Motivation is central to the work of the church. Christians are motivated out of love (1 Cor 16:14), out of thankfulness (Eph. 5:20), out of calling (Matthew 28:19) and from future promises (Heb. 11:24-26).

We’re thankful for God’s rich mercy (Eph. 2:4) and that is enough to motivate us to serve Jesus faithfully.

I’m thankful for the ways that God motivates from the inside out. But I have been around the church all my life and have found that the church also needs “organizational motivation.” The wheels must keep spinning effectively to reach people for Christ. I believe this is the reason that God gave some to be pastors, some to be apostles, etc. (Eph. 4:11).

Good leaders help motivate people to live for Christ and serve Christ through the church. Here are seven ways effective pastors motivate:

Share the vision.

Vision is discovered, not invented. What is the vision for your church? Is it clear? Share it with those in your leadership teams and the congregation. People will rally around a vision and will do their part to help move forward. [Seven Important Reminders About Vision]

Let reasonable performance expectations be known.

Expectations can motivate your people. I’ve seen this work as new attenders move toward membership. I’ve seen it work with church staff and leaders. It may be a bit counter-intuitive. A person might think that expectations turn people away. In reality, people want to give their time and their life to something that is going to be effective and make a difference. [The ABC’s Of A High Performance Church Staff]

Put people above the program.

Effective pastors and church leaders instinctively know that people are more important than the program, but it’s easy to get it flipped around at times. One way we motivate is to care, encourage and nurture those around, even as they are serving their hearts out to help programs happen. [Ministry Is About People]   [The Real Power of Ministry Programs]

Deliver on promises.

Church leaders must be faithful to deliver on promises. Of course, there are times when things slip through the cracks. but if we consistently fail to do what we say we will do (or things we should be doing), the motivation of our people will fade. [Everyone Wins When The Leader Gets Better]

Support with resources, encouragement, and rewards.

Church leaders have the opportunity to support their teams and their congregation. Be sure they have what they need to accomplish their ministry. Bend over backward to make sure the time they invest as a volunteer is rewarding and fruitful. Thank them, encourage them, and reward their work. [How to Pay Your Volunteer Teams]

Pray for your ministry and team.

Do you have a prayer plan for your leaders? Spend time praying for them and with them. [Develop a Prayer Plan and Watch God Work]

Genuinely deflect praise to the entire team.

Motivation increases the more we can honestly say “we did it!”. When successes come, pass along comments and praise to the church, the team and other leaders. Celebrate the wins. Give God glory!

Some of these thoughts were inspired from an older book called The Second Coming Of The Church by George Barna, You can pick up a $4.99 kindle copy here.

I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leadersstudent ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.


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