But are you passionate about it?

Full CalenderWe’ve been doing a study by Chip Ingram in our Sunday School class and a recent point has really stuck with me. He talked about how churches shouldn’t start new ministries unless they have a passionate leader with a team that’s committed to seeing it to fruition.

Which got me to thinking about my church involvement and how much of it is because I have a passion and some of it is because I, well, feel guilty.

I LOVE sparking conversation in my adult Sunday School class. I get excited when the topic is polarizing. I get excited when the conversation gets interesting. And I feel the same way about Ladies Bible Study. Those are two ministries I really am passionate about. I also enjoy our Women of the Church group. It’s possible some of my passion is related to the amazing food we have at those meetings, but still–I really care.

Then there’s children’s church. This is my every other month or so duty. And it, well, feels like a duty. Don’t get me wrong, I love those kids. But somehow I’m not passionate about leading them in a mini-me version of church. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid I was expected to sit through grown-up church.

But I take the materials and I throw something together and hope it has an impact. Now, who am I serving when I do that? If it’s the kids, it’s only by God’s grace. Still, I think, I need to do it.

But try this on for size. What if I quit leading children’s church and put that time and energy into Sunday School or Bible study or Women of the Church. What if I trimmed away the fat and injected some more flavor into the things I get excited about. Now who am I serving?

Hmmm. How many of us are over-scheduled? Stretched too far? Making do with “good enough?” I’m thinking it’s time to rethink this ministry business. Where am I most effective? Where are you? Maybe that’s were God intends to use us. Maybe that’s where we should be.

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

6 thoughts on “But are you passionate about it?

  1. Thoughtful post. I have often grappled with this question myself. I serve my church a lot, but always within my comfort zone: singing in the volunteer choir, working on the hospitality team, organizing and running the book table at the annual Christmas Bazaar, and using my writing & editorial skills (recording and writing up the minutes of important meetings, editing the church newsletter). But I reproach myself that none of this is sufficiently hands-on. Shouldn’t I volunteer to teach Sunday School? Go on Midnight Runs to NYC to serve the homeless on the streets? Go on Mission trips to sleep on a cot with a gang of my fellow workers and during the day hauling storm-ruined debris, painting and putting up Sheetrock? I have done some of these things and found them a strain. But should service always be a comfort and a joy? Or should we stretch ourselves because that’s the only way we can grow?

    1. I’ve pondered this, too. What I’ve concluded is that while I should stretch myself once in a while–try something new, get outside the box, etc.–God has designed me for something specific. And it’s probably the thing that I’m good at and that brings me joy. That doesn’t mean my gifting will always be fun or easy, but it will be something I can get behind with all my heart. Who do you want serving the homeless? The person who’s miserable serving but thinks they should? Or the person who’s excited to serve? I say, try the thing that scares you and if you stink at it, don’t force it. The person who’s awesome at hauling storm debris probably shudders at the thought of taking meeting minutes.

  2. Sarah, what a great post. It’s so easy to do things because we “should” or because there’s a “need.” Being the mother of fairly young boys, I have not been involved in any aspect of children’s ministry in years. I feel like I minister to two kids 24/7. Maybe I should be more involved there, but it would totally be out of obligation. Not necessarily a good motivator. 🙂

    Last year, my husband and I were VERY busy in ministry. It was all good. And it, because we overcommitted, wore us out. After praying over the summer, we decided to step back for a year and just rest, seek the Lord, and see where he led us. I miss being a part of Women’s Bible study, and being part of our morning worship team on Tuesday mornings, but for a season, stepping out has given me an opportunity to see what living a slower, more flexible life feels like. And honestly? It feels good. I’m still involved in one aspect of women’s ministry, and that’s it for now. God is giving me opportunities to minister on a one-on-one basis through prayer and encouragement.

    I know I’m getting long here. Sorry. 🙂 One thing you shared that especially resonated with me is taking the time I use in certain areas of ministry/activity that feels more obligatory and turning it toward those areas God has given me a passion for. Great words.

  3. Great post, Sarah. Some very good points about assessing one’s commitment.

    We don’t go to church, because of my PTSD; I don’t do well in crowds. Last time we went a neighbor tapped me on the shoulder, and almost got flattened. Barbara and I decided, then and there, that our ‘attending’TV church is safer for everyone.

    That said, I have two ministries. One is through my writing and blog. It’s challenging, to the point of being overwhelming sometimes. I;m sure you can relate!

    The other is to abandoned pets. I figure that The Man knows about every dying sparrow, so He’s got to have a heart for dogs who find themselves dumped by a roadside. We take them in and try to give them a happy life, whenever we can. It’s exhausting; people think I’m a ‘crazy dog guy’, but I’d love for these guys to have good, loving homes. But the homes don’t exist in the numbers needed.

    I can’t save them all, but it means the world – I think – to each one we save. And, I hope, to God.

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