The Four Seasons of Leadership

tree at four seasons

There are four seasons of leadership. Misunderstanding this can lead to frustration.

Four seasons:

Some plant – Some leaders sow seeds. They are used to start something new. As a church planter of two churches, we planted a lot of seeds. I love knowing those churches are still thriving, Kingdom-building churches. God allowed me to be there in the beginning, but others are leading them now.

Some water – Some leaders are used to create systems that allow progress to continue. They build healthy teams. They create good structure. They help things grow.

Some pull weeds – Some leaders identify problems and provide solutions to address them. They make the hard changes. They restructure. They clear the path to progress.

Some harvest – Some leaders get to see the fruition of the harvest. There is a skill to capitalizing on the foundation of planning and working others have invested. They celebrate well.

Granted we plant within every season. We have to in order to ensure future growth, but we must, again, in my opinion, spend considerable and concentrated energies in the middle two seasons if we hope to sustain a healthy, long-term harvest.

(In my current role, in an established, older church, I’m finding myself watering and pulling weeds as some of my primary leadership season. It’s not that we aren’t seeing a harvest — we are seeing huge growth — but the real harvest is still months away, in my opinion.)

It’s great when you get to do all of these in one season of leadership, but my experience has been we only get to enjoy one — and at most a couple — at one time. Sometimes they run concurrently, back-to-back to each other, but it’s rare — and difficult — to lead all four at one time.

Don’t be afraid of your season. All our necessary.

What season are you currently in these days?

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14 thoughts on “The Four Seasons of Leadership

  1. As a new member of our leadership team, we are in the beginning stages of filling the pulpit. Our pastor has been called back to Florida after three years in the pulpit here. He has taken this church, with the guidance of our Lord to a new level of awareness of the love for God and the love God has for us, something that was very lacking in the church with power hungry members. I have only been involved here for two years but have seen a big change in the hearts of this body. We have had to pull some weeds, and we do have a weed that needs pulling. We have a tough challenge ahead, low giving, makes it hard to fill the pulpit, the old guard is chomping like a wolf at the door to the hen house. they want control again, and I fear a battle building. this will take strong leadership no doubt, and I do harken to the advice given here.

  2. Is it possible to be in different seasons in different areas of your life. I feel like i'm in watering at the church – we are building systems and preparing for an increase. But at home I feel like i'm pulling weeds – have a 2 year old and my wife is 8 months pregnant – so it just feels like we're constantly trying to put out fires and figure things out. Is that why transitions are difficult cause your going from one season to the other, and it's uncomfortable until the new season becomes the new norm.

    By the way, I have a blog that i'm just starting and one of my co-workers thoughts this would be great for our audience. What do i need to do to be able to have this as a guest blog.

  3. Watering! Building A Team! I am watering with God's vision for an online prayer mentoring team called: Servant Warriors. I find that sharing with them weekly the Word in creative ways through songs, bible verses, quotes, help to keep them pointed to a vital-vertical relationship with God and I believe that is what watering does, it feeds the soul with one main nutrient: Be called to God 1st!
    Twitter: kmac4him

  4. I wonder how you feel about natural talents and abilities… Do you think that we air on the side of one season vs another? What are your thoughts there? What if we never plant? Is that okay? Or should we be planting too? Just curious. Right now I am in between #2 & 3.

  5. I seem to be in a combination of # 1 and #2. Even though my wife and I have been lead pastors for the last year at an existing church due to a hard season before arrival we are functioning a lot like a new church plant. – Casting vision and slowly changing the church culture. There is also a lot of watering for the people that have been attending for through years and stayed through the rough period.

  6. This is strange for me. I sort of find myself in the first three intermingled. Does that make sense Ron? I feel as though I am doing a lot of planting, especially with teaching on and acting with grace. I feel as though I am watering some, especially as I invest my time in a new youth pastor with zero church experience. I feel like an occasional weed puller (but not real often). While the church is experiencing some growth (two services and talk of expansion again), it is not the non-churched people I would like to be reaching.

    • Yes. There is certainly planting continually theoughout it all. Some seasons are only focused on planting but we are constantly sowing seeds. I find though that we have to have concerted efforts in the middle two or we will lose some of the sustainable harvests.