How can I fall in love with ministry again?
This question means so much to me because it is familiar to my experience with ministry. I wrestled with this “loss of love” for ministry, relentlessly, a few years ago when I was severely burned and betrayed by the church. I had invested much of my time and energy into students and the congregation that I was serving. I knew in my bones that God called me to ministry, so when I got “burned,” it caused such great turmoil in my heart. Since then, the Lord has healed me, but it was a long road that required me to take some time to let Him work on me.
There is a common practice that counselors use with married couples when they come in claiming they have “fallen out of love” with one another. It usually begins with one question “what did you do when you guys felt as though you were in love?” This exercise is to get couples to look back and remember what brought them together, what helped them fall in love, and what led them to marry one another. I love this exercise because it also applies to being a follower of Christ and serving him.
Remembering His Great Love
Serving Christ is the byproduct of loving Christ, and remembering His great love that loved us first. His love is what compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14). He is constantly wooing and pursuing us, and sometimes we miss that when we are getting our hands dirty in serving the church because it takes a toll. Ministry is hard and heart work. It is spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally taxing. Just like marriage, it is a daily choice to love Christ and to serve him.
There is something that brought us all into the ministry, whether that be with students, young adults, widows, singles, married or divorced, etc. It may sound cliché, but that something is Jesus’s love that called you. The only reason that we could ever “love” ministry is because he loved us first. Quite frankly, I do not think we could ever fully love ministry. We can love Christ, like ministry, and that is enough.
Keeping that in mind, there are seasons in serving formally. Sometimes, God has us tending more to our families or our jobs, and that is okay. I had a professor in college tell me one time to drop the word “ministry” from my vocabulary for a while. I was so hung up on loving and being in ministry that I forgot how to be a human being. I needed to be taken back to my roots and reminded to be a servant of Christ in all situations and seasons of my life.
There are times that I am still wrestling with loving ministry, as I am now in full-time youth ministry, but that is the yin and yang of it. I think that we get loving what Jesus is doing and loving ministry confused. We have to know it will be messy and it will be painful, and that we could go our whole lives with not feeling “in love” with ministry. Only Christ can keep the fire burning, and our works will flow from that, no matter what the circumstances of serving are.
If you are feeling like you have fallen out of love with ministry, that is normal and it is okay. You have been working hard in the faith, but we must remember not to toil in vain. There is only one that can fill you back up with the strength to serve. God is slowing you down so he can take care of you. Take time to fall in love with Jesus all over again. Pursue God as he has pursued you. He promises you that you will find him each time. Remember when he first grabbed hold of you? Remember when he cleansed you of your sin and washed you white as snow through Jesus Christ, giving you the gift of eternal life? Remember how he has delivered you? Pray for him to put that fire back in your belly, and stay near to him. For apart from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Natalie Glover is Associate Director of Student Ministries at New Community Church in Western PA, focused on ministering to young women. She loves Jesus and seeing people come to know him through God’s Word. For more encouragement, Natalie can be reached on her Facebook page.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.