We’ve been watching Olympic figure skating. Wow. They’re good! Generally, I’m not a fan of frilly dancers twirling around to music in pretty costumes. But, wow, I gotta give these skaters props. They are very, very good.
But what if they weren’t? What if a bunch of chubby skaters who just don’t have the skills get out there and start falling all over the place? What if all they have is passion and confidence? Would we watch? (I admit, I’d watch for awhile just to laugh at them but I can’t see it holding my attention for long.)
Is passion enough? Is it enough to just have the desire and want something badly?
I remember a youth leader who had a heart for seeing teenagers grow in their faith. Despite my efforts to give him teaching skills and my encouraging him to listen to students, he just couldn’t do it. He just had to talk. I watched him take 3 seperate groups from 10 to zero. Blah, blah, blah. Each time he hit bottom, we talked about the importance of listening. He still doesn’t get it. He has a great desire and tremendous passion but I can’t afford to put him in any more lead roles unless he starts making some heart changes.
Ministry is tough. It’s like a lab. It’s a hands-on learning experience where we take time to develop skills and Christlike attitudes in people who have passion. I’m cool with that. Actually, it’s one of my favorite things about ministry.
But when the passionate are unteachable, I hit a wall. What do you do? Do you allow them to continue driving people away? Do you get out of the way and let them crash and burn hoping they might be open to learning this time? What about the people impacted by the crash? What about the damage from the smoke and flames?
Picture NASCAR racing. Cars speed around a track at 200 miles per hour. One little mistake sends cars airborn. We’ve seen some horrifying wrecks. Pro drivers who spend time learning, developing and training line up at the start. Would you take a guy who is passionate about racing and put him behind the wheel in one of those races? Of course not. It takes more than just passion and desire.
If you did put him out there and call him a driver, how would other drivers react? Most of them would take themselves out of the race. Who could blame them?
Have you ever had that passionate racer in ministry? How did you handle it? Did his presence, no matter how well-intentioned, cause others to take themselves out of the race? What did you do?
I haven’t found any clear direction in scripture yet. I’m still looking … and praying … and seeing another pile-up on the road ahead. I’ve got other drivers withdrawing from the race because they see a crash coming.
Passion. Desire. Determination. All are good things. I think they get cancelled out when mixed with pride, stubborness, impatience and an unwillingness to seek peace through compromise.
How do you stop a Christian bull in a china shop and get him to exchange his zealousness for God’s heart and the fruit He desires? (Gal. 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.)
I’m pretty sure I’m about to get gored. I’m really not looking forward to it. Is there anyone out there in the blogosphere who specializes in taming Christian bulls? Give me a call.