I’ve been a pastor for 28 years. I’ve been at the same church for all those years. I’ve been in ministry (including youth ministry and music ministry) for 31 years.
I love it. After 30 years, we are in the most exciting time in our ministry, and I’m convinced the best years are ahead of me.
The more I help young pastors and leaders in their ministry plans, I often hear questions like this:
“How do you keep going?”
“How do you keep your passion for ministry fresh?”
Hear are some thoughts that have helped me stay fresh in my heart and in my faith.
1. Don’t Live or Die with Every Pitch
In a baseball game, every single pitch to the batter doesn’t really matter—what matters is whether the batter gets an out or gets a hit. Someone gets on base in every game. Every batter doesn’t really matter—what really matters is how many runs are scored and who wins the game.
I used to put so much pressure on every Sunday, every sermon, and every decision. I would live and die with each outcome. That’s exhausting.
The reality is not every Sunday is epic. Not every sermon I’ve preached was not a home run. Some ideas we have tried have been duds! Oh well.
When you are passionate about what you do and you care a lot about people, it’s hard to know how to let things go.
Many pastors and leaders have “toxic intensity.” Highly competitive, a drive to excel, and passion for results can be good but can also be destructive. These often lead to burnout.
Learn to let it go. One preacher said that after each sermon, he let it go “like a child releases a helium balloon into the air.” Do your best, and then leave the rest to God.
…neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6-8 NIV 84