Winter can be tough on a church if the pastor and people are not prepared. Make the most out of your ministry during this Winter!
One of the benefits of serving God in New England is that we get to experience all four seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter all have their pros and cons. New Englanders usually have strong feelings about which ones they like and dislike. Nevertheless, we are privileged to experience them in all of their glory. Each season presents its own challenges to ministry. We won’t list them all here. In this article, we will focus on ministry in the Winter.
If you want to have a fruitful ministry in New England, you must make peace with Winter. That’s easier for some people than others. If you grew up in the northern United States, you are probably accustomed to cold weather, snow accumulation, and winter storms. Some people even enjoy Winter! However, if you have never lived or ministered up North, you are in for a treat. Many well-intentioned preachers have moved to New England believing that God wanted them to serve here, only to quit because of the Winter. Either God never called them to New England, or they left God’s will because they didn’t consider how to serve God successfully during the cold winter months. I don’t make that statement as a criticism but as a fact.
I grew up in Southern Indiana. Typically, we had cold winters with snow accumulation each year. When I went to Bible College near Chicago, I knew I had a lot to learn. I was a country boy trying to acclimate to city life. That was a huge adjustment! I was soon to learn that I also wasn’t prepared for the change in weather. I was used to the cold and snow, but I wasn’t ready for the amount of wind in the Windy City. The first winter I was there the frigid air seemed to cut right through my usual winter clothing. I was cold! I had to learn how to dress differently in order to survive. Likewise, the lake effect snow was different than my previous experience. I had to modify my thinking and lifestyle to succeed.
I had friends in college from warmer climates that had an even more difficult time adjusting to the weather. Some were from states that an inch or two of snow would shut everything down. A few of them had never even seen snow! A few of them gave up and went home. Most of them adapted and had successful ministries in college because they learned to embrace the difficulties of the Winter season.
Truthfully, many of the successful churches in New England today are pastored by men that grew up in different parts of our country. God called them here, and they’ve stayed. God has used them to do much good for His Kingdom. I believe that God will continue calling men to New England. We need to keep them here once they come.
I’m sure someone is reading this article thinking it is unnecessary. Don’t underestimate the challenges of the Winter season. Even life-long New Englanders get discouraged. Life feels different when the sun goes down at 4:30 pm, it’s biting cold, and you don’t feel well because you are fighting off (more…)