, I believe, the crux of the matter. God cares about “life” and since God is eternal, He cares about eternal life. It is up to each one of us as individuals to choose - (whosoever believes in Him). For example, in Revelation 2:21 we see that God gave Jezebel, an individual, a season to change her heart and turn away from sin. However, God’s Word tells us that she did not want to change…She would not repent. God also works with individual nations and specifically chose Israel as His own. So we see in God’s Word that we find God doing something special globally, nationally, and individually and sometimes at the same time. We see examples at different times/seasons with Noah, Abraham, Moses, The Apostle Paul, etc. We see God doing something special in their personal lives while moving in them toward a purpose that will affect their individual lives as well as, the world.

  11. 12Derek
    Mar 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    This last weekend Matt Chandler had some great thoughts on “Waiting on the Lord”. I think sometimes we can glamorize this phrase. But this very well may be one of the most difficult seasons I’ve gone through. Waiting on God to show me what season is next. So difficult.

  12. Mar 24, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I am praying for clarity on the whole ’seasons’ conversation. I live in Florida where you always feel like you are in different parts of the summer. For a while, I had issues with everything and everybody…I feel that most twenty-something leaders can relate. My thoughts and convictions have not changed, but my strategies have…some call it maturity, others call it settling…I call it patience. God will do what He said He would do. So to answer the question…I am praying for violent and catalytic patience. Regardless of my season (again, I am not really sure which one I am in), God will complete the work He started and bring the harvest (and the laborers too!) I wish my generation could be marked and known for our patience…

  13. Mar 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Man, this is timely. I have wanted to say some of the same things during this “season of ministry” the church finds her self in but felt that since I am only a young buck starting out with everything seemingly in front of me, wisdom would have someone else speak. Great word!

  14. 15Janne
    Mar 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Derrick, I like your point there. I come from a totally different backround since I live in Finland, and we really have all the 4 seasons here (-30C+snow in winter / +30C in summer!). But there really isn’t anything I can do about the season than to wait patiently for it to change, and embrace the season by doing things that season most enables you to do.

    It would be stupid to try skiing in the summer here, but in winter it’s great. :)

  15. Mar 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Oh my goodness, I just told my husband yesterday that I LOVE being 50! I feel so free to pursue whatever God leads me toward, and that changes daily because I love to create new things constantly!

    God is opening doors I never dreamed of or asked for. I feel totally inadequate to walk through these doors but wiling to give it my best shot with God’s help! I just got asked to review a very well known Pastor’s new book coming out, what in the world!!! Makes no sense, but I cannot wait!!

    I am embracing this season and I am making changes to our praise teams and tech areas to make sure the next generation feels that our arms are wide open! And we are not holding tightly to “the way we’ve always done it!!”

  16. Mar 24, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I’m now 8 years in full-time ministry in my home church where I came to know Christ some 14 years ago. By the way, I’m mid-30s. I’ve finally started to “see” God’s work in the church, not my or our leaders’ work. This is really eyes-opening for me to witness first-hand. It seems that God continues His work in building the root deep in my spiritual life, and is preparing me for cross-cultural missions work in the near future.

  17. Mar 24, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Great post Craig! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Mar 25, 2009 at 1:08 am

    [...] Shared a link on Google Reader. Working With God’s Seasons [...]

  19. Mar 26, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Craig! Love all your blogs, ironically, I am speaking this Sunday on seasons in a preaching series called “Moving Forward” - to move forward you need to know what season you are in! Your insight is great! I want to seize my seasons in life! Blessings to you!

  20. 21Shogun of D South
    Mar 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    With 14 campuses, is it your expectation that all are and or should be in the same season and how to you manage to maximize the harvest in each locality…..or do you consider campus independence at all?

  21. 23Kyle
    May 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I will be 28 when my team and I launch our church at the turn of the year; its cool to know you were the same age. I am incredibly excited and nervous at the same time. This season of final preparations is intense to say the least as I finish my final semester at SEU (thanks for speaking at the Forum), and the day to starting this God dream gets closer and closer. I’d love to get into a conversation with you and hear your advice on these final 6 months before we start.

    God bless.