How can I have longevity in my ministry? Guest contributor Andrew Brunson, who spent two years in a Turkish prison for his faith, shares what he’s learned about intimacy with God and how it sustains us in vocational ministry.
Jesus spoke to the church at Ephesus; he said they were doing everything right. They stood for truth, and they were faithful, and yet he says, “You lost your first love.” And that’s the most important thing. And I found in my own life that love for God is something that doesn’t happen automatically. And by love I don’t mean just feelings, although that’s part of it, but a passion, a pursuit, and obedience for him. These need to be nurtured. And the most important part of that is obviously spending time with God.
Longevity is a Heart Issue
The issues of the heart are the ones that will knock us out of ministry. Most people don’t get knocked out of ministry because they have a question about theology. It will be because of betrayals in the church or unforgiveness or some crisis they encounter that shakes their relationship with God. And I found in prison that the most important thing—well, Jesus told us it’s the most important thing, but it was underlined for me in prison—was to cultivate a devotion to God and seek his face. And this is actually what I miss about prison, is that the conditions, the isolation and the fear, drove me to seek him with desperation as a matter of spiritual survival. I’m not forced by anything now in my circumstances, and I can feel the drop off of intensity in seeking him.
The Importance of Intimacy with God
The issues of the heart are the ones that will knock us out of ministry.So it’s something so important: intimacy is what gives us longevity in ministry, it’s what helps us to keep pressing on and to endure when we confront difficulties. So there’s nothing more important than loving God. And the most important thing in cultivating love for God is setting time aside for him.
Watch Andrew Brunson’s lecture given at RTS Charlotte, “The Sustaining Power of Intimacy with God.“