Have you ever been around someone that is really passionate? Even if you aren’t interested in the same things, the passion of that person begins to rub off on you. You start wondering why they are so hooked on a specific idea, career, or hobby. Their passion even causes you to begin looking into it yourself. Passion is contagious!

I recently returned from a short trip to Haiti where I had the opportunity to teach at a conference for over 100 pastors from around the northern part of the country. Going into the trip, I had some high expectations and hopes for what I might learn while in Haiti (which you can read more about in a previous blog post). However, I think I may have learned something even more beneficial and profound that wasn’t on my original list.

While spending time with these pastors for several days, I began to realize they had a unique passion for God’s Word. They were hungry to learn more and become better equipped for the ministry. While I have books and commentaries available to me all the time, these men were eager to hear teaching about the Bible and the Church because they don’t have the same resources at their fingertips. Even without abundant resources it was clear that these men devoured God’s Word, committed it to memory, and trusted in God’s truth. They were passionate!

One morning I referred to Psalm 1 and asked my translator to read it aloud in French. I took out my Bible and was flipping pages on my way to the Psalms when everyone began to speak. Their Bibles were closed in their laps and they began to recite, all together, Psalm 1 from memory. Not a single Haitian in the room was silent…only me. I quickly realized my hunger and devotion to studying and memorizing God’s Word didn’t run quite as deep as theirs. The passion they had was starting to rub off on me.

Upon returning home I have been forced to reflect on this question: Am I as passionate about the Lord as those men are? They were passionate about God’s Word, passionate about preaching the good news, passionate about seeing churches planted and lost people found. It was obvious to me because passion is contagious. Do people see this kind of passion in my life?

I want to be a man who is passionate about the right things. I don’t want the focus of my life to be on sports and hobbies that distract and waste a great deal of attention. I want people to be able to see in me a strong desire to know and follow Christ, to multiply followers of Jesus, and to see the nations reached with the Gospel. I want to have the kind of passion for God and His mission that’s contagious!

Dustin Speaks is the Mission Mobilization Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports—basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.