What Happened to Passion?

When I look for volunteers or leaders in the church, one of the most important qualities I look for is passion. I want them to be excited and enthusiastic about Jesus, His church, and using their gifts to reach those who don’t know God. Although, lately it seems that these people are getting harder and harder to find, and I think I may know why. Passion literally means to suffer, and no one likes to suffer, including myself.

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Rusty Rustenbach, a name that it looks like I made up, said it this way,

“You and I live in an age when only a rare minority of individuals desire to spend their lives in pursuit of objectives which are bigger than they are. In our age, for most people, when they die it will be as though they never lived.” – Giving Yourself Away

I was talking to a young gentleman the other day that has a bright future ahead of him. I asked him how he was spending his free time, his response, “I’m really into leisure time.”

Aren’t we all? Given the choice between suffering and leisure, I believe we all would pick leisure.

Yet, nothing great has ever been accomplished through leisure. It only comes through suffering.

Great musicians suffer through hours of daily practice because of their passion for music. The calluses on a worship leader’s hands can testify to this.

Michael Phelps didn’t become the most decorated Olympian ever without suffering. During the peak of his training, he trained six hours a day, six days a week, and ate a whopping 12,000 calories a day.

God always seems to have a special way to use suffering in people’s lives.

Noah spent 120 years building a boat.

Abraham was told he would be a father of a great nation and spent 25 years waiting for a son.

Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, then betrayed and forgotten in a dungeon.

David was anointed king, yet spent years running from Saul.

Daniel was thrown into a den of lions.

Jesus was crucified.

Each suffered greatly, and each experienced greatness.

You can’t have one without the other.

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your passion level? How do you keep the passion alive? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on leadership, church growth, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Change and Church Health

Have you ever noticed that no one cooks as good as your mom? You may not want to admit it in front of your wife, but there’s just something special about mom’s cooking. Especially if you grew up in the south and had the pleasure of experiencing beans and cornbread.

Health

Unfortunately, over the past few years my mom’s cooking isn’t as good as it used to be. We still have beans and cornbread and all the stuff that comes with it, but the flavor isn’t what it once was. Something’s changed.

My parents are getting older, and my dad’s health isn’t what it once was. In the past few years he’s been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, and has had to have multiple stints put in to open up arteries in his heart.

In order to live a long life, his diet had to change.

This means sweet tea is now made with Splenda, potatoes are baked instead of fried, and a lot less salt and fat in the pinto beans.

It certainly doesn’t taste as good to me or him, but we both realize it’s either change or face a shortened lifespan.

Many churches are facing the same choice, change or face the consequences.

But change isn’t easy for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. Tradition

First, let me say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with tradition. None of us would be were we are today without the great Christian men and women who have gone before us in ministry. The issue arises when we are so in love with the past that we’re not willing to make the changes necessary to reach people today.

  1. Risk

Every change involves risk. The bigger the change, the bigger the risk. The smaller the church, the bigger the risk. It may be that the change that needs to be made may be the very thing that used to bring people to the church. Many pastors are able to see what needs to change, but they’re not willing to risk losing key members of the church in the process.

  1. Uncertainty

Some people fear the dark because they can’t see what’s in front of them. Change has the same effect on people. When you’ve been doing ministry a certain way for a long time, it’s hard to imagine how you would do it any other way. For example, the cake walk may not be the best way to raise money anymore, but at least you know how to put one on.

Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have, and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up. 

James Belasco and Ralph Stayer

My dad understands that if he wants to be around to see his grandchildren grow up, then his diet had to change. For many people in the church, we need to come to that same realization.

If you want the church to be around for the generations coming along after you, you have to be willing to change. It may not taste as good as the beans and cornbread you ate when you were growing up, but it will increase the life expectancy of your church.

Do you have a success story about change in your church? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on leadership, church growth, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Landmark Leadership Conference

I wanted to do something a little different on the blog today and let you know about an incredible church conference I get to be a small part of. The Landmark Leadership Conference is a gathering designed for church leaders and planters desiring to learn and be inspired by others.  The format includes times of worship, national keynote speakers, and live Q & A.

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If you’re a church pastor or leader, here are a few reasons you should plan on being there.

  • It’s a great opportunity to network with other pastors and leaders.
  • It’s not being put on by a megachurch, which means we can relate to where you are.
  • It takes place at a portable facility, which means you can see what doing portable church in a school looks like.
  • It’s an incredible value at just $30 a ticket.
  • It includes a free lunch from Chick-fil-A.
  • It has a great speaker line-up including: Brandon Petty, Trevor Barton, Justin Davis, and Shawn Lovejoy.

The event takes place on September 17th in the big city of Portland, Tennessee about 45 minutes north of Nashville. To get your tickets, please visit LandmarkLeader.com.

If you have any questions about the conference, please leave a comment and let me know, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on leadership, church growth, and more delivered to your inbox each week.