None of us want to admit it; but enthusiasm has a lot to do with our effectiveness in ministry.  We like to believe that faithfulness is the reigning fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  The problem with this enthusiasm quotient in ministry is that enthusiasm is a fleeting commodity.  However, enthusiasm comes from the Greek word, theos and en.  Even the elementary Greek language student knows that this means, “God within.”  Indicating that when your ministry is infused with enthusiasm,  it is God who has powered that enjoyment in the task.

Yet there will be a time when your excitement over ministry will fade and perhaps even disappear.  In my years, I’ve seen this is a consistent and hard problem for even the most faithful of God’s servants.  And your level of involvement doesn’t exempt you.  As a teenager, I took my first job as a church secretary.  The first years I earned a salary, it was in the church office doing secretarial work.  After I left the workforce, an interesting ministry developed praying and speaking with church secretaries who had become disheartened and disillusioned while working in a church office. 

This is an attack that envelops every person who dares to step into the arena of spiritual warfare as a minister of the Gospel of Christ.  It is also a concern that may not be talked about in ministry circles.  We’ve all heard the story of the man who refused to go to church one Sunday morning because no one liked him at the church and he didn’t like anyone there, either.  His wife replies, “You have to go.  You are the pastor.”  Whenever this joke is told, ministers laugh because they closely relate to the sentiments expressed. 

Yet, the lack of enthusiasm cannot dissolve your call from God.  A friend left ministry because of his disillusionment because his enthusiasm has left him cold and disillusioned.  He  told me that after he gave up his church and became a successful banking executive, he was equally plagued by the fact that he knew that God had called him to be a pastor.  These conflicting emotions became the catalyst for his taking a part-time job in a group home as his “ministry.”   When the call came for him to pastor a small church, he jumped at the chance.  He is no longer concerned about the weeks and even months when he feels no enthusiasm for ministry.

The need to learn how to adjust to our lack of enthusiasm will one day slap all of us in the face.  There are several things which can help us overcome the turmoil of that day.  Here are several of them, though not an exhaustive list.

  1. Expect this day to come.  Anticipate it. 
  2. Mentally prepare ourselves for it.  Denial only means we will be even more overcome by the disastrous effects when this specter slaps us in the face.  Jesus talked about counting the cost before we build a building or go to war.
  3. Develop relationships with other pastors with whom we can be honest and forthright about our feelings.
  4. Drop the guilt and condemnation when these feelings of uncertainly seep into our daily life.  Remember Romans tells us there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  The Holy Spirit convicts but never condemns.
  5. Face the accusations of our hearts openly and frankly.  We should not hide from the issue. 
  6. Examine our call often.  If we are afraid that our call can’t stand hard examination, then there is a problem with our position in ministry. 
  7. An honest annual review of our position could become a preemptive attack reaffirming God’s leading in our lives.
  8. Don’t hold our ministry positions too tightly.  Be willing for God to move us, giving him complete control over us.
  9. Remember that faithfulness often regenerates enthusiasm. 
  10. Understand the principles of faithfulness and walk in them daily. 
  11. Enjoy the excitement and  feelings of pleasure in ministry when they appear.  However, understand that these feelings  may be fleeting commodities.

Many times we get up and do the things that are needed only because we are supposed to do them.  That is faithfulness.  At the beginning of a ministry tenure, we have great feelings, mixed with anticipation.  As the ministry matures, faithfulness must begin to replace these feelings for our ministry to become truly effective.

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