Building a ministry can be grueling, energy-zapping, joy-stealing work. It can also be a life-giving, soul-satisfying labor of love. Ultimately, we get to make the choice.
Amid the challenges of church planting and other ministry-building efforts, we can't avoid the spiritual warfare, the naysayers, the backstabbers and the disappointments, but we can maintain a godly attitude. And that makes all the difference.
Whatever phase of building you are in, there are many lessons to learn from Nehemiah and his team. We find a powerful key in Nehemiah 4:6b: "The people had a passion for the work."
Let's look at a few other translations of this verse:
... "for the people worked with all their heart" (NIV).
... "for the people had worked with enthusiasm" (NLT).
... "for the people had a mind to work" (ESV).
... "because the people were committed to working" (ISV).
... "The people were enthusiastic in their work" (NET).
... "The people worked with determination" (GWT).
... "for the people were motivated to work" (JUB).
If this is not our attitude, we could grow resentful in the midst of our ministry. Indeed, many times we start with a passion to do the work of the ministry but grow weary in well doing because the people around us don't carry that same passion. In those times, we need to remember Christ is passionate about His church, so much so that He died on the cross for it and pledged to build it—and His passion in us is contagious.
Here are four truths to remember if you are growing weary in your mind from the warfare that comes with the work:
- Your passion for the work starts with a passion for Jesus, and your passion for Jesus starts with understanding His passion for you.
- Remember, you were saved to do good works (Eph. 2:8-10).
- When you sell out to the vision and mission in the place God has called you, you will find a grace, an anointing, a joy, a peace, a strength and energy you didn't have before.
- Love the people you serve with and the people you minister to. Instead of complaining about faults and weaknesses, learn to love people where they are and pray for them.
If you are not praying for the church and its people—really praying—you won't have the contagious. As pastors and leaders, our first commitment to the church is not to work, but to pray. As you pray, you will find a passion to do the work and attract others to help you build.
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