Winter - A Time to Start Exploring Within | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
December 2012

Winter - A Time to Start Exploring Within

By Chris Wilterdink

Winter is a time where things on the surface look barren and dead. The grass is dry, tree leaves have fallen to reveal bark and branch, snow begins to cover the landscape - nothing is growing. There are seasons to ministry, just as there are seasons to the year. A ministry may not feel vibrant and full of life. It might not be bearing fruit, it might not even have leaves on the branch...

But the miracle of winter time happens below the surface. Winter is not a time where superficial things eat up all of our energy. Winter is a time where energy is spent on things unseen that will allow full life to bloom later on.

Youth or young adult ministry leaders can easily spend all of their energy on activities that are highly visible in their congregations and communities, so the concept of a 'winter time' in ministry can feel daunting. Yet, if leaders don't take the time to work below the surface, eventually their ministries will fail to bear any fruit at all. True for leaders personally and for the ministries they lead.

The Field Guide Network (FGN) can be a great resource for those leaders of youth and young adult ministries looking to develop professionally, and do some self care in the winter time. By the end of December, Young People's Ministries staff will have curated at least 50 Field Guides who make themselves available as mentors. These Field Guides have a variety of expertises, and can help sow seeds for the spring and summer!

Visit to discover how using the Field Guide Network can build connection through shared ministry. 5 simple steps on the FGN can help you make the most of a winter time. Connecting with a Field Guide as a mentor is a great way to strengthen the unseen parts of a ministry, and taking time to strengthen roots often results in more springtime bloom!

The FGN is a free resource, and connections can easily be made with a Field Guide mentor within 48 hours of visiting the site and requesting contact.

Take this winter to explore the Field Guide Network! Contact Chris Wilterdink <> if you need help to take the first step!

Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.