The article is a part of the Pain Points series.
If you’ve been doing ministry for any significant amount of time, no doubt at one time or another you’ve felt a lack of joy or a lack of passion for ministry. You may not even know why it is gone, but you realize one thing: the excitement you had when you were first starting out is gone.
According to the experts, common causes for a loss of joy or passion in ministry include, but are not limited to, unrealistic expectations, unresolved conflict, attacks on your family, fear of failure, and a lack of intimacy with God.
But how do you recapture the joy and passion you once had? Is it even possible?
I want to share with you some action steps that have been helpful to me in my own life in recapturing that joy and passion.
Remember Your Calling
When you feel you’ve lost joy or passion in ministry, remember your calling! Remember, you didn’t orchestrate this; God did. He is the one who called you and led you to this vocation. Feelings are fickle, and you cannot depend on them, but God is trustworthy. If God has called you, He will sustain you by His grace as you rely on Him.When you feel you’ve lost joy or passion in ministry, remember your calling! Remember, you didn’t orchestrate this; God did. Click To Tweet
Renew Soul and Body
Sometimes when I’ve lost my zeal for ministry that I once had, it’s because I’ve become weary. Because ministry is demanding, it can be stressful and taxing to our souls and bodies. At this point, we must care for ourselves both emotionally and physically. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is to rest!
For several years I had the privilege of doing collegiate ministry in Louisiana. When my students were feeling “down in the dumps” as one told me, I would often ask them these three questions:
- Have you been getting enough sleep at night?
- Are you eating right?
- Do you get enough exercise?
Usually, when students were failing to take care of themselves, they experienced these feelings. The truth is we are earthen vessels and have “feet of clay.” We must seek to take care of ourselves both emotionally and physically.
Return To Your First Love
The Lord Jesus told the church at Ephesus, “Nevertheless, I have this against you; you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)
Perhaps you’ve lost joy and passion for ministry because you’ve neglected your relationship with Jesus. Maybe there is unconfessed sin in your life. Or perhaps you are depending on self-effort (the flesh) and are not dependent on Him to work in and through you (the Spirit). Remember, we can’t count our busyness in carrying out ministry as our personal time with the Lord.
Let me remind you of two things:
- Repent often: Confess and forsake all known sin. Proverbs 28:13 says, The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
- Return: Come back to a newfound dependence on Jesus. Jesus is our source of joy and passion for ministry! He says in John 15:4-5, 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit because you can do nothing without me.
See God as the one who gives every life-giving resource you need to accomplish what He has called you to do! As the great missionary, Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done God’s way never lacks God’s supply.”