Inspiring Passion for Your Cause

Dear Christian Radio,

Passion…just hearing the word should create a shift in posture. There’s a great debate circulating around that questions whether passion is inherent and organic or something that can be groomed and developed. Personally, I think it can be both; although admittedly, I’d prefer it to be all natural.  There is, however, concrete evidence that passion is learnable as well.

Ideally, you want your organization to attract like-minded and impassioned people to join your team. As the face of your organization, your passion is a rallying cry to others like you. Your passion for your cause is both contagious and attractive. Because of this, you must be diligent and patient when expanding your team.

Every job opening you post comes with a list of stated expectations. As you go through each resume’ you hope to find two or three sincerely passionate and equally qualified candidates. Unfortunately, more times than not, the passion you read about comes across as formulaic or forced. It’s not hard to hear the undertones of, “I need the money so…I’ll be passionate about whatever you want!” This makes finding a truly passionate person—the kind who would almost work for free out of his or her love for your mission—can be hard to find. Even so, it’s worth it to keep searching until the right fit comes along.

Hiring someone who lacks passion for your mission is a recipe for disappointment. At the very least, a wrong hire can hinder your organization’s ability to reach targeted goals. Passion fuels motivation; low motivation can quickly lead to foot dragging and delays. While skills and personality are important, they are not everything. Your potential hire may have talent in spades, but without passion your mission lacks significance in his or her eyes. That’s where the trouble begins. Here’s why: Passion can’t be faked—at least not for very long. In fact, faking passion is exhausting! The passionless employee can only keep up the team member charade for so long before burnout sets in.

Friend, it’s up to you to inspire passion in others. While finding a naturally passionate person to join the team is always ideal, actually inspiring passion in someone else is within your control right away. PAR’s Executive Vice President, Brian Sanders, has an oft-quoted phrase, “Passion has a half-life.” This simply means that—as a leader—you can only expect others to exhibit half of the passion you have for any certain thing. I whole-heartedly agree. This is where the inspiration part comes in.

First, even with those team members whose passion is off the charts, there is always room for more passion, excitement, and genuine joy in the work that they do. Nevertheless, there are always going to be slight differences in a person’s passion level since we are all wired differently with individual likes and dislikes. For example, I may be over-the-moon for radio programming while my colleague is all about revenue. Both are extremely important when it comes to achieving the radio station’s mission. The nuances don’t diminish our passion for radio ministry…one area simply excites one of us more than the other. However, if my passion for programming is a solid 10 out of 10, it may rub off on my colleague driving his passion for programming from a 3 to a 5. Similarly, my colleague’s excitement over revenue could create a renewed interest and passion in me. Allowing your excitement to inspire others can change attitudes from I’ll pass to I’m in!

Second, let’s say you have a team member who is losing their fire. As people who want to exercise grace, there are some areas where you can try and cast a fresh vision, speak life into, and attempt to add sparkle to the mundane. This is inspiring passion. Note: It’s not guaranteed to work. A separation may ultimately be in order. However, if you sense a team member is simply lacking passion temporarily, or just needs some fresh hope or motivation, paint the picture. Tell them about the dream! Create a little magic in their workplace! Connect the dots to show how their work is changing the world for Christ.

Finally, never underestimate your influence…your own passion can spur others to greatness. It’s not manufacturing passion in others or forcing something on to them. Instead, it’s adding a little kindling to a fire that should already be within that person. As for those less passionate players on your team, it’s time to be candid. Use your influence and your passion to lead them back into a “first love” of why their work matters. You will know soon enough if their passion can be revived. Doing so will make it clear who should be kept and who should be removed from your team. Letting people go—especially in ministry—is hard. Even so, keep this in mind—if a personnel change is required, you will be releasing that person to pursue their true passion, which ultimately is kindness in action.

Dear Christian Radio…

     1. Begin with a reality check. Your passion should be even higher than what you expect of your team. If you aren’t passionate, how can you expect them to be?
     2. Exude and exemplify your passion. Let it bubble out and run over! You should be known for the things about which you are passionate.
     3. Beware of false hope. A lull in passion for a short season is one thing, but a quick turnaround must be expected. Your mission can’t afford to stall out!


Daniel Britt
Vice President of Culture Integration
Positive Alternative Radio
General Manager, Joy FM

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