What Happens When Ministry Becomes Drudgery

I don’t know if you’ve ever been there before.  You’re doing something good…you’re serving on a ministry team…you’re making a difference in someone’s life…you’re leading a group of leaders, and through all the good you are doing, and the impact you are making, you find yourself losing the passion for what you’re doing.  The very thing you once loved has become the thing that you dread.  What happens when the very ministry God has placed within us becomes drudgery?

Before we answer that question, though, I want to explore a number of reasons why leaders hit this “Brick Wall of Ministry.”:

  • They are in the wrong role.  There are times that the reason ministry has become more of an obligation is because a leader is trying to do what they’re not equipped to do, and they aren’t able to break out of the rut of their limited ability.  This can be frustrating and discouraging, but the good news is, identifying you are in the wrong role allows you to find that ‘right role’ made just for you.
  • They are overextended in their current role.  This happens often with very driven leaders that want to accomplish a lot with not a lot of time.  The motive is right, it’s the long-term expression that can become damaging.  For a leader that overextends, they will eventually lose the drive and ability to lead.  In other words, if you run too long on empty, your engine will eventually lock-up and could cause long-term damage.
  • They are leading alone.  Oftentimes, the source of a lack of passion is not found in what a leader is doing, but who they are doing ministry with.  We are created as relational beings by God, and when we try to go it alone, we can quickly lose passion and drive toward the ministry we’re leading.

So the question still is, What happens when the very ministry God has placed within us becomes drudgery?  Here are three questions to ask when overcoming the drudgery and recapturing the passion:

  • Step back from what you’re doing and evaluate, Is what I’m doing match what I’m gifted for?”  If not, initiate a discussion with  your pastor, supervisor, or those you’re doing ministry with.  When you find your ‘sweet spot in ministry’ you’ll discover your passion and drive return.
  • Look at all you’re doing, and ask yourself this question: “Is there something I’m currently doing that can be delegated to someone else?”  I know someone else will never do that one thing just like you do it, but even if they’re close that’s better than the alternative.  A healthy, passionate you will always be more valuable than an exhausted version of yourself that gets everything done perfectly.
  • Stop for a moment and look around you.  “Who are you doing ministry with?”  Are they simply cogs in your wheel of ministry?  Are they simply tools that you use to get something accomplished?  Or are they friends?  Are they people you enjoy doing ministry with?  If you can’t find any valuable relationships around you in ministry, you may be in the wrong place, or serving with the wrong focus.  Where you find relationships, you’ll find passion.  The places we find relational value, we’ll also find emotional value.

My prayer for you, and I believe God’s desire for you as well, isn’t that you just ‘do ministry’, but that you find the joy, excitement and fulfillment in being Christ’s hands and feet to this hurting world.  As you do that, you’ll find drudgery dissipate and passion return!

Let me here from you.  What have you found to be helpful in recapturing passion in ministry?

One thought on “What Happens When Ministry Becomes Drudgery

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  1. Pastor Nick, great thoughts, although I am not currently in ministry I can relate to your thoughts on delegation and being overwhelmed in my profession. For a person in any type of authority, delegation can be lifesaving. Delegation is one of those things that allow you to stay in love with whatever you are called to do.

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