Yesterday I got clustered with a bunch of other pastors over at Calvary Baptist Church in Renton. I’ve been participating in this for one way or another for about four years and it has been helpful. It is one of the most beneficial things my denominational does to help pastors. For me it functions like continuing education and keeps me up to date on important books and ideas in pastoral ministry.
This week, our teacher Gate Kolstad taught us about the four seasons of life. Gabe adapted it from material he learned from Steve Stroope. These are not unique to pastors—everyone goes through these. A key difference is that as pastors, when we go through these seasons it invariably has ramifications on those we lead.
The Dream Season—The Dream season is when we begin imagining how great something could be or how wonderful it would be to do something we want to do. We might spend lots of time in the dream season daydreaming, ‘What if?’
The Do Season—Results are the most vital aspect of the Do Season. This is when we’ve been able to act on a plan that will make the dream begin to live.
The Doldrums Season—The Doldrums is when, as Gabe said, “Things get out of alignment.” One of the most common attributes of being in the Doldrums Season is to be a little bored with life. In this season we focus on activities and results; but we have forgotten the passion of the dream.
The Cocoon Season—What we called The Cocoon Season in our cluster is what I’ve often heard referred to as The Desert. These are the times when we withdraw and isolate. It can be a period of loneliness and darkness as well as feelings of frustration and silent resignation. (Note, this season does not include Wilford Brimley)
In the cluster we were forced to label which season we are in. I observed that it felt to me like I was coming out of a Cocoon Season and re-entering the Dream Season again. I also shared that to me; at least, this was difficult because part of the darkness of the Cocoon Season is realizing that the old dreams are no longer possible or even valid. That means we must murder those old dreams—do violence to them. New dreams cannot be reborn out of the cocoon until old ones are dead. Usually though, we are so invested in the old dreams that we cannot let go of them and this process of refusing to let go elongates the Cocoon Season.
Many of the hopes and dreams I had when I began ministry and when I moved to Port Orchard must, by necessity, die. They are no longer valid for where I am as a man, Christ-follower, or pastor. Neither are they valid for my faith community. Nevertheless, killing old dreams is very hard because they cannot be peacefully euthanized. They must be hacked to pieces with the blunt edge of reality.