In this Worship Sound Bite, Steve Fry let’s us in on a conversation he had with God that changed the direction of his faith and taught him how to align with constant joy and peace.
“Why am I doing anything if not to give God pleasure? If I do anything for God where the motive is not to give him pleasure, I risk burnout.”
Steve has traveled many roads in his time in ministry including being the founding pastor at @thegatecommunitychurch, a former full-time musician, and worship leader. What’s he’s really addressing in this Sound Bite is the burnout that can be so common with not only church leaders, but all of us.
His wisdom teaches us that there’s a realignment that’s needed, which can bring us to a constant state of joy and peace. Just simply focusing on giving God pleasure. That’s it. That concept is both profound and encouraging. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all we need to “do” for God (listen to this amazing podcast by Curtis Zackery on that very topic), but when we boil it down to just trying to give God pleasure, we can achieve constant joy and peace.
Doing stuff for good motives, “but not the best” can lead to burnout. The best motive to do anything, according to Steve, is to give God pleasure.
More from Steve Fry
I think one of the- the markers for me, it’s almost like a spinal column that I have to keep, you know, aligning to. It’s not that I’m always in this kind of emotional, spiritual alignment, you know, day after day after day. But- but when I when I get out of sorts, when my attitude goes sideways or whatever, I realize I’m out of alignment. And one of the key things I found is to go back and check- check my motive. Why am I doing what I’m doing? So I actually learned this early on. I started as a youth pastor on the West Coast and lots of stories there. But one of the- one of the stories that I remember clearly, because it became a watershed in my life, was after several years, you know, the Lord been gracious to us.
We built a youth group. I say we, really God did it. But it was like several hundred young people, it was all cool. And- and yet I got to a place of real burnout, you know, after maybe six, seven years. And I was walking on the beach and saying, God, I, I don’t know what’s going on, but- but my- my peace, my shalom, this rest, we’re supposed to be moving out of inner rest, not-. I don’t even know what that is. Because I was so busy. I was such in an accelerated mode. And the Lord, in his graciousness, just began to ask me some questions, you know, about why I was doing what I was doing in that particular ministry. Again, young people, outreach, discipleship, all the rest. So- so he began to, in that still small voice of his, he began to probe my heart. And- and I just felt the questions come like something like this. Why do you have small groups? Why are you organizing young people into small groups all over the place? I said, “Well, because kids need discipling. They need- they need an opportunity to get in small group and process their faith and be discipled.”
And then I heard a little phrase come to my heart, “Good… but not the best.” Okay. Then the questions started coming in. Pretty rapid fire. Why are you evangelizing? Why- why do you have ministries like drama ministries and stuff that you’re doing to reach others? Well, because people need Jesus. People need the gospel. People need to hear, right? “Good… but not the best.” I think what is this? I just was crazy, like, okay, then why are you gathering young people in these large gatherings of worship? Because that was a real priority for us way back then: is worship. You know? Why are you doing? Well, because God, young people need to come together and- and be in the presence. In your presence and- and receive from you and all that good stuff.
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Known widely for penning such songs as Oh I Want to Know You More and Oh The Glory of Your Presence, Steve has traveled the globe speaking at churches and conferences, leading mission teams, and touring with his musicals We Are Called, Thy Kingdom Come, and Storyteller. He is the author of a number of books including the popular I AM: The Unveiling of God and True Freedom: What Christian Submission and Authority Look Like.