From The Storyteller
February 5, 2018, Winter
I believe in “winter”. This belief grew over time starting July 1, 1999 in Taft Texas. On that day the United Methodist Church in Taft had a new pastor- me. During the first four months, we never stopped running. The preschool was restructured, the bell tower repaired, the pastor’s office relocated, the church library moved, the church’s office equipment upgraded, the fellowship hall repainted, the church bookkeeping system computerized, and the traditional finance campaign completed. The people were up to the tasks and had responded well.
I was on a roll - until I tried to fill a few vacant committee positions. After being told “no” a few times, I figured it was time to listen. The council chair’s advice - “Doug, they’re afraid. You have done so much in such a short time, they are afraid they won’t be able to keep up with you. They are with you; they just need a ‘winter’.” Bombshell advice! Wisdom in a farming community may sound different, but it means the same thing. Trying to move people from one project to another, without a season of rest, is not a good idea.
Virtually every available worker, in this relatively small congregation, had been engaged in four months of high level activity. In a congregation where 50 was considered young, they had done their part and more. These folks were wise enough to recognize the need for a “winter” in crop management - and their lives.
That year the term “winter” took on a new meaning. People, just like machines, need maintenance or they will wear out quickly. There are times when a sprint is necessary, but understanding the importance of “winter” in the lives of people has helped a lot.
Moral – “Winter” is more about rest than cold.