Passion and Purpose • Ministry

We need teachers.

We need pastors.

China has begun to send missionaries to America. 

What happened?

How did we let the Gospel leave the grasps of American soil? A trust and faith in God was part of the founding of this country, but now other countries are flying over to remind us of what we lost.

So often we talk about missions. We have to go out and spread the gospel to every corner of the world, but we forget a key part. Our literal neighbor. When was the last time we just walked over to them in then next house, across the hall in the next apartment, or through a door in the next dorm?

We’re supposed to be upholding our end of “The Great Commission.” It’s obvious that we aren’t doing well at all though. There are pastor vacancies everywhere. The seminary graduating classes aren’t near the size they need to be in order to fill those vacancies and provide more ministers. 

Recently I learned about the difference between passion and purpose. Passion can fuel you and keep you going, but not always. Sometimes we do get stuck in a rut. That’s why purpose exists. When we always know our purpose we will keep going. That applies to everything. Not just education which I’m going to talk about.

People come and go to Martin Luther College with the intent of going into the ministry, but too often somewhere along their walk through in four, five, or more years they lose sight of why they came. Things in their life become stagnant. It doesn’t seem like there is more to grasp or achieve once they graduate. 

Even out in the field teachers in their first five years struggle. Some of them quit all together, for whatever reason. Married, had a child, burnt out, finally realized they didn’t want to teach, had some sort of dramatic reason. It doesn’t matter. We’re losing people. 

There’s a group of people in the middle. The ones that go through, teach, but aren’t satisfied. When asked how prepared they felt they were to be a teacher they respond reluctantly because they have realized they weren’t prepared at all. Sure they understood how to write a lesson plan (woohoo) or create a year long curriculum, but they are missing key educator tools. 

We’re missing passion. 

We’re missing purpose. 

We’ve been relying on future teacher candidates to come into MLC with passion and purpose for teaching and then never fostering that. It’s like we gather kindling and start a little fire, but we never pile on more logs or fuel and it quickly dies. 

This is why teachers in their first years are frustrated and quit. It is the same reason that other students transfer out of Martin Luther College to go to other schools for education. 

We rely on the gospel to to its job, but we forget that God works through humans.

We can’t just let people do their own soul searching. We have to foster passion and purpose constantly. Once our teachers and pastors have a continued and understood passion and purpose they’ll stick around longer. I’d wager that they will inspire more to be called workers also because their own personal fires will be burning brightly. 

If you already are a teacher or pastor I pray that you understand your own passion and purpose. 

If you are at Martin Luther College join together with your colleagues and classmates to renew or find your passion and purpose.

If you ever had a teacher touch your life in a remarkable and memorable way, think about being that person for someone else. 

You could change the world.