Be sure to check out the previous articles in the Leading Through the Seasons of Life series. As we move into the autumn season of ministry, what does that look like?
Think about what the season looks like: things are changing. There is sometimes great harvest of fruit, leaves change colors and begin to fall off the trees, and the weather is cooler.
In Daniel 2 as Daniel was praying for God to reveal the mystery of the king’s dream, we read his response when God answered with the interpretation: “…May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:20-21).
We know that it is God who brings about the changes of the seasons. But why does He allow changes that affect our ministry? Maybe you are in a place of ministry that is very fulfilling and fruitful, or maybe the ministry seems to be slowing or diminishing. You may be wondering what you are doing wrong and why it’s not working as well as it used to. Perhaps women are not responding as they did before.
This is the perfect time to evaluate what’s going on. We may be at a plateau or we may be losing ground so we must stop long enough to ask God what is going on and what He would want us to do at this point.
Perhaps you just need to tweak the ministry a bit. Otherwise the ministry may become stale, the “same old, same old.” We always need to stay flexible as we lead since it’s up to the Holy Spirit to direct the ministry. So how do you know what to change?
Evaluate these aspects about each area of the ministry:
- Are women coming to Christ through what we are doing?
- Are women being discipled?
- Are women using their gifts and skills to serve through this ministry?
- Is there any life transformation happening through this part of the ministry? Are women studying, obeying, and teaching the truth?
- Did this ministry seem more effective in the past?
- Who is participating? What are their ages and life stages?
- Why are they participating?
- Who are you NOT reaching that you know you must? What will it take to reach them?
If the answers to these questions do not give you some direction, continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal whether this ministry needs to be tweaked to be more effective, OR if He is asking you to lay it down so you can do something else that will make a difference in the lives of others.
Another thing that can help is to ask for outside wisdom. Get another set of eyes from someone not involved in the ministry to help you look with a fresh perspective. Ask them to pray with you and your team as you move through this evaluation process.
What about if we are in the “autumn” time of your personal life and ministry? Your life situation is changing. Perhaps you don’t like the changes. You may now have an empty nest. Perhaps you are about to retire. You don’t want to leave the busy summertime of life where you are very active and involved. Or maybe this makes you think, “Wow, now I have time to breathe again, to travel, and take it easy.” But maybe God wants you to reevaluate that as well. Maybe He wants us to say, “Wow, now I have more time to serve Him!”
This is a perfect time to re-focus on the most important things God wants us to participate in. After a growing season like summer and the fruit that often appears in fall (of life and ministry), take time to revisit the call in your life to serve and the purpose of the ministry you lead. Let God speak to you on all levels of your walk and service to Him as you walk through the changes of autumn.
Next time we will look at the winter of ministry from a couple of different perspectives as we continue this series.
In the meantime, you might want to get a copy of Dr. Jeff Iorg’s book that has inspired this series, Seasons of a Leader’s Life.