“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Jesus understood the connection between our resources and our hearts. As we look at who we are and what we have to work with, the key to freeing people to do what matters has to include this question, “What do they treasure?” In other words: What matters to them? Wherever the things that matter to people intersect with things that matter to God, there you have the place of great power and opportunity – because their hearts will be in it.
A New Pattern Is Emerging
Often people in the church have been taught to work in the opposite direction. The church program sets the agenda and then people are recruited for the jobs needed to keep things going – singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, leading youth, serving on committees, being on the church board. Many of these can be and are important. And for those who have a passion for any of them, the desire to work in one of these areas can be fulfilling and meaningful. But have you thought about why it’s getting harder and harder to find people to fill those slots?
There is a new pattern emerging in our culture. Making long-term commitments to things that people aren’t invested in has simply gone out of fashion. But just because this is different doesn’t mean it’s bad. God wants people to be working on the things that matter most – both to them and to God. And God wants people putting their energy and resources into those things with enthusiasm. That’s why passion is the doorway to helping people do what matters. Involve people in the things they love most deeply and they will excel and endure all sorts of things to see the dream become reality.
Find Out What People Are Passionate About
There are really only two ways to find out what people’s passions are – watching and listening. Watch people and observe what they love doing. They will naturally spend time and energy in these places (and many of those places will be outside the doors of your congregation). When they talk about these things, their faces light up. When they are involved, their bodies “lean in” to the work. Watching what gets people fired up is one way to get started. The other is listening – ask them! When visiting with people, be proactive about asking what excites them, what is important to them, what mark they would like to leave on the world, what one thing they would do to make a difference, if they could?
Over time, the healthiest congregations will spend less energy staffing the programs they have and reorganize the work they do in ways that are built around people and their passions. Instead of just recruiting for jobs that exist, leaders will free people to create roles that don’t exist. And driven by passion, supported and equipped by leaders, and excited about their work – these people will do amazing things!
What are YOU passionate about? Let your heart lead you into action.
(c) The Renewable Church Newsletter, Vol. 1, Is. 6. A Renewal Enterprise, 2011. Permission to reproduce is granted to members of the Renewable Church Learning Community. All other rights reserved. For more information and permission visit www.RenewableChurch.com