Motivational Tactics

Would you agree with the following statement?

We are trying to make church members do a lot of things they don’t want to do anyway. When the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, it will not be necessary to encourage the saints by prizes and picnics and periodic shots in the arm to do the will of God.

Vance Havner as quoted by Paul. W. Downey in More Than Spectators (Greenville: Ambassador Emerald, 2002), 21.

4 thoughts on “Motivational Tactics

  1. dale

    When believers come to absolute understanding that hell and damnation were removed from their eternity by the grace of God through Christ Jesus, our Savior, rewards for earthly good works look and feel cheap [because they are]. Basking in the glory of God for all eternity is the completion of our faith by the grace of God, what else do we need? Why in the world would anyone not want that for all people? God certainly does.

    People are lost and damned without Christ. Why should not this, in itself, motivate us to witness? “And you will be my witnesses…in the ministry of reconciliation” to merge the words of Christ with Paul, the Apostle.

    The answer to the world is Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, there are some who refuse to associate with “sinners” for fear of being tainted. How do we witness to them when we are so quick to judge their sin? I have my salvation, too bad if you don’t. Let God do our work. It’s the easy way out. Let’s just hang with those with whom we always agree: fellow saints. No challenges there.

  2. Andy Rupert

    Maybe another way to phrase it is, “When the church is struggling, to what do we turn?” Should activities, contests, and awards be the way to make the changes? They may have their place, but it is God that must bring revival and fruit (1 Cor. 2:1-5; 3:6-7). Perhaps we need more time spent in prayer and with people before using such things.

  3. dale

    You know, that is a good question rephrasing it that way. Seeing my students achieve their GED is really all the reward I need, but it does help when my boss tells me I have a high achievement rate on my site’s graduation stats.

    When I was in the Army at Ft Riley, I was awarded a few medals for meritorious service: big deal, nothing special, just doing the job [I don’t even know where they are today!]. It made me feel good, but didn’t make me any more or less responsible to do the best I could with whatever task I was given. The medals were not the reason for the good work that was recognized.

    The military gives rewards for numerous “above and beyond” acheivements, I can see where it may be OK to reward those for exemplary service in the cause of Christ. As long as it furthers the testimony of Christ and not the humanistic pride of the recipient, maybe it could be a good motivational tool. When rewards become the motivation, however, it turns not so good. Therein lies the quandry.

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