I am grateful for the opportunity you are giving me as you read this article. In exchange for your effort, I hope to give back something that you already have, especially if you are in the ministry. In short, I desire to kindle afresh the gift that is in you. It is not that I presume your passion has dwindled or youíre losing interest. But I believe our passion is quenched when we are pressed against our responsibilities.
Ferdinand Foch, commander and chief of the allied armies in France during WWI said, "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." We all entered the ministry because of passion for the Kingdom of God and our belief, that in some small way, we might be able to affect the world for Godís sake. We experienced the natural progression of the Kingdom of God in our own lives according to Matthew 13:31-33: Jesus describes the Kingdomís infiltrating and consuming properties in a fertile heart which ultimately culminates in a changing of values. In this process, we enriched the fertility of our heart by dreaming about what our future, meditating on scripture which became the cornerstones of our ministry, praying for opportunity and faithfulness and learning from others that have gone before us. Our ministries were surely planted in a seedbed destined for success. Before you read on, reflect on the dreams you had as you entered the ministry and write them down.
Now that we have been in the ministry, we notice the pressures of leadership take a certain and perhaps unexpected toll. For some, it is the sometimes unhealthy demands of people in our ministry. For others, it is balancing time commitment of ministry with family and jobs. Still others struggle to learn how their ministry fits within the broader contexts of their congregation. These and many other concerns and pressures have a way of quenching passion. What pressures are quench your ministry passion? Reflect again and see if you can write down a few. When you were considering the ministry, did you consider these issues or are they a new revelation? For most, these passion quenchers are not new but you might have underestimated their influence.
Randal Ross, Pastor of First Assembly of God of Winston-Salem, North Carolina (http://www.rev-magazine.com/archived/1999/0799/fire.html) says passion comes from daily focusing on God, genuine passion comes from discipline, and passion comes from meditation and in fellowship. What daily focuses, disciplines, meditations and fellowship ignite your passion? Look at your first reflection Ė there is your key for birthing ministry passion. Fan to flame the focus on God and His incredible call to serve for the sake of the Kingdom regardless of your limitations. Once again commit to the spiritual disciplines that birthed and shaped your vision for your ministry. Meditate again on the scriptures in light of your ministry, especially how they empower and define your ministry. Allow yourself to dream again. Lastly, find the fellowship of others who support your ministry and vision. This fellowship will probably need to be outside the sphere of your leadership in order to be effective. Some might think their call to ministry is was a naÔve step in light of the troubles around them. But recommitting to the process that led to your step (of faith) into the ministry is exactly what Israel did in their worship; they recalled the processes and steps God took to make them His people. It does the soul good to reflect and worship with regard to what God did when He called you to ministry.
Finally, consider your accomplishments and thank God for those unique opportunities. Remember Godís gifts and callings are irrevocable and without repentance. Remember, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9, Is 64:4). While there might be obstacles, but youíve formed a ministry partnership with the All Mighty who is at work in you to accomplish His purposes. May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. AmenĒ (Heb 13:20-22).