EP 134 – CULTIVATING PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE
The boys are back in their normal domiciles and in today’s EP they break down an important subject related to developing the ability to cultivate passion in your work as a Replanter.
Passion is white hot flame and red glowing embers.
Here’s a quote to kick us off: “Light yourself on fire with passion, and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” — John Wesley
Our good friend Mark Hallock adds this: “People long to follow passionate leaders in the church, in the same way that heat-seeking missiles follow fire. . . As for those of us called to revitalize a dying church, passion is a priceless aspect of our leadership.”
This exhortation from Romans 12:11; “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord”
Know the difference between contrived passion and cultivated passion.
- Passion is contagious
- Passion inspires hope
- But we have to be passionate about the right things
- God’s Word
- God’s Bride
- The lost
- Our community
What do you do when the Passion is gone? How do you cultivate passion?
- Get Clarity-is your season of ministry in that location over? Is God calling you to continue?
- Cultivate and nurture your soul by getting into God’s word, praying and practicing solitude.
- Get an outside opinion and perspective from a trusted friend, mentor, leader.
- Take something off of your plate, you might be out of energy from overwork.
- Grit: the Power and Passion of Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Managing Your Time EP 117
- Replenish by Lance Witt
Join the Replant team at this year’s Replant Summit, August 29-30, 2022. Sign up today, there are a limited number of free rooms the first 100 registrants. (Replanter, bring your wife!)
Shout out to our friends at the Alaska Baptist Resource Network, check out their work and ministry, many great opportunities for you to serve the kingdom there.
If your website has you down and is sapping your passion, contact our good friends at 180 digital and they can give you the help you need.
Drop us a line, a voice mail, share this podcast with your friends and fellow pastors, we’d love to hear from you.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at it again, back at the bootcamp, no longer in Bob Bickford’s presidential suite. I hope you’re ready for the next episode, Bob, as we have now gotten back from the cold frontier of Alaska and back in our normal climates, have you adjusted back to normal life after Alaska?
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. I’ve, I’ve enjoyed the, uh, we’ll say this Alaska was gorgeous and beautiful it was not that cold man. It was actually colder in St. Louis when I got back. And, it was, it felt colder, you know, last week we had the beautiful sunshine and. it was just gorgeous and maybe that was it.
But then I returned to the cold damp, dark gray of St. Louis and I was miserable for a couple of days. And then, yesterday Jimbo, Barb and I went on a, a long convertible ride, or I guess it was day before. And, played our eighties music, you know, just kind of reliving some, some good times. So
I’m having a good time here and it’s sunny this afternoon.
JimBo Stewart: No.
Bob Bickford: Could it be back in the lane?
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:00] Yeah, it’s it’s good. It was definitely not colder in Florida when I returned then in Alaska. But, it was surprisingly not as cold as I thought it was going to be while we were in Alaska. And I would say if you’re wanting to visit Alaska and you don’t live somewhere where it snows very often, like me.
Then I think the end of March, beginning of April, maybe the best time for you to go, because it’s really not painfully cold. There’s still snow everywhere, but it’s not tourist season yet. And so you’re not overwhelmed by tourists everywhere the whole time that you’re there.
Bob Bickford: That’s a great word. And I think, I’m, I’m super thankful for the partners. We got to meet there. Randy Covington from the, Alaska. Baptist resource network. he and Jimmy and, w what’s J J is up there as well, and some of the pastors. And so it was a lot of fun. We get to see some beautiful sides, got to eat some good food while we were up there.
And, I will say this Jimbo, that is one heck of a [00:02:00] long plane ride back
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: to the Midwest and the specifically to the east coast.
JimBo Stewart: Oh, it was brutal. I left at one 30 in the morning, left Anchorage at one 30 in the morning and arrived home around 9:00 PM. now there’s time difference in there. And so one 30 Alaska time was five 30, so 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM. I was in an airplane or an airport. and so the funny part to me was the ride from Anchorage to Seattle and Seattle to Atlanta.
I had this huge group of Cajuns that were, that were working on, ships up and valleys and. Man. That was, those were some big old boys and they were very loud and, it made me understand why some people don’t take to Cajuns. Like I love Cajuns. Those are my people, but, at one 30 in the morning, I was not, I was not a fan of the guy yelling obscenities behind me when they told [00:03:00] him to put on him.
Bob Bickford: I would expect not. And he, and you took a picture of him and showed it to me. He was a big old boy, man. He was, a looked like a defensive lineman that could rip your head off. And, I would be, I might be humor by him, but probably not at one 30 in the morning in a
JimBo Stewart: he was big enough. I was definitely not going to complain.
Bob Bickford: Now on my last leg home from, so I went from Anchorage to Seattle, Seattle to Detroit, Detroit to St. Louis. I just have to tell jumbo, I think I wanted to cry the entire way from Detroit to St. Louis, because I was just so tired. I think that’s, that’s kinda my state of mind. I just, I just wanted to cry.
what I felt like the.
JimBo Stewart: I slept for 10 hours when I got home and still felt tired, but I really, I enjoyed meeting so many different pastors Lassila and in Keenan. And hearing their hearts. And so, uh, I even met a, a listener too while we were there and [00:04:00] hopefully gained a few more. Uh, it was some guys that we met and God’s doing some neat stuff in Alaska, and I’m excited to see what maybe we’re able to do.
And with our partnership there, as it expands.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely more to come and maybe we’ll get one of those guys on the bootcamp with us. And, uh, Alaska is no joke. If you’re going to minister there, man. You gotta be in and you got to feel it and you’ve got to be, all about it. and so we heard some really cool stories of guys that were called to Alaska.
And one, one guy, two guys that I talked to, one, one just got in his car and pointed it towards Alaska and started driving. And another guy sold his house loaded up his family. And went there with no job, no house, no anything. And he and his wife just felt like they were called Alaska. They’re still there to this day.
They’ve been there a number of years and it it’s that level of commitment, to, uh, that really is what helps a guy stay up there and his wife stay up there, but man, we’ve met some really cool [00:05:00]folks and it was a beautiful place. and so, uh, excited to see what God’s doing.
JimBo Stewart: Well, that leads me to our topic for today because these guys really demonstrate what we call pastoral grit. A lot of these guys have stuck through some hard things. They’ve told us in Alaska that they measure how committed you are. Or how bought in, or really there you are by how many winters you’ve survived.
Like if you ask a guy, how long have you been in Alaska? He’ll tell you how many winters he’s been there. because you got to have some serious grit to get through an Alaska winter. And fortunately I’ve not traveled there during the dead of winter yet. but. It’s one thing like we have talked about before, the difference between a high tolerance for pain, or just perseverance in general and grit.
And, Angela Duckworth says that grit is a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal. and she says that’s the hallmark of high achievers and every kind of domain. And she’s found [00:06:00] scientific evidence, to that fact. And we recently had mark Halleck on here when we were in the Bob Bickford exclusive presidential suite, at the Omni.
And he talked to us about the importance of perseverance and describe perseverance to us. And, and so with that idea of grit being the combination of passion and perseverance, I thought it’d be great for us to talk today about the importance of passion in your life.
Bob Bickford: I love that. And as I think about the seasons in my life, a replanting, there was certainly a passion for the call and the commitment to see the church in a better, to a better future that God had for it. But I can tell you Jimbo, honestly, there were moments. In that pursuit of that, that I felt dispassionate because it was so hard.
Right. And you catch me on a Monday, you catch me up to a conflict. He catch me up to her bad things. Like, man, I barely had a passion to get out of bed, but I [00:07:00] think there’s, there’s a, I think you have to, as I think about passion, I think about like a white, hot fire that can melt something. Versus a campfire that’s just got glowing red embers that just have this deep warmth to them.
And I think there’s, there’s passion is both right. It is both of those things. And so I am thankful to have a perspective on passion that it can be that white on intense flame, but it can also be that deep, glowing warmth, that is just so strong and.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, no, I appreciate you even bringing up fire. Cause I love the John Wesley quote, light yourself on fire with passion and.
people will come from miles to watch you burn. It, which has always been an interesting quote to me, and the idea of the importance of passion and leadership. and I was reading recently in our buddy huggy, how like happy huggy, how like triple H wrote in one of his books, commenting on that quote from John Wesley [00:08:00] people long to follow passionate leaders in the church in the same way.
That heat seeking missiles, follow fire ads. For those of us called to revitalize a dying church, passion is PR is a priceless aspect of our leadership. you know, it is So hard. To revitalize a church or replant a church. If you don’t have a passion for doing it, it’s gonna eat you up. And, that’s, why it’s so important.
I think about Romans 12, 11 says never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord.
Bob Bickford: So true man. and I think Paul’s acknowledging there that there are moments in our lives when, when we are not Zella. For the things of God or for the mission. And there’s something that has to happen in us to re stoke that and to rekindle that in some ways. And so we might be catching some guys right now that feel like they’ve been through a driving rainstorm and are [00:09:00] sitting at a flood of water.
Right. and so. What guys to know is the passion is not something that you just try to create yourself. Like it was a sense of internal excitement that you try to find the switch and flip it, right? There’s just, if that’s how you get passionate and maintain passion, you’re probably going to struggle and it’s going to suffer, but there’s something deeper in the sense of the passion that the Lord puts in you through.
You know, just sort of just work in your life and through the vision that he gives you in the moments that you are filled with his vision, not your own, where you begin to see some things that you be under your heart begins to say yes, and your hands and your feet and your arms get stronger. For the task, right?
So I want to say to the guy that feels like he can, you know, it’s all he can do maybe to, do the Wednesday prayer meeting to this week or to, you know, get ready for Sunday. Like hang in there brother. Like if you’re trying to [00:10:00] stoke your own passion for, for the church and for the call that God’s placed upon your life there, then you gotta, you gotta let the Lord renew that in you.
and if it’s only based on your ability and your energy to keep it going, you’re gonna see.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
I think there’s a big difference between contri. Passion and Holton stated passion. Right? And when, when we’re struggling, there’s a temptation to contrive it and in get up there and be high energy and, and act like we’re super excited about things that we’re not super excited about. And man, I don’t know.
I don’t, I don’t think that that’s a good path. If you’re in a bad mood, you don’t need to broadcast that you’re in a bad mood necessarily, but you don’t necessarily also don’t need. To lie and be like, I’m so pumped, I’m still excited.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: or, even do the youth pastor thing where everything is awesome.
Right. This isn’t the Lego movie. Right. And you’re like, this is Friday night. We’re going to have the most awesome hangout night. Come hang out [00:11:00] with us. Like not everything is the most. Right. And so I think it matters where and how we cultivate our passion. Right. And so if you’re struggling with passion, I’ve shared this soil here before you talked about the Wednesday night prayer meeting.
I’ll never forget the, I mean the worst Wednesday of my entire ministry career ever. And I was leading a Bible study and I definitely did not have contrived passion, but I was going through it and I was teaching the study and I, I had already prepared it. And, a question I’d written, it was what is your next step of obedience?
And this lady in the Bible study looks at me and goes, yeah, Pastor what’s your next step of obedience. And normally I’m a pretty calculated guy and I have a pretty good filter, but my filter, I was, I was so tired and down my filter did not work. And I, without even thinking, I immediately responded. My next step of obedience is not resigning tonight.
Bob Bickford: You’ve shared that story. I can just imagine the looks on [00:12:00] the faces in the room.
JimBo Stewart: Well, nobody said a word, like it was dead
Bob Bickford: it got real serious. Right then, man.
JimBo Stewart: I let it sit for a second. And then I said, okay, let’s close it. Yeah. prayed and then, I went home, man.
And, and so I would ask you, but what, I mean, what would you say to a guy in that situation? I mean, how do you, when you don’t have passion and you’re done, you’re tired and it’s been too many winners in Alaska, or it’s been too many hard Wednesday nights, or it’s been too many.
Bad business meetings or whatever it has been. What would be your advice be to that guy on how to cultivate his passion?
Bob Bickford: Yeah. W I think maybe I would say, first of all, clarify, first, before we cultivate, like let’s get real clear, is your season of ministry? Completed in that location. Right. And I think, that’s the question I would want to start with. And, [00:13:00] there are seasons where, and I may not have this guy ask us this in a meeting.
I think we was at the mic planter at, new Orleans. He said, so is my call is a replant or is it only one of two outcomes? Is it to, You know, get this church to take positive steps forward and move in the right direction and grow, or is it to make the courageous decision to close, right. Or the cause of those, I was at those two polls and I said, well, maybe, but I said, maybe there’s a, there’s one in the middle where, your responsibility is to shepherd faithfully during a season where you don’t really see much happening at all.
Right. And, I think that’s what I would ask a guy, man, if you, if you are continually battling passion, is it periodic? Is it enduring? Is a momentary, is it, you know, are you just, where are you at on it? Is it distill, you know, every day, like from week after week, day after day, right? If that’s the case, then I think you need to get some clarity on is God.
has, is your [00:14:00] ministry done there? Right. And because I, I don’t know that you can wake up every morning, for a long season in your life and, persist in ministry unless you are called to do that. Right. So get clear about that. If we’re talking about, you are clear about it and you’ve got to cultivate it.
Then one of the first things I think you have to do is you got to get back into the word and you’ve got to let God fill up your heart and your spirit. and because if you’re, if you’re ministering on an empty, you can, you can be faithful and preach faithful exegetical sermons, and they can be excellent.
And. Great and all of those sorts of things, but there’s going to lack that heart and that passion, that, that sense of the spirit moving in you. So I think I would just say, man, you got to cultivate your, your time with God and in his word, and first be renewed by him before you try to work for him.
JimBo Stewart: I appreciate you bringing up the importance of clarifying. I would add to that. if [00:15:00] you’re really burned out, you may not be in a place where you can gain that clarity yourself, and you may need some outside perspective from a loving mentor, a brother, pastor association, a leaders take convention, worker ministry, mentor of some kind that. Asking you good questions are questions and kind of push in and help you help you discern get some wise counsel, to help you get clarity on that. And then, as far as cultivating you, you likely, I mean, I would, I would say 99.9%. Sure. You gotta get something off your plate temporarily. At least.
Right. So in order to make room for you to cultivate passion, because likely what’s happened is you’ve not managed your time well, or, there’s just literally way too much. Going on. and you’ve not had healthy rhythms in your life. And so I would say let’s put in the show notes links to some of the episodes where we’ve talked about time management and we’ve talked about re healthy rhythms in your life.
[00:16:00] that’s ways to preempt and to mitigate burnout is manage your time. Well, have healthy rhythms built into your life that helped serve you well in that, But you probably need to take a couple of weeks off. one of the ways I’ve counseled guys is I’ve said, Hey, you probably have a rhythm for how many Sundays in a row.
You can be the primary preacher before it becomes a burden. And what I’ve found in talking to a lot of guys is that’s usually somewhere around six to eight weeks. About sit about every six to eight weeks. Here’s what I say. Figure out a way to build in one Sunday off of preaching. Not necessarily off, like as in, you’re not at church.
But one Sunday where you’re not preaching every six to eight weeks, that’s raising. Maybe you need to raise up some guys. Maybe you need little preacher boys that you’re raising up and you’re teaching how to be pastors and maybe your associational help can be maybe use the replant hub and you let somebody guests preach via video through [00:17:00] that.
but find a way, find a way. To every scene, figure out your rhythm, right? What is it in the way that God’s wired you? How many weeks in a row can you preach before it starts to get too heavy? And all of a sudden it’s, it’s not giving life. It’s taking life and chances are, that’s a pretty repetitive rhythm for you and you need to figure out what that is and build in margin and ways to be able to not, not, you don’t need to be preaching 52.
So. The year, you need to either figure out how to share that burden with some people.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely great advice. I think, You know, we’re getting ready to start a baseball season here and being in St. Louis, that’s a big thing and there’s a pitching rotation. And so your starters who are excellent are part of the pitching rotation, right. And they watched their pitch count and the older they get.
The velocity goes down and so they have to learn how to pitch in a different way. Right. And so I think most of the re [00:18:00] planters we talk to Jimbo are probably younger than me. and some are probably younger than you. And so they’re are full of like life and excitement and energy and us encouraging them to take a break.
It sounds maybe like. Strange to them, but I think there’ll be better for it. And in particularly one of the things I would say too is, you’re one of the things I’ve learned since I’ve not been preaching on a regular basis, for the first time in nine plus years is. I really liked the weekends a lot, and it’s a different feel to have a weekend off on a regular basis.
And I remember when I had a couple of guys that were preaching for me, it was so nice to have a Saturday off and not have that sermon hanging over you. but then man, Jimmo, I’d go to church and I’d be like excited that the guy was preaching well, and then I’d be fired up and ready to preach next week because I’d had some.
JimBo Stewart: absolutely. And, and so figure out a way to do that. If you need help thinking through how to do that, reach out to us. And we’d love to talk to you about how to do that because here’s the deal. Passion is important without passion. [00:19:00] Perseverance is just trudging through. And with passion, it becomes grit and grit grows you, and it can help you lead your church to a healthier place.
Passion is contagious. man, especially when you’re passionate through difficult circumstances and you display pastoral grit, it is contagious. And you’ll see other people catch that, that vision, that excitement for what God is doing in your church. And it can inspire hope in people. And were just sticking it out.
I’ve known pastors that just stick it out for a really long time. And when you meet their church members, they are not hopeful people. but if you’ve got a passionate leader, then you lead hopeful people.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, they’re fake. They can be faithful people. obviously in a. Compassionate, but not filled with hope. and so I think a lot of the 80 plus percent churches that are plateaued and declining, perhaps some of our brothers have just lost their passion. [00:20:00] Right. And maybe it’s because one of the reasons why they’ve lost their passionate man, they’ve taken so many hits over the years, that.
they’re basically trying to wait. They’re like a boxer waiting to the 15th round. Right. The Bell’s gonna ring some time and they’re just, their job is to stand up and keep taking it.
Right. And, and that’s where, you know, the, the capacity for suffering, you know, with when we did get that right in the book, that portion of it was, yeah.
You’ve, you’ve got to be able to take a lot of hits, but I think when you’ve, when you have added the. Idea of, you have to have also this grit about you, that doesn’t just, you know, always just suffer. You’ve got to move forward. You’ve got out passion, you’ve got to see a better future. And so I would say to the guy, that’s just feeling like he’s waiting for the bell, man.
Do what you can maybe contact your association leader, talk to your deacons, your elders, and tell them you need a break, step away. And get [00:21:00] some clarity on that. Maybe take four weeks off if you can. Uh, especially as you’ve been slugging it out for years and just try to get some perspective.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, Absolutely. I think it’s important also to remember that we’ve gotta be passionate about the right things. we’ve got to be passionate. About the gospel. not our platform. We’ve gotta be passionate about God’s word and not our own wisdom and our clout or our influence. We’ve got to be passionate about God’s bride, that the local church.
And the people that are there, not the people that you want to be there, but the people that are there, the people that God has given you to shepherd, you need to be passionate about those people. And you need to be passionate about the loss, the loss that are around your church. Any of you be passionate about your community.
I’ve met pastors who. talk down about the community that they live in. They, they talk about how it’s the bad part of town or it’s the, uh, We don’t have anything here or man figure out a way to make sure that you’re passionate about that community. Maybe you’re passionate about [00:22:00] helping it improve.
Maybe you’re passionate about, seeing it become a better community, a safer community, a more family oriented community, whatever it is, but you don’t. speak negatively about your community B be an advocate for your community, speak up for and help your community. Make sure that you’re passionate about the right things.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. We can develop a counter passion, right? And a counter passion, all the things that you’ve listed. There are priorities. I think that Jesus has called us is under shepherds and Christ followers to be passionate about passion, about the loss, about the Lord, all those things. Uh, counter passion is something that competes with the primary passions that Jesus calls us to.
So it could be sports, it could be leisure. It could be, uh, let’s say a cultural issue. it could be, uh, just one ministry, right? One kind of ministry, one type of ministry. And so sometimes you, you will see. Christians and pastors that have[00:23:00] developed a side passion. It’s not a bad thing sometimes, but it’s just, it’s not the best thing.
It’s not the primary thing. And so if you are, not pursuing the things that Jimbo just listed, that you just listed there, Jimbo in the gospel, God’s word, the church, the loss of your community. And you’re more passionate about some side thing. it might be time to think about. That and in discern that it’s not that this thing you see, it’s not a bad thing, but it’s, it’s not the primary thing.
and so I think it’s worth examining what is, what are the things that you’re passionate about in your life and are they the primary things or the secondary things, get them in the right order, get them in the right priority and then pursue them, but pursue them with, with, a scriptural lens in a, an obedience lens.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. You guys we’d love to hear from you, especially the guys we just met in Alaska. Reach out, let us know, man, what can we talk about? That’ll help you and serve you as you are serving dying churches. We’re so grateful for you. Hey, we want to let you know [00:24:00]about a moment where you could join me and Bob live and in-person in Alfaretta replant summit coming up in August, August 29th and 30th replant summit.com.
if you go there, you’ll see all the details and you can register. And we have a limited number of hotel rooms to provide for the first people who register. And so I would encourage you to go ahead and do that register for you and your wife, bring your wife with you. If you can, there’ll be some good breakout sessions for your wife.
and so I think you’ll be grateful that you came.