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In yesterday’s post, I talked about the need for passionate people over great ideas.  However, what I left unsaid was the need for something great to drive that passion.  History is full of very passionate people who pursued absolutely terrible ideas.  These led to everything from economic collapse to genocide to world wars and even to the death of our savior and many of his followers.  Admittedly, these people had plenty of passion but put it behind a terrible idea.

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

While passion is one of the key elements of any successful ministry, it must be directed.  In the church, the cause is easy to find but so easily gets missed.  I’ve seen churches absolutely passionate about their strategy (i.e. the Think Orange).  They develop programs, staffing, manuals, even church buildings around the idea.  But they become so caught up in the strategy or idea, they fail to miss the point.  Being an Orange church becomes the end goal, not Jesus and His Gospel

The same thing happens in “seeker friendly” churches.  They become so concerned about being accepting and welcoming to all people, they make that the end goal, not Jesus and His Gospel

The same thing happens in “contemporary” churches.  They become so concerned about being hip, they make that the end goal, not Jesus and His Gospel

The same thing can be said about any style of ministry that any church has adopted.  People become so passionate about a leader, an idea, a strategy, a curriculum, or a style that they lose sight of the main cause for it all, Jesus and His Gospel.

I believe leaders need to be passionate, need to surround themselves with passionate individuals, and need to cultivate passion in their people, but that passion needs to always be focused on Jesus and His Gospel.  Nothing else matters.

By nature, I’m a pretty passionate person.  But there have been many, many times in my life and ministry that my passion has been misguided.  I’ve been passionate about raising a well-behaved child…so that I look like a great parent.  I’ve been passionate about growing my children’s ministry…so that I can be happy with what I’ve accomplished.  I’ve been passionate about having good worship music…because I enjoy good worship music.  I’ve failed time and time again.  And I’ve gotten up, refocused, and my passion has been renewed for the one thing that really matters, Jesus and His Gospel.

How do you keep your passion directed at the right thing?