A long time ago, there was a wicked little statement going around some churches that indicated that it was to the benefit of the church members to keep their pastor poor. Sometimes used as a joke, there were cases where no one was laughing.
I absolutely believe that purposefully keeping anyone in poverty is evil – but that is not the focus of this article.
Preachers need to stay hungry. By “hungry” I mean having a strong desire or craving. If I do without a meal or two, I feel it. My empty stomach complains and I start focusing on my next meal. As in any line of work it is easy to become complacent in ministry. Pastors can become apathetic toward their calling. This isn’t because they are lazy or otherwise unfit for the ministry. We simply get weary. And sometimes disappointment can lead to stagnation. When we don’t see progress like we envisioned, it is easy to allow discouragement to cloud our passion. This discouragement morphs into impassivity.
Preachers – stay hungry! We can’t do what God called us to do if we are bored with our calling.
We stay passionate when we:
- Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t get sidetracked with peripheral stuff. Know what God called you to do and do it.
- Stay in close relationship with colleagues. Isolation is dangerous and lone wolves get outnumbered.
- Practice the spiritual disciplines. Pray. Read Scripture (outside of ministry preparation), fast and give.
- Read. If you don’t have time to read current books and articles on ministry, you may dry up.
- Access resources: conferences, podcasts and live video feeds can be a great source of inspiration.
- Take time off. Sabbath is not a suggestion – it is a Command.
- Regularly renew your experience with the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that keeps us passionate for the work we do. Stay in His presence.
- When you feel yourself growing cold – pursue God. We don’t stay hungry for ministry by pursuing ministry. We must pursue God!
- Know that regardless of how talented you are or how hard you work, you simply cannot be effective in ministry with the power of God at work in you. This keeps us hungry for Him!
Here is the main point I am making: it’s normal to lose your hunger! It happens to everyone. You can’t do ministry very long without struggling to stay passionate. But we don’t have to stay in that rut. It is not a crime to lose your drive but lasting indifference is preventable.
There are a lot of really good pastors who stop producing – because their fire has dimmed. Don’t let it happen to you; and if it has already happened, stoke the fires of passion again!
Preachers – stay hungry!