Seasons. Summer. Fall. Winter. Spring. Seasons are one of the gifts I appreciate most about any 12-month period (although I wish Texas experienced more than two of them). Each season makes its’ contribution to the year. Each season brings its’ own beauty. This seasonal way God’s hard-wired the world is a metaphor for how we experience life. Life comes to us in seasons. As our friend Solomon so wisely says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Just as our individual lives are experienced seasonally, so is life within a church. There are winter or pruning seasons in the life of a church, seasons in which Jesus cuts back the vine in order to produce more fruit in the future. There are spring time or harvest seasons in the life of a church, where Jesus invites us to pick the fruit from the once-pruned vine. And just like in life, it’s important for a church to sense or identify the season they’re in because you don’t plant in winter and you don’t harvest in spring.
We’re moving into what will likely be a harvest season.
In the life of a church, you don’t get harvest seasons often. They’re special. They’re gifts. God doesn’t owe them to us. They’re like windows normally closed that Jesus supernaturally opens. We can’t plan them because they are providentially bestowed by God, but we can plead with God for them. We can ready ourselves to receive them. Part of that readiness to receive means we feel a sense of awed responsibility. “Jesus, if you’ll entrust us with a season of harvest, we’ll faithfully steward it.” Stonegate, I am asking the Lord to give us that heart of awed-responsibility. And I want to give you two simple ways that we can be faithful stewards during this season:
1: ENJOY JESUS.
The Christian life is energized by the ongoing enjoyment of Jesus (Nehemiah 8:10). The enjoyment of Jesus is how we show the worth and value of Jesus. The enjoyment of Jesus is what lies under the heart that’s open and ready to say “yes” to Jesus. Your pursuit of Jesus enjoyment isn’t just the most important thing you can do for your own soul, it’s also the most important thing you can do for your church family.
2: SERVICE OF OTHERS.
During the spring season seeds have to be planted and watered, and if by grace the Lord gives the growth and the harvest season dawns - the farmer, sickle in hand, heads to the field. The farmer knows the window of opportunity doesn’t stay open forever, the harvest will be reaped or the harvest that could-have-been will rot. If the farmer’s hurt, wants more sleep, has a cold, or _______, he still puts on his boots, grabs his sickle, and goes to the field. Now is the moment.
This is also true for us as a church. As we enter into what will likely be a harvest season, it’s absolutely pivotal that every person who calls Stonegate home gets into the fields: bearing one another’s burdens, using their gifts for the good of their church family, serving, praying for and sharing Jesus with neighbors and friends who need Jesus, and generally doing whatever needs to be done to steward what God’s doing!
To switch metaphors, think of the NBA. In the regular season, it’s not uncommon for players to rest by taking a quarter off, or maybe even a game. If they tweak a muscle, they’ll miss as many games as needed to make sure they fully recover. But what’s true in the regular season is not true in the playoffs! During the playoffs players play hurt. Players play sick (one of the most famous examples). The window of opportunity opens (the playoffs), and players rightly do everything they can to maximize the opportunity.
Stonegate, that’s the mentality that readies us to receive the gift of a harvest season. When it comes to using your God given gifts within the context of our church family, here are some current service opportunities.
- Kids Min (birth-5th grade, check-in, teachers, assistants)
- Connect Team (coffee team, hospitality, ushering, greeting)
- Set Up Team
- Tear Down Team
- Worship Team (vocal, instrumental, A/V/L, set up, tear down)
- Student Ministry (worship/production, set up, tear down, small group leader)
- Home Group Leader
- Care Advocate
- Orphan Care
- Security Team
- Prayer Team
Stonegate, I’m continually amazed that Jesus invites us into the game, equips us with gifts, and then offers us roles to play. May we be a church with hearts ready to embrace the gift of this next season of ministry.
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