Combine Two Things | Len's Lightbulbs

by Len Wilson

The secret is not to have a passion. It’s to have two passions.

Let me explain.

When I was in college, I felt God’s nudge in my heart to communicate the gospel. It was THE calling for my life. I was sure of it. I had a passion for communication, and I had a passion for ministry.

So I talked to every mentor and authority figure I met about it. No one helped. No one understood what I was talking about. I either got advice to pursue one field or the other.

I decided to go to graduate school for communication, because I’d been accepted to an Ivy League school, and why would you not say yes to that?

But once there – on the other side of the country – my calling to church and to communicate the gospel remained. I was at the Annenberg School, the premiere communication school in the country, and I was miserable and stuck.

Then I read a book by a Yale professor named William Fore. It was about television, religion, and society. I was pumped up.

So, naturally, I called him. I asked him the same question I’d asked everyone I met: how do I turn this passion into a profession?

He told me that I needed to finish my degree at Annenberg and then get a Master’s of Divinity degree. I was so demoralized. Woulda been in school until I was 30. I hated that advice, but I didn’t know what to do. Should I drop one of them?

A month later, I discovered a seminary in Ohio that had already combined them together, and was offering a Master of Arts degree in Religious Commuincation. The first of its kind anywhere. So I transferred.

Out of sheer obstinance and stubbornness, I held on to both passions. I didn’t see any other way to live.

And good thing! Because after seminary ended, a door opened for me to take a full-time job filling a large screen in a sanctuary with weekly visual images – something unheard of in 1995.

What I discovered was that the secret to creativity and innovation, and good career launches, isn’t to have a passion. It is to have two passions. And to hang on to both for dear life while they collide. It’s when you combine them that innovation happens, and innovation is a fancy word for what happens when you truly, and not just in your rhetoric, help change the world, even if just a little.