Is It Missing?
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

As I write this, I am flying to the West Coast to attend meetings for the Faith Community that I am a part of. For two days, senior pastors meet to discuss a variety of topics and challenges facing our churches. I have been asked once again to start our meeting off with a leadership topic. As I thought about my assignment for the last few months, an often-overlooked aspect of leadership kept coming to mind: passion. Yes, I will endeavor to speak with pastors about passion.

If you feel like you are struggling with the passion question, let me help you out. I discovered a formula that, if followed, will fill your passion bucket: Interest + Engagement x Time = Passion. If you take an interest in something and begin researching it, over time you will develop passion. Why do we become a fan of a sports team? Something catches our attention, we look into it more, and before long we are a fan. Hobbies work the same and before long you are thinking way too much about wooden boats and bass fishing. I digress, but seriously, without passion, you can’t lead. Why would someone want to follow a leader who wasn’t passionate about the cause or purpose they were pursuing? Let’s look at eight ways passion impacts our leadership.

  1. Passion gives your leadership credibility. People need to see that the leader is all in on the goal.
  2. A leader’s passion is contagious, and people can feel it.
  3. Passion is the first step to achievement. Without passion, other things in your life will slowly creep in and steal your most precious resource, your time. Sometimes in life, you need to say no to the good to make time for the best.
  4. Passion will make you unreasonable. This point may seem like I am going in the wrong direction, but I am totally serious. Passion keeps you in the game long after everyone else has quit. It is the key to moving from ordinary to extraordinary. Remember, people don’t pay for average, they pay for excellence.
  5. Passion fuels conviction. Everything starts when the leader believes in themselves and the mission they are pursuing. This might be a better way to explain my point: You don’t have to believe in me, but I do. When I believe in myself, things happen, and people notice.
  6. Passion produces energy. Some people claim to have burnout, but they’ve never been fired up. They never felt a burning within them to do something meaningful. When we have passion, it energizes us to push beyond what is to what could be.
  7. Passion stimulates creativity. It makes you find the answers. It keeps you digging because you believe there is an answer to the question. The answers are never where you are. They are where you are going, so you need to keep growing.
  8. When you’re passionate, you’re excited and you have high expectations. Those around you sense the high expectations and develop their own high expectations.

How about one more? Passion will take you out of the church building. Since I started with a Faith Community, let me close with one of my favorite John Maxwell stories. John began pastoring in the small town of Hillham, Indiana. On his first Sunday, there were a total of five people in the church. The total included John and his wife Margaret. Over time, the little church grew a bit and they planned a very special Sunday when they would invite everyone they knew. When John declared to his little church that his goal was 300 people, they thought he was crazy. Finally, the day came and as people filed into the church the ushers counted each person to see how close they came. Just before the service started, John asked for the total and they announced that 299 people had walked through the doors. The people were so excited they cheered. John quieted them down and asked what the goal was. Someone spoke up and declared 300. John asked the people to keep singing some hymns as he walked out the door to find one more person. At the gas station on the corner, he found two men. Two men who had never been to church. They politely asked if John had reached his goal and he replied, ”Not yet, we are one short. Which of you two gentlemen would like to help us achieve our goal?” They both followed John down the street and into the little church.

The little church in a tiny town exceeded their goal because the leader was unreasonable. 299 was a great number, but the goal was 300. Is passion missing in your leadership?