Archives for : Ministry Killers

How to Not Lose Heart

Heart Problems

“Yep, you can just tell their heart isn’t in it anymore!” Have you ever heard that before? It has been said about athletes, employees, hobbyists, and even spiritual leaders. What happens when a leader loses heart? They lose!

Rom 10:2 says, “I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” That verse has been used quite often with a negative connotation towards those perceived as having too much passion. The notion is that once a person understands more about the things of God then their passion will level off.

But where is that in the scripture? Why can we not increase with knowledge and understanding while our passion, zeal, and burden increases also? Our communities will be reached with the Gospel by those who are passionately in love with Jesus and who love the same people He passionately loves and died for.

What happens when you lose your spiritual passion and zeal? It drains you and eventually can cause you to walk away from God’s calling on your life. God’s call does not change but the power to accomplish that calling can and does. While there are many different ministry killers we could list, the biggest ministry killer is a heart problem.

That is why in Proverbs 4:23 we are told to, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”

Here is what might happen when you lose heart:

  • First, you may give up and quit! You begin saying things like “What’s the use?” “What difference is it making anyway?”
  • Second, you notice you are just going through the motions faking the passion you once had! The thinking here is, “I can’t let you know my passion is gone!” “I’ll fake it till it comes back!”
  • Third, you begin giving all the reasons (excuses) you calmed down. The reality is that you are not sure if you are trying to convince others or yourself. The argument here is, “Hey, I’m as faithful and committed as anybody!”
  • Fourth, you passionately begin to pursue God’s heart again so that He will return to you that passion and zeal. You invite Him into every area of your life to do a work on your heart again and again and again.

In A Work of Heart Reggie McNeal says, “All the leadership insight and expertise on the planet cannot overcome a case of spiritual heart disease or ‘heart failure’.” He also states, “…the first order of responsibility for spiritual leaders: to reflect the heart of God to the people around them.” Are you reflecting the passionate heart of God?

Here is some reality:

  • Focus on the Family reports that 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years. Many enter with a zeal and passion that wanes as time marches on. The calling was real and the excitement was apparent but the challenges and difficulties creates many casualties along the way.
  • Southern Baptist Convention says that out of every 10 who surrender to preach only 1 will retire in vocational ministry.
  • Focus on the Family reports that 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses are discouraged or are dealing with depression.

The reality is that it is easy to lose heart and lose the passion and zeal you began the journey with. What about those who stay in the ministry? Charles Stone in 5 Ministry Killers says, “Clearly, frustration in ministry is a big deal. Nagging issues drain precious energy from mission-critical tasks.” How’s your heart? On a scale of 1-10 how would you score your passion and zeal for God?

Paul challenges us in II Cor 4:16, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” There is a way to see our passion and zeal increase!  What are you willing to do to get your passion and zeal back?  Here are some ideas to begin the journey back to when you had the passion and zeal to carry our God’s calling on your life:

  • First – Admit There is a Problem! One thing about King David; whenever he failed God, he fell towards Him! He didn’t run from Him but ran towards Him confessing his failures. (Psa 51)
  • Second – Desire to Know Him More! It is all about relationship and He desires to do a work in your heart even more than you want Him to. It always has and always will be a matter of the heart. (Matt 22:37-39)
  • Third – Be Still and Know that He is God! Make sure that you have found margin in your life to focus on Him and spend time with Him. (Psa 27:4; Psa 63)
  • Fourth – Passionately Pursue Him! It is not about the schedule, the programs, the plans, nor the image you portray. It is all about Him and passionately loving Him. (Psa 42)
  • Fifth – Share your Struggles with a Friend and Be Transparent! God has always provided us companionship. We do not have to walk this journey alone but can lean on one another and help one another. (Ecc 4:9-13)

Reggie McNeal describes it this way, “All are living lives never before attempted. Each individual’s journey requires a discovery of insights as old as eternity and as fresh as the morning. Spiritual leaders aid people in this exploration.”