You might have seen signs up in one of the big supermarkets recently declaring, ‘It’s our values that make us different.’ And it’s true: an organisation may be shaped by its vision, but it’s driven forward by its values.
For us at The Message, our first core value – and the main thing that makes us different – is passion. We’re a passionate people, passionate for Jesus and passionate for souls.
Probably the only thing that marks me out as different from anyone else is passion. I’m very average in a lot of ways: middle age, average intelligence, living in a semi-detached house, one wife, two kids.
But the good news is that it’s the passionate people who change the world. You could have all the gifts on the planet but without passion to drive you forward, you’re going nowhere.
You never outgrow passion
Twenty years is a dangerous time in an organisation’s history. Between 20 and 25 years is around the time when many start to go off the boil.
You see it in ministries, businesses and organisations that start off radical, passionate and fearless but then get boring. Track back through history at revival movements: they make tremendous headway in a short space of time but then something gets lost and they go from ‘great’ to merely ‘good’.
As an organisation grows, yes, you have to have structure, discipline and strategy, but ahead of all of it, you need passion.
Let’s keep our zeal
The charge of Romans 12:11, written in big letters in our prayer room, is ‘Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervour.’ In other words, it is possible to be lacking in zeal and to lose our spiritual fervour.
I’m challenged every time I read those words and think back to the early days of The Message. We were nuts! We were driven by utter passion. Maybe it was over the top. Maybe we did work too hard. But I never want to lose that zeal.
One of our early songs has the line, ‘All over Manchester I wanna see revival!’ In that shout is where this thing started and where it will end. We are a revival movement. God’s promised us that we are going to see rivers in the desert… we’ll see wild animals honour him because that’s what they were formed for… we’re going to inherit a land for Jesus. There’s so much more to come.
Nothing is impossible
Because Jesus inspired Paul to write those words, ‘Never be lacking in zeal’, we know it can happen. Every command of scripture can be turned into a promise. It means that all of us can have spiritual fervour, all of the time. We may display it in different ways, but we can all be passionate people. So take responsibility, examine yourself. Stand before Jesus and ask yourself if you’ve lost any passion. And get it back.
I keep coming back to this quote: ‘When work, commitment and pleasure become one, you reach that deep well called passion. Here, nothing is impossible.’
We need to be a community where these things really do come together, where we’re not ‘clocking on and clocking off’ but where passion runs through our veins; passion for young offenders coming to Christ, for schools being turned around, for the most hurting in society. More than anything, a people passionate about the glory of Jesus in this city and our nation.