Connecting Theology and Passion
There is more and more evidence that having the best theology is not enough to have a strong ministry. In fact, there is evidence that in spite of theology, some ministries are stronger with theology that is inconsistent and even incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So what is this factor and is it mutually exclusive from good theology?
The underlying key to vibrant and growing ministries appears to be passion. It is not just what someone teaches, but also how passionately they believe it and how passionately they live it out. Passion is an essential part of witness. Why should someone else look at what we believe if we seem ambivalent about it ourselves? Many groups with theology that we might disagree with or, in some cases, find bizarre or offensive are sharing their faith and inviting others into their midst. But they are excited about it and it shows.
So here is a question for mainline Christians: If we believe that the things we teach about the breadth of God’s grace, the presence of God in Jesus Christ, the willingness of God to persist in loving us when we fail, and all the things that we teach; why aren’t we more excited about that than the people who believe things that we don’t think measure up? What is preventing us from being passionate about the incredible love of God in Jesus and the open invitation to simply receive and rejoice in the life changing news that God already loves you?
Studies show that the most common descriptor for mainline congregations is “complacent.” We are satisfied with what is and wish for but don’t pursue what can be. Those same things point to scriptural illiteracy, lack of spiritual disciplines, and a lack of relationships that nurture a deeper and more intentional faith as central to this issue.
In other words, individuals each need to be excited about what God is up to in Jesus and congregations need to encourage and equip people to have a growing and authentic faith in the God we meet in Christ. Knowing the info alone doesn’t cut it. People need to truly and passionately believe that God is real, active, loving and inviting us in to continue the work of Jesus.