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Passion is what energizes life. It turns the impossible into possible. In fact, if you donâ€™t have any passion in your life, ministry will become boring, dull, routine, monotonous.
Iâ€™ll go so far as say if you donâ€™t have passion in your life, you are not livingâ€”you are merely existing. God made you to live a passionate life and to serve Him and His people with vitality, with vibrancy, with energy, with enthusiasm. He wants you to have this in your life.
In John 10, Jesus said, â€śMy purpose is to give life in all its fullness.â€ť God wants you to live a full life, a fulfilling life, which is the basis for a fulfilling ministry. If itâ€™s true thatâ€™s the kind of life God meant for us to live, life is meant to be enjoyed, not merely endured. Sadly, however, countless thousands of pastors and ministry leaders are simply enduring, holding on for the ride and hoping to survive until death without blowing it too badly.
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:9, â€śGod, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget thatâ€ť (MSG). Godâ€™s will for you is to live and lead in a spiritual adventure. The life that God plans for you is not a mundane boring life. It is an adventurous life. Helen Keller once said, â€śLife is either a daring adventure or itâ€™s nothing.â€ť I often think the same should be true of our ministryâ€”itâ€™s a daring, bold adventure, or itâ€™s nothing.
I want to share with you a few ways to re-ignite your passion for life and ministry.
1. Rediscover and redefine your purpose. Passion and purpose go together. The more purpose-driven you are, the more you know your purpose for both living and leading, the more passionate you become because purpose creates passion.
Brent Hobbs defines passion this way: "Passion is waking up in the morning wherever you are and bounding out of bed because you know thereâ€™s something out there that you love to do, that you believe in and that youâ€™re good at. Something thatâ€™s bigger than you are and you can hardly wait to get at it again. Itâ€™s something youâ€™d rather be doing than anything else. You wouldnâ€™t give it up for money because it means more to you than money."
And Charles Spurgeon said it this way: â€śI no more believe it possible to stop ministers, than to stop the stars of heaven. I think it no more possible to make a man cease from preaching, if he is really called, than to stop some mighty cataract, by seeking, with an infantâ€™s cup, to drink its waters. The man has been moved of heaven, who shall stop him? He has been touched of God, who shall impede him? With an eagleâ€™s wing he must fly; who shall chain him to the earth? With seraphâ€™s voice he must speak, who shall stop his lips? Is not his word like a fire within me?
â€śMust I not speak if God has placed it there? And when a man does speak as the Spirit gives him utterance, he will feel a holy joy akin to heaven; and when it is over he wishes to be at his work again, and longs to be once more preaching. I do not think young men are called of God to any great work who preach once a week, and think they have done their duty. I think if God has called a man, he will impel him to be more or less constantly at it, and he will feel that he must preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ.â€ť
Why are you living? Why are you leading? Answering those questions will drive you forward with renewed passion.
2. Realign your schedule. If youâ€™re overworked, youâ€™re going to lose your passion. We all need a balance between rest and work, between input and output. The Bible tells us that there is a rhythm to life; there is time and purpose for everything, a time to work and a time to rest; a time to strive, a time to have fun. If you have no fun in your life, youâ€™re going to burn out. If you have no rest in your life, youâ€™re going to burn out. If you have nothing but constant work from morning till night and youâ€™re a workaholic, youâ€™re going to lose your passion very, very quickly.
Pastors and ministry leaders are always giving out. Youâ€™re always serving, youâ€™re always sharing, youâ€™re always caring, youâ€™re always giving, youâ€™re always thinking of others, youâ€™re always caregiving, and you never take time to recharge. Thatâ€™s a bad thing. You need fun time in your life. You need rest in your life in order to keep your passion maintained.
3. Nourish your soul. So many pastors I know are great at preparing and delivering sermons, but theyâ€™ve become so busy or distracted or discouraged that theyâ€™ve fallen away from the routine of spending time alone with God and His Word to feed and nourish their own souls. Romans 12:11 in the Amplified Bible says, â€śNever lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.â€ť
This is so basic. Itâ€™s something we teach our people all the timeâ€”have a daily quiet time, read your Bible, pray, and sit still and listen to Godâ€™s Spirit. He loves you and wants time with you, His child. Never forget that while youâ€™re a leader, a shepherd, an overseer of Godâ€™s flock, youâ€™re still a child of God and your Father loves to hear from you and to speak to you. Youâ€™ll feed others more effectively if youâ€™re feeding your own soul first. Then you can preach and serve out of the overflow of what God is doing in your own life.
4. Share your faith. Yes, you preach or teach weekly or you write devotionals or you share the Word in some other capacity on Sunday. But your inner passion will be renewed as you personally share your faith in Jesus with others, and almost nothing reignites passion more quickly than a conversation that leads to talking about Jesus.
If you want to stay fresh, if you want to stay vital, if you want to stay alive in your life and ministry, let me give you a little habit to develop. Psalm 96:2 says, â€śEach day tell some one that He savesâ€ť (LB). Thatâ€™s it. Tell somebody about God. The happiest, most joyful people I know are always sharing the love of God with others.
Let me ask you a very important question: How long has it been since you talked with anybody about Jesus Christ outside the church walls? How long has it been since you told anybody about what God has done for you? If youâ€™re not personally sharing your faith, youâ€™re just taking in and youâ€™re not giving out. Youâ€™re going to go stagnant.
I need to remind you that the starting point to reigniting your passion is to remember what God thinks about you. Did you know that God is passionate about you? Heâ€™s just as passionate about you as His child than He is about any of the members of your flock. The Bible says in Exodus 34 that He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you. Did you know that God passionately wants a relationship with you? How do I know that? Look at Jesus on the cross. Jesus said, "Iâ€™d rather die than live without you."
So redefine your purpose, realign your schedule, nourish your soul and share your faith. Your passion will reignite, and God will use you as never before!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of Americaâ€™s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
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