Four seasons of ministry

Book review - gathering a harvest

Four Seasons of Ministry: Gathering a Harvest of Righteousness by Bruce G Epperly and Katherine Gould Epperly

Grounded in a belief that clergy aspire to excellence in ministry and that God is working in the lives of clergy as they seek to be faithful in ministry this book looks at how ministry excellence manifests itself in the different seasons in ministry.

Springtime: Discernment and Nurture
Summertime: Adventure and Integrity
Autumn: Endurance and Transformation
Winter: Vision and Letting Go

Across the seasons are shared spiritual practices that encourage clergy to develop a holistic perspective on ministry practice and well-being. These practices include identifying the season you are currently in; awakening to the revelation of God’s presence in your life; and finding a quiet centre where you can focus on spiritual practices.

Another feature of each chapter is the inclusions of stories of ministers in each phase sharing honestly how they navigate the seasons of ministry, seek God and practice faith. The inclusion of these stories is invaluable in helping readers think about how the ideas the Epperly’s outline might be enacted in ministry.

This book is an important contribution to the field of ministry practice as it helps ministers think through what is unique about each phase of ministry, what it means to grow in ministry and what it means to be faithful in ministry.

Questions for reflection

How would you describe the season of ministry you are in?

What are the practices of ministry that are distinctive the season you are in?

What practices have stayed consistent across the seasons of ministry?

Review by Sharon Hollis

Continuing Education Co-ordinator