I want to ask you a question and I don’t just want you to read it and move one. I want you to actually take a moment to think about it and then write it down.
On a scale of 1-10 how passionate are you about what you are currently doing in ministry?
My guess is that most people in ministry want to be described as passionate. Yet often we find ourselves lacking the passion we desire. Why is that? How do we gain and maintain passion in our lives? I believe that living a life marked by passion is a direct result of two factors Purpose and Perspective.
An example of this in my life is my passion for fitness. I was never more passionate about fitness than when I was in college. As I reflect on this I see now that it’s because these two factors were most powerfully present in my life during this time. As a college basketball player I had certain goals and expectations of myself on the court. I knew that without a dedication to working out I would never be able to achieve these goals. My college basketball career provided me with the purpose and perspective I needed. When I didn’t feel like working out I had a perspective that helped me see past my feelings. When I hit plateaus and faced challenges in my workout routines I had a deeper purpose that kept me from giving up. Every time I hit the weight room there was something deeper behind every rep and every set. On the flip side, since my basketball career has ended, I have struggled to maintain the same passion for working out that I once had because I lack this source of purpose and perspective.
I believe this same struggle to maintain passion happens to so many of us as we pursue the work of ministry. We unwittingly let go of what provided us with our original purpose and perspective. We got into ministry because we loved other people so much we longed to spend our lives serving, guiding, helping, and ministering to them. Doing ministry, though taxing and challenging at times, was still exhilarating because every time we showed up we had a deeper sense of purpose and perspective. But the gravitational pull in all our lives is toward tasks and away from people. Our focus begins to be the work and not the ONE we are working for. As this happens our passion slowly dwindles. Recently when it comes to my own passion this verse has been transformative:
Romans 12:9 NLT- Don’t just pretend to love others, really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
When we find ourselves lacking passion- we turn into pretenders. Instead of really caring and loving we pretend to care and love as we go through the motions. What do we do when we find ourselves in this place? Here’s my advice: STOP DOING MINISTRY. Seriously. Stop it. And start BEING a minister again. Start really loving people. Cling to the good purpose and perspective that got you into ministry in the first place. Fight the pull to put programs and performance over people. Pray for the people you serve with. Sit and talk with the people you look after.
Jesus was the master of this. His most memorable ministry moments happened while he was on his way to do something else. He never lost sight of the deeper purpose and perspective. No matter where He was headed or what He was on his way to do over and over again Jesus Stopped DOING ministry and made time to BE a minister to the people who so desperately needed him. Oh yeah- and he routinely made a habit of pressing pause and getting alone with God. So let’s all just be more like Jesus and STOP DOING MINISTRY.