Advent is a time of rejoicing. Its a time of building up the anticipation of celebration. And within the framework of anticipation and celebration, the pastor must understand the processes of the rhythm of life.
Just as there are four seasons in a year, the pastor must understand that there are also four seasons within the pattern of church life. Those four seasons of church life are the preparation, sowing, tending and then the harvest.
The time of preparation is the season of rest. It’s the season of Sabbath, a season in which the pastor recognises that the congregation need rest. The pastor recognises their tiredness. The pastor acknowledges their own tiredness and need of rest also. And so the church activities are scaled back. The teaching is less motivational to get out there and evangelise and more about sitting still and know that God is in control.
The season of sowing is the season of encouragement. Its the season of sowing the vision for the year. It’s the season of recognising peoples gifting’s, talents and abilities and encouraging those gifts to be used. It’s a time of spurring the church forward, releasing the congregation to do the work of the ministry.
The season of tending is one of fertilisation for growth. Encouragement to spur each other on is the main thrust of this season. Its one of hard work. Often pruning is involved. People are stretched to their capacity to see what they are capable of doing. Discipleship, evangelism, programs are run to full capacity.
And the season of harvest is one where there is a celebration of the hard work of growth. It’s a time of looking back. It’s a time of celebration of the victories and a time of debriefing regarding the failures.
It’s important for the pastor to understand these seasons and to maintain this rhythm of life. For if in a time of Sabbath rest, the church is urged on to do more; burn out will occur. If the season of sowing is not observed, and the vision is promoted’ the congregation will not have the tools and the skills to move forward in the year. The result will be confusion, frustration, stagnation and burn out.