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How did Jesus motivate people to action?

I have been born again for coming up on 30 years. In those 30 years, I have attended a lot of church/worship services, small groups, and heard a lot of teaching. I have been apart of different denominational churches, non-denominational movements, and para-church ministries in the US, Australia, India, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, England, and Ethiopia. Each community has its own culture that emphasizes different aspect of God. I’ve been to churches where the culture was High-Church with liturgy & lots of incense, crazy church with heavy holy spirit & lots of oil. I’ve heard teachings that was like a large counseling session, a comedy routine, a half-time locker room hype talk, a Power of God encounter and a professor’s lecture. God could be found in some shape or form in each of these communities. I love the diversity of God’s people and the way God is celebrated or revered in each of them.

I have  felt pulled on by some of these groups. One church had a ministry model that required a lot of volunteers to pull off multiple Sunday services. For example, the 1st grade Sunday school class would require a team of 6 for one of their multiple services. As they grew, the need for volunteers exploded. Being there I felt pulled on all the time to demonstrate my devout Christian-ness by jumping on board with their approach. I witnessed multiple people who were willing but spiritually undernourished and overworked get pretty jaded, dropping out altogether after 2-3 years on the Church volunteer treadmill.

I believe Jesus motives us, not by standing in front pulling us into stuff that we don’t really want to do. I believe He stands behind us like a wind blowing on a sailboat pushing us into motion.

His voice is like a whisper in our ear, inviting us, awaking desire in us, rather than a shout in our face to get on board with “serving him” to demonstrate our penitence and commitment. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isiah 30:21

I used to know a Guy that had a God sized dream to mentor under privileged kids without Dads. He was in his early 20’s and did not know what to do with it. The church we went to did not have a “program” to do that. There were other things for us to do. I would listen to him light up with God sized ideas and excitement when he would talk about it. God was pushing wind in his sails but he was pulled into other activities that church was doing. That ministry never happened. I’m always sad when I think about how many God inspired, creative ways to extend his kingdom are out there that never see the light of day.

Neil Anderson uses our identity in Christ as a key “bondage breaker” method to set people free from the prisons we get entangled in & drive many to ‘service’, out of obligation. It has been my experience when Churches, Ministries, etc.. focus on our identity in Christ and all he has already done to empower us to live different, people are naturally motivated. They don’t feel pressured; it becomes their joy to contribute what God has put in them to give. But it may not be totally in line to church or group culture, but it could augment, enhance, enrich the vision of the group if they would be open to God’s inspiration that comes from the body not the chairmen of the board.

I know of one person today that carries the heart of God about creating communities, but he is apart of a signs & wonders church that move from one holy spirit event to the next having powerful encounters. Yet the church lacks community, a sense of being known and knowing/loving one another. He is carrying something from God for that community that is not totally in line with what the Church is about or what church leadership emphasize. But what he carries would so ‘enhance, augment, enriches that community if they would give it room. Sounds like the “body” with it different functions, different glories being brought to the community.

Erwin McManus – Pastor of Mosaic a very creative Christian community in LA has one of the best views I’ve heard on this point

“When the church becomes an institution, people are nothing more than volunteers to be recruited. When the church is a movement, our stewardship becomes the unleashing of our God-given gifts, talents, and passions. My goal is NOT to cast a vision that everyone buys into, but to create a visional community where everyone who enters in begins to have while and God-sized dreams and visions. As much complexity as this brings and as much instability as this creates, it pales in comparison to watching lives being wasted on careers and occupations that were taken on as a results of obligations or lack of courage to pursue the dreams (from God) that were waiting to be realized.”– the Barbarian way

Be committed to recognize the wind of God in someone’s sails and be the person that cheers and supports what God is doing vs. pulling on those same people to do a lifeless volunteer thing just because that is “what we always do”..

About the Author

I am a fierce Jesus follower, husband of 1 beautiful wife , father of 4 amazing people & a restless creative. Former hardcore punk singer, youth pastor, busker, drug counselor, train hopper, long boarder, exotic fruit farmer, nonprofit president, hitchhiker & Seminarian. Current blogger, podcaster, business owner, and corporate cubicle farm dweller in marketing.

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