I thought I had a great idea for an entry for this blog, but as I started to develop it in my head, I had a sudden thought: Hey, haven't I written on this before? I have had the same problem with other blogs I write for or that I've tried to start in the past.  If I'm not careful, I find that most of my entries end up revolving around half a dozen topics or so.

I think I'm pretty normal in that I have definite passions when it comes to ministry and life in the Church in general.  And I think these passions can be positive things! Our passions are how God created us as gifts to the Church at large.  I think it's one of the ways that God ensures there are people around to do various types of service and ministry, and it's one of the ways we complement each other as a whole.

We need people passionate about seeing, hearing, walking, etc., to have a fully functioning "body" of believers.  And our passions are also ways that I think God focuses the Church for ministry and in turn ministers to her.  As the Church ministers in a constantly changing world, she will need to focus on varying needs, as well as be prepared for varying challenges, theological and otherwise.

The problem comes when our passions keep us from seeing the fullness of God's self-revelation and the fullness of what He is doing in the world.  We can end up not helping the Church, but actually hurting her by becoming divisive.  If we are not careful, we begin to associate our passions with "real ministry" or "the real issues," and look down upon others who are not gifted or passionate in the same way.  How could these people claim to love God and not care about this?  A real Christian would want to serve in that way! A real Church would have a ministry that met this particular need! A real Church would be addressing this or that issue! A real Christian would wrestle with this theological concern!

We can also begin to see God through the limited lens of our passions.  Rather than recognizing God as the ruler of the entire universe whose power, concerns, and plans are well beyond the scope of our own, we begin defining Him as "the God who most values this type of service," or "the God who cares most passionately about this issue and feels exactly this way about it," or "the God who sees this as the greatest need in the world and what the Church should be focusing on more than anything else."  Rather than serving the Church through the passions He has given us, we actually begin to attack the Church on God's behalf for not caring enough about the things that are supposedly most important to Him (but are actually just most important to us).

Check the things you are most passionate about against Scripture, and see if they hold true.  If they do, then by all means pray and look for opportunities to serve or minister in light of those passions! But don't forget that God is doing more in the world than what your passions encompass, and He has called the Church to be doing more, as well.  Your passions are a precious gift to the Church as she fulfills God's mission in the world.  Don't let those same passions hurt and divide, instead.