Posted in Character, Servant Leadership

Leading with Passion

Dr. Bruce Wilkinson stood across from me. He was the featured speaker for the pregnancy network fall fundraiser that evening, and was consulting with the leadership team before our big event. As we sat around the conference table, Dr. Wilkinson  challenged us to identify our organizational purpose, that one thing our pregnancy network must focus on. The team members wrestled with naming the primary job, wanting to include many noble programs and approaches. I, however, already knew the answer and had been implementing changes in our programs to align with it. I listened to the dialogue and contributed to the conversation, feeling quite comfortable and safe in that setting. However, I was completely unprepared for the question he directed to me.

“What are you passionate about?”

I struggled to gather my wits, as the room began to spin. My heart beat wildly, threatening to explode in my chest. My throat had the texture of sandpaper. In that distinct moment, I had a decision to make. Would I give the “right” answer or the “real” answer?

I knew God provided this job. The door opened at the same time my salary was cut from the church budget due to economic difficulties. I was blessed to work for a para-church ministry, doing something significant with a team of amazing people. I was able to put my gifts of administration to work. It was exciting to be used by the Lord to offer solutions with hope to women and men facing unplanned pregnancy, often a time of overwhelming crisis. Couldn’t I just say I was passionate about this? Then, the spotlight would be off me, and we could move on with business as usual.

I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and knew I had to confess. In spite of all the positive aspects of my position, I still felt empty. I began each day, dedicated to being a blessing to this organization, but I could not ignore the nagging sense of dissatisfaction. I longed to spend the best part of my day (when I had energy and inspiration) engaged in church ministry instead of giving leftovers. Crisis intervention was important. However, my heart ached to actively walk with other on their journey with Jesus.

“What are you passionate about?”

I took a deep breath, said a silent prayer, and responded. “I am passionate about people receiving Jesus into their lives and helping them to become more like Him.” Confession made.

Without hesitation Dr. Wilkinson declared, “That sounds like a church! You’re working at the wrong place.”

My boss protested. My colleagues rallied around me with verbal support, affirming me and my valuable contributions to the organization. But the words had already begun to take effect. The Holy Spirit used Dr. Wilkinson to define the stirrings in my heart. I saw the truth, and I knew business as usual was not an option.

That evening I shared with my husband what had transpired, and together we developed an exit strategy. Fifteen months later, I cleaned out my desk and turned in my keys. I said my good byes with strong emotions and many tears, but I had no regrets. I was returning to church ministry where God wanted me to be.

I realize there are seasons in our lives where we must do what it takes to pay the bills and provide for our family. Spending time wishing we could be somewhere else will be counter productive. However, we must not ignore the Spirit’s promptings. He may be the author of our divine discontent in order to re-direct our steps.

We lead from our heart. We were not created to just go through the motions to earn a paycheck. To be thriving leaders, we must identify our God-given passion and then lead from that place.
What are you passionate about?
In what ways can you give expression to your passion in your current position?
Is the Holy Spirit re-directing your steps? Where do you think He is leading you?

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