Could Your Growing Ministry be Responsible for Your Shrinking Passion?

What do you do when your pastoring passion is shrinking?

It happens to us all, so we better have some answers.

Unfortunately, too many of our answers involve walking away from ministry, from our current churches, and from even our families, friends, and ourself.

A loss of passion can happen for many, many reasons. I’d like for us to consider one of the most common and equally hidden reasons of them all. I stumbled upon this truth a year or two ago. I was in a funk. I was partially questioning my role, my responsibilities, and even ministry as a profession. I was considering reentering the marketplace. As I began contemplating how I arrived in the funk, I realized over time our church (and everything around it) had grown somewhat substantially. Initially, this realization didn’t connect any dots. But, it did begin to launch a discovery process.

To go back in time a bit… In the beginning years, we would have staff meeting in my car on the way to lunch. We were a much smaller church with way fewer resources. The entire staff served as the president and the janitor. We were all needed for basically every element of ministry that happened in and through our church. As we grew, we added staff. We added complexity. We added complications. We added a building. Throughout the change, our roles and responsibilities also changed. As the Lead Pastor, I continued to function as the president, but the janitorial elements I often did in the past faded away. We had other staff to handle some of the things I used to do.

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How Can We Lead From Here to a Preferred There?

Maybe it’s just me, but few things frustrate me more than knowing what could be against what is; yet not making progress.

But I’m guessing that’s not just me – it’s probably every leader reading this post. Most leaders I know have some version of a preferred future in mind with a desire to lead people there over time. In some ways that’s why we are leaders! Leadership is about influence, and in most cases, influence towards something specific. A vision. A destination… A preferred future.

And again, for me, the more untapped the potential, the more frustrated I get when the progress is slow or nonexistent.

Here’s my current example: As a pastor in a large church, one of our greatest untapped potentials is in generosity. In conservative estimations, if every family who attends our church systematically gave ONLY 5% of their household income to the church (that’s half of what we would consider a tithe), our annual revenue stream would increase 400%. And that’s VERY conservative. It could increase 6, 7 or maybe 10 times! In my case, that is millions of dollars – with a capital “M.” And we would not need to spend more money inside our church – we would be in a position to do unprecedented good outside our church!  Continue reading…