OUR MISSION AND VALUES
Our mission: By the power of God and for God’s glory, Come before Winter exists to renew, equip, honor, and unite women in ministry around the world.
Our philosophy: Provide women in ministry with a gift of time in which they can dedicate themselves exclusively to hearing the voice of God so that they may be renewed—mind, body, and soul.
- CbW pursues holistic spiritual formation through Bible study, worship, prayer, and spiritual practices that cultivate opportunities for transformational renewal.
- CbW assumes that God has been, is, and will be at work; therefore we practice faithful listening in order to respond to God’s action with innovation and creativity.
- CbW equips ourselves and others through theologically informed and intentional training.
- CbW empowers each person’s unique giftedness so that they can more fully participate in God’s purposes in the world.
- Recognizing that each person is a child of God and God is uniquely at work within them, we honor one another by choosing to love with humility.
- CbW speaks aloud blessings and affirmations to one another as a way to commission one another to continue God’s good work in the world.
- We welcome and value the uniqueness and contributions that come from multiple cultures and backgrounds, so we intentionally work to create connections among diverse people with the purpose of forming deep, spiritual friendships.
- Because of our common faith in Christ, we assume the best in others, practice grace in all our interactions, and seek a posture of curiosity without judgment.
JOCELYN WIEBE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jocelyn has been a supporter of Come before Winter since its founding. She has experienced Come before Winter renewals as both a participant and a team member, first traveling with teams in 2009. Jocelyn has previously worked in education, fundraising, and nonprofit administration for a variety of ministries and nonprofit organizations. Her diverse ministry experience includes teaching Bible classes, leading small groups, facilitating youth programs, and contributing to public worship. Jocelyn holds a BFA in Theatre and an MA in English Literature from Abilene Christian University as well as an MFA in Theatre Directing from Ohio University. She lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband, Mark, and their three young children.
SARA HOLLAND, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS
Sara grew up a “missionary kid” in Manila, Philippines. She attended Texas A&M University where she traveled on short-term mission trips with Aggies for Christ and World Wide Youth Camps. After graduation, Sara joined a missions team to Morelia, Mexico, serving six years as a missionary and church planter. Sara currently worships with Storyline Community Church in Dallas, Texas, a small church plant that continues to feed her passion for missions and community. Sara has worked for Come before Winter since 2015, starting as the women’s program manager and then transitioning to chief of operations. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the ministry, as well as directing renewals and serving on the ministry’s leadership team.
ADVISORY TEAM MEMBERS
Karen Alexander – Founder
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
As a ministry leader in the first century, Paul writes to his friend Timothy: “Do your utmost to come before winter” (NKJV, 2 Timothy 4.21). Paul is grieving the loss of fellow workers, including one who has left the work. “Only Luke is with me,” he writes. Alone and in prison, Paul craves encouragement and the presence of friends as well as certain useful items: “Bring the cloak I left in Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchment,” he urges.
Today’s Christian leaders experience winter. Though Paul spoke of the physical season of winter, we know that many Christian leaders experience “winters” of adversity, exhaustion and burnout. Overwhelmed and discouraged, some workers will leave ministry altogether, while those who remain long for a familiar face, a kindred spirit, and tools and resources to support their work.
Our goal is to bring what is lacking and to arrive before winter.
Since 2001, Come before Winter (CbW) has created opportunities for God to renew women in ministry around the world. Founded by Karen Alexander and a small group of Christian leaders, Come before Winter has served more than 2,500 Kingdom workers through renewals and online classes.
CbW hosted its first renewal in Campinas, Brazil, in July 2001. Almost two months after the Campinas renewal, the events of September 11, 2001 threatened to shut down the ministry due to the difficulties of international travel, but in early 2002 invitations to Albania and Greece, followed shortly by another to Italy, kick-started a global ministry. Since then, CbW has traveled to more than 30 countries, serving ministry leaders from a broad array of churches, mission teams, nonprofits, and NGOs.
For each renewal, CbW brings together a team of servant leaders to encourage and inspire. Participants are immersed in a regimen of study, prayer, worship, and reflection. The cost of lodging, meals, and the program are covered by generous donors. Team members walk with participants as they listen to God.
In 2003, missionaries in Russia invited Come before Winter to train a group of local leaders to host renewals in Russian. This invitation launched a four-year training program called International Development Seminars (IDS). To date, four IDS teams have completed their training and hosted renewals in their native languages of Russian (2007), Portuguese (2013), Spanish (2013), and Japanese (2018).
In 2014, Come before Winter launched a pilot program to serve men in ministry around the world. Building on the foundation of the women’s program, a team of men developed a renewal curriculum and hosted their first renewal in Thailand in 2016. Over the next three years, men’s teams hosted renewals in Austria, New Zealand, and Namibia.
The COVID-19 pandemic paused CbW’s travel and in-person renewals for two years. During that time, CbW developed and hosted two virtual renewals for women, one in the Americas and another in Central Asia. CbW also began offering online classes covering a variety of topics including biblical texts, spiritual practices, and Christian living.
Since June 2022, Come before Winter is back to its regular rhythm of hosting two in-person renewals a year for English-speaking women. To find out where the next renewals will be, click here. CbW has decided to pause the men’s program and IDS but continues to offer online classes throughout the year for women and men who serve in ministry. CbW is also open to hosting future virtual renewals for those serving in places where travel or world events make gathering in person difficult.
One cannot give what they don't have. Having my gas tank refilled, I can definitely function as an effective servant in God's ministry.
Come before Winter, Inc.
P.O. Box 203381
Austin, TX 78720
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