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10 Ways to Keep the Passion in Your Small Group Ministry

6. Stay in the race.

Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. As I am approaching my 30th year in ministry, time and time again, I see passion as what keeps me in the race. You will always have ups and downs. First Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Make sure your small group encourages your passion for ministry, not weighs it down. Who you surround yourself with is critical to lasting the race.

7. Know true North.

Luke 10:27 says, “He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Nothing kills passion like a compass that doesn’t point to true North. Worship is centered on the Lord and those He cares for. If Luke 10:27 isn’t what you are pointed towards in your life, your passion for ministry will die!

8. Remember His final words.

Matthew 28:18-20 states, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” We have authority from God to make disciples, baptize, and teach all nations. Centering your passion with His passions and making sure your passions don’t trump His passions keeps you energized.

9. Be content.

Look at 1 Timothy 1:15-16, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Christ shows ALL grace! He knows what He is doing. To not be content shows your discontent for how you see Christ running the world, which leads to passion being killed. Do I like everything this world brings or does to me? Nope, but I trust the Lord and what He is up to. And having that attitude keeps my passion for ministry strong!

10. Always recognize God is with you.

First Thessalonians 5:16-18—“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This goes along with number nine above, but remember, to keep passion alive, it is not just being content, but realizing in the contentment, God is with you. He doesn’t leave you alone. Sometimes when ministry is in its darkest time for you, know God is there, even if you brought it on yourself. The passion may seem dormant, but staying focused on God being there will allow Him to bring it to life. How do I know? I was there. On the outside looking in, wondering if ministry would come back—which it did. The passion never left. Circumstances were goofy. But passion stayed alive!

As you reflect on these ways to keep the passion in your small group ministry, be certain to “buy” what you “sell.” Make sure you are in a group that is applying the truth of Scripture so that you stay alive and full of passion for your work in the Kingdom. 

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Steve Gladen has been on staff at Saddleback Church since 1998; he currently oversees the strategic launch and development of small groups at Saddleback as well as the staff of the Small Group Network. He has focused on small groups in several churches for almost 20 years. Steve oversees 2,500 adult small groups at Saddleback and loves seeing a big church become small through true community developed in group life. He has co-authored several books, including 250 Big Ideas for Small Groups, Building Healthy Small Groups in Your Church, Small Groups With Purpose, Leading Small Groups With Purpose, and Don't Lead Alone. Steve does consulting and seminars championing small groups and what it means to be Purpose Driven in a small-group ministry.