A passionless pastor cannot lead people towards a better future. A passionless pastor will not move people with his preaching. A passionless pastor is unable to motivate people to reach their community, nation, and world for Jesus Christ.
Quite honestly, the phrase “passionless pastor” is an oxymoron to me. The phrase is incongruent and contradictory. How in the world can a God-called pastor lack passion in his life?
Our Lord had passion. He was driven with an intense desire to redeem people from their sins. Even the last week of His life is referred to as “Passion Week.” Those final days were filled with joyous passion as the people threw their palm branches and blankets before Him as He rode down the Palm Sunday pathway. The people were filled with tears as He prayed over the city of Jerusalem. These days were even comprised of immense and intense emotion as He became so disturbed by the marketing and commerce that occurred in the Temple.
From the humility He showed by washing the feet of His followers, to His last supper with them, to falling on His knees in prayer in Gethsemane, to His betrayal by one of His followers, to the injustice of His trials, to the denial by one of His beloved true disciples, to the loneliness of His last hours, to the ruthless scourging moments before His walk to the cross, to the nails driven into His hands and feet, to His desire to win the thief on the cross, to becoming the sin of the entire world, to His separation from His Father, and to His final breath, our Lord Jesus exuded passion. He could not have accomplished His life purpose without passion. Neither can you.
I am amazed at the lack of passion
Sometimes when I listen to a pastor of a ministry or a church stand before a group and try to move them towards a worthy goal, I am amazed at their lack of passion. I often think to myself, “Do they really think people will be moved by their life and words — which appear to be so passionless?” A major part of leadership is rallying people toward a better future. The role of a spiritual leader is to rally people toward fulfilling what they believe is God’s will for their life and church. Pastor, whether you lead a student group of 25 people, a worship service of 100 people, a Bible Study for 10 people that want to help you plant a church in your city, or teach before a classroom of students, or preach before thousands, you will not move or keep one person without passion.
Pastors Should Be Most Passionate About
1: Their personal walk with Jesus Christ
Since Christ saved you by His grace from your sin, He desires greatly for you to now grow in His grace. This cannot be done without a devotional life built rock-solid upon pouring the Word of God in your life daily. This will not be done without prayer becoming one of your major priorities in your life and ministry. A pastor who is passionless is usually a pastor who is not having an intimate, consistent, devoted time with God daily. I have found in my life and leadership, that the greater my devotional life is, the more intensely passionate my leadership becomes.
2: Their calling to the ministry of the Gospel
Most pastors have lost the thrill of their calling into the ministry of the Gospel. We can blame our circumstances or the churches we have served through the years for dampening our passion, but if we have lost some of our passion, it is ultimately on us. Our passion should not come from the praise of men, but from the God of Heaven who chose us to give our life to the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have forgotten the humility of asking, “Why me, Lord?” and exchanged it with the pride of declaring, “I deserve more.”
When a pastor is more passionate about his golf game than he is about God Himself, he needs to resign. When a pastor is more passionate about his favorite sports team than he is about the message he is going to preach on Sunday, then he needs to resign. When a pastor is more passionate about the numbers in his retirement account than he is about the number of people his church is reaching and discipling for Christ, then he needs to resign. When a pastor is more moved by planning something for himself than he is about planning for his church, then he needs to resign. A pastor without passion cannot and will not lead the church effectively.
3: Their opportunity to see lives changed
Just think about this pastor, you have the privilege to give everyday of your life to seeing the lives of people changed. One can touch a life by selling them some kind of apparel to wear. One can affect a person’s day by giving them food to eat. Another can alter a person’s future by teaching them about economics. But pastor, you can see a life changed today and forever when you lead someone into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Realize that God has let you give every waking hour of your life to leading a ministry or an entire church towards the common goal of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every person in the world and to making disciples of all the nations.
If this does not fire you up, light your jets, and help you get up each morning with a greater passion, then it is time to rethink your life, reignite your walk, and renew your calling. Get away one day. Draw aside to Jesus. Confess where you are. Open God’s Word. Lay before Him. Open your spiritual ears. Plead for a Word. Journal your thoughts. Act on His Word. Return with a resolve. Share with others what God has said. And please do not forget pastor friend . . .
Live And Lead With Passion,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Great joy belongs to those children of God who recognize His grace in their growth. Rather than God being dependent on our best efforts to grow closer to Him, His grace empowers and sustains our spiritual growth.
Consider the following verses:
“Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness” (John 1:16).
“After the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and persuading them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43).
“From there they sailed back to Antioch where they had been entrusted to the grace of God for the work they had completed” (Acts 14:26).
“Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).
“But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7).
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).
“You, therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).
“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
Growth because of His grace
Why such an emphasis on grace? Perhaps because God knows we cannot grow spiritually on our own.
Spiritual growth begins with salvation given to us as a gift from God. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah recognized long ago, “Salvation is of the Lord.” It is God who saved us in the past (justified), God who continues to save us in the present (sanctifies) and God who will bring the ultimate state of our salvation in the future (glorification). All of this is through and because of His grace. Our daily spiritual growth is also utterly dependent on this grace of God. How should we respond to this?
Responding to growth through grace
First, we should recognize and admit this wonderful truth; that we are dependent daily on the grace of God. As long as we rely on our own striving to keep a positive mental attitude, work hard and do all we can do, we will miss the grace of God. This is not to say there is no effort on our part; there is. But the foundation of our effort is God’s grace and power. This is not something we work to receive on our own.
Second, receive God’s grace moment by moment. What does God require of us? Trust in His grace to be enough for every need. He promises “varied grace” for the varied problems of our lives.
Third, praise God that His grace is enough. Imagine if our spiritual growth depended on us. We wake in the morning in a bad mood, skip any time in the Word, get angry during our morning commute, mouth-off at co-workers, and ignore needs around us. How shall we overcome without God’s grace? We cannot. We can praise Him that His grace is enough!
I’m thankful God, in His grace, has given us His Son to save us, His Spirit to dwell within us, His Word to instruct us, and His people to encourage us. Praise God for His grace from beginning to end.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas General Editor, Bible Studies for Life