For two days we have been pondering possible problems that might instigate a drain in our passion to preach. We thought about our connection with God in the first post, and our vision for the church and its ministry in the second post.
Let’s not miss one more important possibility . . . maybe the issue is something in our life or ministry that is draining the passion. After all, we seek to connect with God and with the listeners, bridging the gap between the two. But we mustn’t miss the reality that in preaching, the preacher matters too. Maybe it isn’t something spiritually wrong, or a ministry vision issue, maybe it is something else?
Am I physically healthy? I won’t turn this blog into a physical health advice column, but I know myself . . . I am more motivated for everything when I am looking after myself physically – drinking enough water, exercising regularly, eating carefully, watching intake of supplements (a deficiency in a single vitamin or mineral could be wiping you out), avoiding filling my body with low-level poisons and junk fuel, etc. Even apart from the contradictory message that it sends to listeners when we are completely unhealthy, or the poor stewardship of living in such a way as we are likely to die years younger than necessary, I know it is worth looking after ourselves for the sake of energy and motivation levels alone.
Am I getting enough rest? It is easy in the pressure zone of ministry, not to mention family life, other work commitments, etc., to cut corners on rest in order to get more done. Truth is that we are designed to function best with sufficient rest. Burning the candle at both ends will damage our ability to think clearly, to function with energy, to stay healthy, etc. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the truth in Psalm 121 and 127 . . . our Lord never slumbers nor sleeps, but He does give to His beloved, even while we are asleep!
Am I engaged in stimulating fellowship? Two of the loneliest places I can think of are the pulpit and the church leadership position. Being involved in ministry leadership creates a certain distance and loneliness. It should not be this way. God has designed us to function best in teams, stimulating one another, sparking dreams and vision, looking out for each others’ hearts, etc. Have you fallen for the pyramid climbing view of leadership hierarchy that means you are keeping others at a distance to maintain your own position of power? It’s time to let others in and experience the unique joy and stimulation of genuine fellowship, of interdependence, of daring each other to dream and pray to a God who can do more than all we ask or even dare to dream.
Other passion sappers? I’m sure I’m missing a few . . .