Some ministers seem to be ideally suited for what they do.
Their passion, their skill set, their spiritual gifting and their circumstances all seem to line up in one integral whole.
But what about the rest of us? What do you do when you feel divided? When your passion goes in one direction, but your skills are in another?
If you ever feel like that, I understand. That’s been the story of my pastoral life, too.
Am I Out Of Sync?
Whenever I’m asked where my passion for small churches came from, my answer is always the same – and it always surprises the asker. “I became a small church guy because I failed at being a big church guy.”
My passion was never to lead a great small church. It was always to help turn a dying church around, then see it grow year after year, getting bigger and bigger.
The first part I’ve had some success in. The second part? Not so much.
I’ve been able to help churches turn around from unhealthy to healthy, first as a pastor, and now as an encourager and equipper of other pastors, but I’ve never been able to keep a church on a path of sustained numerical growth. No matter how badly I wanted it, or how hard I worked at it, sustained numerical growth always eluded me and the churches I’ve pastored.
This led to some of the most frustrating years of my life and ministry.
As it turns out, even though my passion was to lead a large church, my skill set is suited to pastor a healthy small church.
That’s why I spent so many years feeling like a big church pastor trapped in a small church situation.
Build On Your Skills
It turns out I’m not alone in these feelings.
Many of us live in that kind of an in-between world, whether it’s in ministry or another aspect of our lives.
For instance, we may have a passion for singing, but the temperament and talent for bookkeeping. Or everything in us wants to explore the world but, like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, our finances, family and circumstances have kept us at home.
It can feel discouraging, disorienting and downright debilitating if we let it.
So what does a pastor do when we feel trapped between our passion and our skill set? Do we give in to one at the expense of the other?
The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. In this case, you actually can have it all. You can apply the skills God gave you without denying the passion he planted in you.
Build your pastoral ministry on the foundation of your skill set, while adding the spice from your passion.
Bring Your Passion To Your Skill Set
If you’re like me and you have (or had) a passion for building a big ministry, but your skills and calling led you to small churches, lean into doing small church well, but bring a big church energy and attitude to it.
Or maybe you’re the pastor with a tin ear and a passion for worship music, but you’re a great Bible teacher. Then be the best Bible teacher you can be, but bring the joy and the artful heart of a musician to it.
Perhaps you’ve always want to teach in-depth Bible studies, but kids are drawn to you like flies. If so, build a great KidMin that helps kids become as passionate for God’s Word as you are.
What you may find is that, like me, when you bring your passion into your skill set, it will also ignite a passion for your skill set that you didn’t know you had.
Doing A New Thing
Often, what we think of as a divided heart is God’s way of saying “I want to see this ministry done in a way no one would ever have expected, and I’m going to give you the awkward combination of heart and skills to get it done for me.”
The body of Christ needs you.
All of you.
Your calling, your gifts and your passion.
Even if they seem mismatched, they’re not. They’ve just never been used in quite that way before.
Because no one has ever been you before.
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