I have the amazing privilege of being a Pastor. It is, by far, the best job I have ever had. Not the easiest job - on the contrary, it’s more challenging than any other position I’ve ever held. But it is so worth it.
I get to help lead a community of people that follow Jesus in our goal of bringing God’s light and life and love to our local community. And you’re not going to believe this: they pay me to do it.
I know, nuts, right? But that’s where I am.
I’m about a couple weeks away from hitting my one year anniversary in this position. It feels like I only just got here. I have a better understanding of that story in the bible where Jacob works for 7 years to earn the right to marry Rachel, but because of how much he loved her, it only felt like a few days (Genesis 29:20)
In that year, something I have learned previously in ministry has proved itself true to me again: that you can’t make people passionate about something that they are not truly passionate about.
See, my job as a minister is not to make somebody a better follower of Jesus. I could preach and teach until I am blue in the face and I’m not going to create passion in somebody. I may be able to hype them up, but hype fades.
Hype is like fireworks: showy and exciting for a moment, but fades quickly. And it doesn’t accomplish much in the long run. You can’t cook a meal with fireworks.
Passion is like a a bonfire. It has tremendous energy and can accomplish great purposes. It can also grow and shrink, depending on whether you feed it.
And as I said, I cannot create passion within people for anything, let alone for Jesus.
The only one who can create passion in people is God.
So what is my job?
My role is to facilitate the passion that God gives to people. To help those who accept that passion and want to help it grow.
My job is to help these people connect to:
- God (by way of his Holy Spirit)
- God’s purposes in their live and the world at large (by helping them connect with the local and global community)
- God’s guidance (through reading and studying the scriptures)
I and the leadership team at my church work extremely hard to cultivate what God has given people in the places where they engage their passions.
We provide ministry opportunities: volunteering with our ministry teams like hospitality, creative arts, community outreach or children’s ministry
We invest in leadership development so that they can generate positive influence in their spheres of influence.
We have a Sunday Morning celebration so that people can engage with worship and teaching.
And we have discipleship opportunities like classes and small groups.
None of these processes, programs or ministries will ‘manufacture’ followers of Jesus.
Likewise, they will not cause people to become more passionate about God.
But they will act a fire in the life of a person who has accepted God’s passion and has started to burn brightly for him.
Our job is to maximize what God is doing in the life of the individuals in our community. To cultivate the growth that the Holy Spirit causes.
And that, in my opinion, is the best - and most challenging - job in the world.