Whether you are on the paid staff of a church or ministry or you volunteer time to minister to others, you know how utterly draining serving others and teaching them what God wants them to know can be. Getting discouraged can become easy and if we aren’t careful, that discouragement can quickly become burn out. When you lose your passion for your ministry, you’ve also lost sight of your purpose and aren’t really very effective in how you minister to others.
So how can you regain that passion you once had for doing those good works and spreading the Gospel message? There isn’t a magic formula. Just like every person is different, the ways you can regain your passion for ministry may be slightly different from others you know. Here are some of the things many in ministry have found worked for them.
- Sabbath type rest. Most people in ministry work too long and too hard without taking Sabbath type rest. You don’t have the energy to be passionate about your ministry when you are over exhausted. Jesus rested regularly and he made his disciples rest, too. The good news is that for Christians that rest can occur on any day of the week. In fact, Sunday may be the worst day for many of you to try and rest. Remember Sabbath type rest is very different from just watching Netflix or doing chores. You can read some past posts on Sabbath type rest for more information. Remember, if you haven’t rested in years, it may take several weeks of solid rest before a day a week will make a huge difference. You have a severe deficit you need to fill now, before your body forces you to rest.
- Take a walk in nature. When I get stuck in ministry, I will often lace up my sneakers and head outdoors. Avoid listening to music. Listen to the sounds of nature. Pray as you walk. Then just listen.
- Do something creative unrelated to your ministry. Cook a new dish. Take a pottery class. The creative process can be both restorative and inspirational.
- Read the Gospels and Acts. Remind yourself of who Jesus was and is. Notice how he ministered to others. What did he say? What did he do? Remind yourself of the amazing story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Let yourself be inspired by the sermons and actions of the early Christians recorded in Acts.
- Read an inspirational biography – especially of missionaries. If well written, you may just catch their passion for ministry. Plus, if their stories were considered exciting enough for a book, chances are they’ve had more dangerous ministry challenges than you and can help you get a little perspective.
- Read Psalms, Acts and pray. God never promised us His call to ministry would be an easy one to follow. What He did promise is that He is here to listen to our struggles and to let us vent to Him in spiritually safe ways. The writers of Psalms clearly had strong emotions they weren’t afraid to share with God. Note how the various sufferers of persecution in Acts responded to their situations. Then pray your heart to God. He’s there to listen.
- Seek wise, Christian counsel. You don’t have to go to a literal counselor (although some may choose to do so), but God created Christianity to be a team sport. Find an older, wiser Christian to give you godly advice. Find you a few Barnabas type friends who will encourage you, but still hold you accountable. Ministry was never meant to be done alone – even if for most of the time you are alone with the people you are serving.
Don’t be a victim of burnout that leads to lackluster ministry or walking away from it entirely. Get your passion back. The Church and the world needs every passionate laborer it can get!