The traditional church doesn’t pass through seasons because it’s tied to a ritual that continues unmoved every week of every month of every year, world without end. Consequently, the spiritual temperature of a traditional congregation is hidden underneath the ritual. The performers perform, and the congregation watches, regardless of the congregation’s spiritual condition. To spin that point around, religious institutions and programs are life-support systems when a church is spiritually dying.
One of the wisest men who ever lived taught us well about the different season of life. He wrote,
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
What is true in the natural is also true in the spiritual.
At bottom, a season means a change. As fallen creatures, we don’t like change very much. We fall into ruts and routines quite easily. We’re bent that way. But science teaches us that all living things grow or else they die. Change, therefore, is a basic law of life.
For this reason, it’s important that a church always maintain a spirit of exploration, experimentation, and discovery. I’ve learned that if you don’t have variety in your church life, you will grow stale. There’s an infinite number of ways to express the Lord, there’s an infinite number of ways to explore Him, and there’s an infinite number of ways to have meetings.
I’m convinced that one of the reasons why God wrote the seasons into the script of the universe is to illustrate the changes that a church will pass through. To frame it in Paul’s language, “Does not nature teach you?” 1 Corinthians 11:14.