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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

01 Jun '13

Do you have a cause worth giving your life to?

Posted by T.J. Addington
How passionate are you about the work God has called you to? Is it something that gets you up in the morning ready to tackle the day, knowing that it is worth giving your life to? That is one of the secrets of people of deep influence. They believe with all their heart that what they do matters, that it is of eternal consequence and that every day counts in the journey they are one.


I believe in the cause God has given our organization. “We are a gospel centered movement changing lives, communities and institutions worldwide in the power of God’s Spirit.” Even more significant for me, it aligns with God’s call on my life and my convictions so there is huge convergence between the organization I lead and His call on my life. Every day is a day to advance that cause!

The absence of a compelling cause in our personal and work lives is a debilitating condition that sucks away our energy, diminishes our joy and compromises our impact. And too many people suffer from the condition. It is sad in that God has created us specifically to accomplish something of great value for him and then gifted us for that specific influence (Ephesians 2:10). The route to deep influence is in understanding His calling and finding a cause congruent with that calling that gives us passion, conviction, joy and eternal impact.

These words may frustrate you because unlike me you do not lead the organization and those who do have not articulated a cause worth giving your life to. You are not alone but there is hope!

A cause worth giving our lives for starts with us. We are not dependent on others to determine God’s call on our lives. That is our responsibility! Once we know what that call is and how He has wired us, we live out that calling no matter where we are. This is particularly important for those who don’t yet have convergence between the strengths and passions God has implanted in them and their day to day work. We can live out His call vocationally or avocationally – the importance is that we are living it out. If it is truly His call and our passion we will find ways to answer that call no matter what we are doing vocationally!

Many people of deep influence live their lives in the secular workplace where they live out God’s call on their lives. They know that full time ministry is not the only way to impact our world and in fact, those who are in vocational ministry will often never touch the people and institutions they can touch. They are the Nehemiahs and Daniels and Esthers who have amazing influence because of their character and commitment to bring the ethics of the kingdom to the marketplace.

The fact is that entire organizations can be influenced and transformed when God’s people live out their cause in the marketplace. People are treated better, ethics are higher, excellence grows, and communities are made better because people of deep influence quietly live out their cause and God’s call on their lives.

If you are a part of a Christian organization, never underestimate your influence on the organization you are a part of in helping them come to clarity on their cause. Most leaders who don’t have a clearly defined cause would love to have one but need help getting there. Leadership can come from the bottom, the middle or the top if done wisely but persistently.

For years at the EFCA national office, I did not have a senior position but through my writing, relationships and the team I led I was able to have influence on the direction of our movement. In fact, position is not the key factor – influence is. Figure out how you can have influence and encourage missional clarity and a cause worth giving oneself to from whatever place you are in the organization.

There are times when it is worth looking for a different ministry organization to serve if you are convinced that they cannot come to clarity around a passionate cause, or that you will not find convergence between your strengths, wiring and call in the place you currently work. There are organizations that simply lack the will to live out a clear and passionate cause because it is far more comfortable to settle for what is rather than to press into what could and should be. I would not last very long in a comfortable organization and most people of deep influence will not.

The very fact that you are willing to look elsewhere may be a wake up call to your organization that not all is well. If it is not, it is confirmation that you made the right choice! The world has far too many sleepy and non missional congregations and ministries. Deep influence is rarely found there.

I am so passionate about the cause I am a part of that I have told my family that if anything ever happens to me in the pursuit of that cause that they should know that I left this earth a happy and fulfilled man. The cause of the gospel is worth that to me and the multiplication of Gospel centered churches that bring hope to the hopeless and transformation to communities is worth every bit of energy I expend and even my life. It is a cause that is God sized, eternity driven and worth the “prize” that Paul speaks of for all of us.

People of deep influence are driven by a cause greater than themselves and one that has eternal consequences. They are driven by the same passion that drove Jesus to take the hard road to Gethsemane. They never settle for a life of comfort over a life of influence and impact and if it comes to it, they are willing to pay the price for that which they are passionate about – whatever it may be. Do you have such a cause?