Why Your Passion for Ministry Isn't Enough

Countless children have dreamed of growing up and becoming famous football players. (Pixabay)

We begin our lives with big vision, don't we?

Think about your answer to the most common question when you were a kid: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When you're 6 years old, you don't consider the cost of tuition, the extra years of graduate school or how difficult it is to make the NFL draft.

You are going to be an astronaut. You're going to be a firefighter. You will be the next quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and lead your team to yet another Super Bowl Championship. There's no doubt or debate. Consider it done.

For those of us in ministry, it's a similar start. The world is ours for the taking. Nothing is impossible.

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Expectations are high. We have dreams. We have prophetic words. We have youth camp encounters. We carry all of this into our first ministry position. And we're pumped for God's promise to come to pass.

Until we get started, and it's not what we thought it was:

  • Your pastor doesn't like that song.
  • People wonder why you can't sing more hymns.
  • No one comes to your events.
  • You (or your spouse) have to work a second job to pay the bills.
  • The congregation doesn't respond in worship.
  • Bad attitudes fester among your team.
  • Attendance is going down.
  • Student loan payments begin.
  • No one appreciates how talented you are.

I started ministry with a passion to be used by God to do great things for Him. Of course, the emphasis was on big things. But my idea of big was different than Gods.

There's a problem when ministry is your passion over and above Jesus.

A singular focus on the Son of God—His heart, His beauty, His values—leads to a life of ministry. Why? Because you want to be like Jesus wherever you are and bring His kingdom wherever you go.

Do You Love Ministry More Than Jesus?

A passion for ministry can often lead to a longing for more and more influence, bigger and bigger crowds, and more attention for your talent.

God never called us to ministry or called us to love ministry. We are called to love Him:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

Ministry begins with ministering to His heart, above all.

Sometimes, this singular attention and focus on the Lord leads us to massive influence—a large following and massive crowds. But most of the time, it's a monotonous, normal habit of small actions. But this is ministry. And we love it because we love Jesus.

The more we keep our eyes on Jesus, the more we live like Jesus did—and most of the time it was the little, everyday things.

Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount to a large crowd on a mountainside but had time to give the woman with the issue of blood some singular attention.

Jesus fed the 5,000 but also took hours out of his day to travel and raised Jairus' daughter from the dead.

Jesus could preach like no one else in history but always withdrew to invest in his 12 closest friends, even after they betrayed Him.

A love for Jesus leads us to be faithful with the small miracles in front of us. The ones without applause, compliments, recognition or global fame.

The Challenge

So here's my challenge: open your eyes. See who is right in front of you. Choose to love where you are and what you get to do. Pour yourself out in the place God has you.

Maybe the big things God has planned for your life are discovered by cleaning the toilets after the youth retreat, singing hymns for the widows and running errands for the pastor you don't really like.

Open your heart. Open your hands. Open your life to what God has in front of you.

And most importantly, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Without a singular attention on His heart, everything loses focus.

Let's do some big things today, shall we? 

David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This article originally appeared at davidsantistevan.com.

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