Our church doesn't have the traditional committees that meet every month. Instead we use what we call the "Seasonal Structure"--based on the liturgical calendar, we divide up the year into 8 seasons. People sign up for a season's team, and that team then studies scripture together and discerns a theme, then uses the scripture and theme for the season to plan all the ministry and activities of the church for that season, including worship, fellowship, mission, education, and stewardship.
The liturgical calendar guides us on our faith journey as we encounter different aspects of scripture, God's call, and the life of Jesus through each season of the year. Each season lasts approximately 5-8 weeks, plus a planning period of 7-8 weeks, so the total time commitment for each team member is approximately 3-4 months. No one is allowed to be on consecutive teams, so each season has its own flavor, and no one gets burned out.
The 8 seasons are:
Epiphany (January-February): The light has come into the world, and the darkness did not overcome it. Christ is revealed in many ways! This season includes the Annual Meeting.
Lent (always 6 weeks, March-April): We journey toward the cross, seeking God’s will. (Includes Holy Week)
Easter (always 7 weeks, April-May): Christ is Alive! We are Resurrection People! (Includes Holy Week)
Pentecost 1 (May-June/July): The Holy Spirit is moving!
Pentecost 2 (July-August): We grow with God. This season includes Labor Day.
Harvest 1 (September-October): We come together to hear God’s story yet again, from the beginning.
Harvest 2 (October-November): We give thanks for God’s generous providing. This season includes the stewardship pledge campaign.
Advent/Christmas (always 5.5 weeks, December): We await Christ’s incarnation yet again, making room & preparing the way. Includes Christmas Eve.
Anyone can join a season team--all that is required is the ability to attend the initial planning meeting. Each team prays, studies, discusses, and works together to do what they feel God is calling us as a church community to do right now. No team is bound by previous teams' activities, only by their own discernment and energy level.
For those who don't feel they can commit to the work of a team, for physical reasons or because of extensive travel, you can also join as a consultant. Consultants attend the first planning meeting to participate in the study, prayer, and planning, and then they decide how they wish to be involved going forward. Some have not been able to do anything after that first meeting, while others have participated in every meeting and activity, and everything in between!
There are spaces available for both team members and consultants, and we'd love to have you join us as we follow Christ together, joining in God's mission and ministry here in Palatine!
*Why do we do church this way? Short-term teams mean more people can be involved without making year-long commitments. The work of each Season begins with Bible study, and scripture is the focal point for all that we do. Session and Deacons can concentrate on the work they were meant to do—administration of the church resources and pastoral care of its members. The entire congregation has a hands-on opportunity to plan and implement the ministries of the church with less risk of burnout. Our staff helps the teams bring meaningful and awesome faith experiences to the congregation. Every season brings new encounters with God & new blessings from the Spirit!
*What about ongoing things that need their own committees? There is a finance committee that oversees the day-to-day financial business of the church, and some of our ongoing ministries have their own leadership teams (PADS, the garden, Presbyterian Women). Everything else falls under the leadership of a season team, or of the session and deacons directly. It has worked wonderfully so far.