Spiritual Passion for Engineers

Engineers often fail to grasp evangelism

People who design things or engineer processes often have a hard time grasping the importance of spiritual passion for their local church. Recently, a pastor complained to me that his church leaders loved to do projects and fix things, but lacked the heart for mission or any enthusiasm for faith sharing. Evangelism is often a foreign concept for engineers. 

    There are key engineering concepts, however, that relate to spiritual passion. Framing our theology around these concepts will light a fire under our more process oriented members. Appropriately, there are three steps to this. First, is to speak about passionate spirituality as a measurable quantity in the life of the church. Just like the gasoline in your car or the altitude beneath an airliner, spiritual passion can be talked about as a needed component, which when lacking, can be disastrous. 

    Consider what happens in Mark 9:14-29. A man brings his demon possessed son to Jesus’ disciples, and even though they have watched Jesus for several years and participated in many healing demonstrations, they are unable to help the boy. Jesus takes over and does the same things that the disciples had been doing, but he has no problem driving the demon out. Was it a matter of his technique? No. We read:


 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

    Here, and many other places, Jesus seems to be saying that there is some quality or quantity built up in us by prayer. Jesus had sufficient spiritual passion, his disciples did not. Prayer is one of four processes (note, engineers like to talk about process) that raise spiritual passion in both individuals and in the church. Jesus also teaches us that prayer shouldn’t be just repetitive words or the rote performance of ritual (Matthew 6:5-13). That form of prayer is like eating celery, it burns more calories than it provides. 

    The prayer process that Jesus is talking about involves expectation. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Jesus formed the habit of praying with complete confidence that God both heard and would answer his prayers. Each time a prayer was successful, it reinforced this confidence. This is what engineers like to call, a feedback loop.

    In the local church we build feedback loops around prayer by asking people to report the answers they have received to their prayers. “Has God answered the prayer request you made two weeks ago?” Teachers, small group leaders, and committee chairs, should be taught to use high a expectation process with their group. They must both pray for individual concerns and allow time for reporting back on how God has acted in each of their meetings. Imagine your trustee or church council spending the first ten minutes of their meetings this way.

    There are three other processes that lift spiritual passion in individuals and in the church. They each have a critical quality, similar to expectation in prayer. Local church leaders, and particularly engineers, will appreciate the need to build appropriate feed back loops to support each spiritual passion lift point.

In summary, they are:


Lift Point


Feedback Loops



Reporting on results



Story telling, drama, covenant pairings and small group study



Focus on individual transformation (what difference has Jesus made?)



Each component has the appropriate emotional quality for its content (Invocation=expectation, confession=sorrow, salvation scriptures=joy, things about God=awe, etc.)


The first step in reaching engineers is to speak about Spiritual Passion as a quantifiable substance (see Hebrews 11:1 KJV, note the rest of the chapter supports the use of the word ‘substance’).  The second is to enlist engineers in the discovery of feedback loops within the local church. The third step involves appealing to the engineers basic understanding of beauty and duty. Engineers feel that a design is beautiful when it perfectly fulfills the specifications of the customer. God is the church’s only customer and your leadership are commissioned to design a church that optimizes the making of disciples in your neighborhood (see Matthew 28:19). If we can get our engineers to embrace God’s written specifications, then we may not have to explain a fuzzy idea like love to them.