Category Archives: Leadership

Motivational Speakers

Contemporary motivational speakers are those who give comments that will motivate a person to do something.  They don’t motivate a person to do something that person didn’t originally want to do, but something they already felt like doing.  In other words, motivational speech doesn’t have any effect on a person unless they were in agreement in the first place.  Adolph Hitler was a great motivational speaker, as was Mao Tsi Dong, Joseph Stalin and Barak Obama.  They were (and are) masters at finding things that people want and presenting it in a way to motivate and inspire people.  On the whole, contemporary motivational speakers are “martial arts encouragers.”  They use a persons strengths and weaknesses against them, in order to get them to do what they want them to do–usually to buy a product or financially support a cause.  In order to accomplish their unseen agenda, they must be sure to stay away from anything negative, else their victims, like the rabbit who is almost caught in the snare, comes to the sudden realization that they are to be trapped, and hop away breathing a sigh of relief.

 The truth is, there are two kinds of motivational speakers: Those who tell you what you want to hear (like cheer leaders) and those who tell you what you don’t want to hear (like preaching about sin and death); Jesus was the latter.  In fact, all of the prophets and preachers of God in the Bible were of the latter sort.  They had a message of hope that was coupled with a message of doom and destruction.  It is the message of doom and destruction, coupled with the anger of God displayed in His wrath that was the motivational injection that lethargic people needed.  When Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), the Pharisees were shocked into doing something.  Noah said, “God’s gonna make it rain and flood the earth killing every living thing.  That’s why I’m building this here boat.”  He was scoffed at until God’s wrath was coupled with the message this preacher of righteousness had (2 Peter 2:5).  They were motivated when they were suddenly caught in the snare of the Devil.  With their negative message of destruction came a message of hope; they were coupled together.

 The negative message first identifies a need in a persons life.  It is a message of judgment and sentence.  It is meant to be a warning of some bad or sinful action.  It is designed to “wake people up” (1 Cor. 15:34; Rom. 13:11) from a dangerous activity, thought or influence.  Then there is hope.  Until then, a message of hope cannot be given because the people will not take it seriously.  There is nothing to motivate them; nothing to move them or provoke them to do something about their evil ways.  A fitting example of this is seen in the preaching of the prophet Zephaniah.  He brought the message that the Lord was determined to pour His indignation upon the nations.  The message further said that God was going to devour all the earth with the fire of His jealousy (Zeph. 3:8).  A negative message to be sure.  Why?  Why such a message from the Lord?  Because God wanted to motivate people to call upon Him (Zeph. 3:9).  First the negative, then the positive.  This is Biblical and true motivational speaking, and it comes with a price.

John the Baptist had a very motivational message that he preached in the wilderness.  It so motivated people that King Herod wanted to hear it for himself.  But when John came into his presence, Herod did not like what he heard.  He did not hear a sickening sweet motivational speech doting on all of Herod’s achievements.  He heard John talk to him about his brother Philip’s wife, to whom he was not wed.  John said, “…It is not lawful for thee to have her.” (Matt. 14:4).  How did this motivate Herod?  It certainly didn’t make him leave the encounter feeling good about himself.  In fact, Herod wanted to “…put him to death…” (Matt. 14:5).  After some time of imprisonment, this is exactly what happened (Matt. 14:9-10).

So it is no secret that people don’t like to hear negative preaching, and sometimes it cost the preacher, but people need it.  They need it to motivate them to do right.  Without the negative message, coupled with the wrath of God, people are left to their own devices.  And what parent would leave their children to their own with no discipline?  Only those who don’t love them.  Positive reinforcement never did anything for anybody other than to give the parent a way of escape from disciplining their children.  It provides a good way to pass the responsibility on to others.

Preachers who are not regularly preaching against sin, are doing their congregations a huge disservice.  They are taking the easy way out; trying to be their friends and be hugely popular.  It is always easier to let someone else discipline the members of your church, but God will not hold such preachers unaccountable.  Weak-kneed preaching on sin equals popularity, but is comes with a price–skin deep Christians who are looking to have a good time on this earth and enjoy it until Jesus gets back.  That is a foolish surmise.

We have a job to do.  We are to tell people about Jesus and the gospel.  Jesus never told us to have a good time of fellowship until he came back.  That is the equivalent of taking your talent and burying it in the sand.  That will make Jesus mad.  Has any preacher ever told you that if you are not doing something to win souls to Jesus, you are inviting trouble into your life?  That God will be mad about that?  Why not?  That wouldn’t be very motivational by today’s standards, but it sure goes a long way with God.  Would you hate your preacher for telling you that truth?  Would you leave the church?  Or, would you try to do something about it?  After all, you do know the Lord is coming back, don’t you?

Many Christians know this.  But they just want to have a good time and get by until He comes.  After all, is it a sin to enjoy life?  Of course not, but it will only be enjoyable up until you see the scowl on the face of the Saviour when He turns His eyes upon you and asks, “What did you do about what I asked you to do?”

There are two kinds of motivational speakers:  One that tells you what you want to hear, and one that tells you what you need to hear.  Both are motivational.  The main difference between the two is your attitude in the way you take their message.

Selling Out

Today, there are more preachers than ever who are selling out on the Lord Jesus Christ.  In order to accommodate worldly Christians, they begin to compromise on their convictions.  In order to entice the world to come to their churches, they compromise on God.  Instead of giving people what they need, they give them what they want; a dangerous thing to do indeed!  Like the parent who always gives in to their child and gives them everything they want, instead of what they need, they raise up spoiled, rebellious, selfish church members, who “shop” for churches instead of letting God lead them.

When preachers sell out for what is convenient instead of that which cost, they are not acting like men.  They are most probably being run by their wives.  Every Christian is commanded to (1 Cor. 16:13)  “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”  This goes especially for preachers.  Why would God have to exhort Christians to be a man about things?  Because some men take the timid way out.  They are too afraid of the tough road of watching, standing and being strong.  They capitulate into the Devil’s hands.  Preachers wives are not innocent in this either.  If they were standing behind their men, satisfied to be their wives instead of needing self-gratification somewhere else, then preachers would have encouragement at home.  In fact, Preachers wives can be key to the success of the ministry of pastors.

I cannot think of one pastor who has been successful in the ministry who did not have his wife satisfied to be his supporter.  Notice I didn’t say that she “claims” to support her husband.  I mean she is a keeper at home first.  A lady who takes care of the burden of the home life in a large way so he is free to give his time to the ministry.  I do not mean an anchor who actually holds him back.  This takes sacrifice on her part so most pastor’s wives take this on as their purpose in life and are satisfied completely in it.  No man will be able to “be strong” “like men” should be when he has to be mama at the same time, but their are few exceptions to this rule.

When things get out of whack, and God has to remind us to be strong like men should be, He says it for a reason.  Not only is there a “selling out” on the home front, but their is a selling out on manhood as well.  This is mainly accomplished by worldly influence.  This is usually seen in trying to be “all things to all men” while at the same time, NOT trying to get people saved.

The devil would like to replace soul winning with anything appealing, (or even logical), except soul winning.  Charts and status and figures, all meant to be helpful, are in fact hurtful because they lead a preacher away from soul winning.  I have sat in on evangelism meetings that did not mention one peep about soul winning at all.  Oh, there was talk about development and planning in a logical and methodical way, but winning a soul was no where in sight.  Weak, worldly, feminine Preachers allow planning and organizing to replace soul winning.  As I said before, it is not bad to plan and organize, but to stop there, and not win souls, is the great demise.

It is sad that God has to remind men to “get a backbone.”  If preachers did, then they would be certainly less miserable in the ministry.  In this area they are actually putting themselves, their families and their churches in bondage.  So God has to remind us to not only get a backbone, but to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  (Gal. 5:1).

I guess God knows our nature is to return to the worldly way of doing things.  Of course, the worldly way is a way of bondage that is hard to break free of once we are weighted down with it’s burden.  He knows that the temptation to return to doing things like everyone else would be so strong that He had to tell us to “Stand Fast!”  Is there anyone reading this article who needs to know what that means?  Is the inference not clear?  Does anyone who has been truly saved not know the liberty that comes with Christ?  Why then do Christians, (and even preachers), feel that the ministry is a burden?  Why do they feel in bondage?  It is because they have moved away from Christ.  They have entangled themselves with the worldly way of doing things.  For preachers, this may mean trying to do things “like all of the other churches do” so they can build a congregation of hapless drones.  They want to please all of the Christian prima donna’s (def: a vain or undisciplined person who finds it difficult to work under direction or as part of a team.).   They become a compromiser in the name of “being called”, but they are no more called than Jack-the-Ripper.  Instead of carrying the burden the Lord has placed on them, they would rather have the burden of worldly entanglement.  Preachers who are thus, are not called at all.  In fact they are not even preachers.  All Biblical preachers suffered persecution and loss.  Some were turned on even by their own families.  Some died stranded and alone.  Others were tortured and killed.  They certainly didn’t achieve such wonderful fates by tickling the public’s fancy.

Real preachers strive.  They strive for the faith of the gospel.  They strive for unity of the mind and spirit.  Philippians 1:27 tells us to “…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  God must have known that the ministry would not be a “bed of roses.”  He must have known that it would take some fighting; a little bit of blood, sweat and tears.  He must have known that the Devil would try to get preachers to “cash it in” for an easier, more elaborate and fulfilling “ministry” than the one He assigned them to.  Preachers sell out easily because the going gets tough.  They are constantly surrounded by negative news; people always tell the preachers the bad things that are happening in their life.  Preachers are constantly being criticized and talked about behind their backs.  In so doing, the “brethren” are actually tearing down everything that they worked for while at the same time “talking it up” to their faces.  It is not a job for the weak man; and there are many of them who “think” they are called because all they see is the wonderful aspects of the job without ever delving into the inner workings.  But, when they do, they throw up their hands and surrender.

They surrender first on doctrine.  This is because doctrine divides, and it needs to be divided correctly (2 Tim. 2:15).  Compromising of doctrine is the first step to a long and lonely downhill fall away from God.  Most preachers give up on this first because it takes work; it takes a lot of time in the study to make sure you know what is correct and what is not.  So, the preacher with a wet noodle for a backbone will depend on what someone else wrote in a book and teach it before they will put in the effort to study for themselves.  It would be wonderful if they would take a pop quiz every once in awhile.  I do so by asking if the congregation has any questions.  That is when I am on the “hot seat”, and I have learned much about doctrine by my study for the answers to those questions.

After doctrine goes out the door, then everything else follows suit: (dress, music, interests, books, denominations, salvation, baptism, communion, etc.)  they become weak, sickly “sharers” of the word; and I am not sure you can even call it that.  It is ungodly (2 Tim. 2:16)!  It is manly!  It eats up the body of Christ all in the name of “being fair to everyone.”  It is in error and it overthrows the faith of some (2 Tim. 2:18), starting with their own families especially.

When all is said and done, preachers, like everyone else, are commanded to, “…stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:15).  There is a tradition (Def: The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another.) to uphold.  If preachers would just hold fast to that which they have been taught instead of constantly trying to improve on the plan, then the Christian world of today wouldn’t have near the problems that it does.  It is good to improve on one’s understanding of self, but the plan was given by God Himself and needs no improvement.  In fact, it is a perfect plan:  go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  Win souls.  Show people how to be saved.  Train up the Saints so they can win souls as well.  This is God’s plan and there is no improvement upon it.  What it lacks is preachers with a backbone who are truly called to stand up and stand fast.  It needs preachers who won’t SELL OUT for that which is convenient.

Motives of a Witnessing Church

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).

There are many places where Jesus warned against the danger of false motives. In giving, He reminded us that we must not give our tithes in order to receive glory of people (Matt. 6:1–4). He also warned us against praying to receive applause of people; prayer is for conversing with God rather than a speech to be heard and admired by people (Matt. 6:5 – 6). He warned us against displaying our personal godliness by revealing our private spiritual disciplines so as to win the approval of people (Matt. 6:16–18). Regarding these two things, Jesus was talking to his disciples about proper motivation. He declared that all worship and service should be motivated by the single desire to please God.

A motive is something which “moves.” What the mainspring is to the clock, motives are to the Christian, what the motor is to the automobile.  Motives certainly do affect our lives in many ways.  Some examples of these are:

  • Selfishness — everyone likes to feel important;
  • Self-gratification — we like that which pleases us personally, and we like to have our own way;
  • Self-interest — it is human nature for each of us to look out for the best interest of self. We find it easy, even if unconsciously, to ask, “What’s in it for me?”

One does not have to be an expert in motivational research to know that the above motives are inadequate for those who would invest their lives in the Service of God and others most effectively.

When examining the early church in the book of Acts, we discover what it was that made the church so effective.  Just as well, we see that they did not serve purely out of love. They were human beings like us, and they served out of mingled motives rather than the pure motive of love for God and love for others.

The early church achieved one success after another in what appeared to be an impossible assignment with tremendous handicaps. The book of Acts is a thrilling success story. What were the motives of the early Christians? Can we have the same motives today? Why did the early Christians witness so faithfully?

They discovered the joy of being a bearer of good news (Acts 2:41 – 47; 5:42; 8:8).  In obedience to the command of the Lord, by word of mouth, they spread the good news of his resurrection. They proclaimed God’s love for sinners and his desire to forgive sin. They could not conceal the good news that death had been defeated and that the grave had been robbed of its victory. This was such wonderful news that it brought joy to their hearts just to bear it. For them, witnessing about the saving acts of Jesus Christ was natural. Not to have done so would have been unnatural, inhuman, and unchristian for them. They received great inward joy through witnessing.

The early church recognized and responded to the authority of the crucified but risen and living Lord (Matt. 28:18b; Acts 2:36; 5:29).  They believed that God had resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead and had bestowed upon him the authority of lordship. They believed that this gave Jesus the right to issue orders and to command their time, talents, testimony, and treasure.

These early Christians believed that it was right for them to obey Christ even if this obedience brought them into disfavor with both religious and civil authorities. At the risk of being imprisoned and beaten, they chose to obey the Lord.

Many of today’s Christians consider obedience as being optional. There seems to be little recognition of the present lordship of Jesus Christ. Consequently, disobedience characterizes the modern Christian more so than does obedience.  Perhaps this is why the church is not effective today.  Perhaps this is even why the world seems to be changing so drastically towards evil.  It certainly has some effect, not only on the Christian, but on the world surrounding him as well.  The motives of the Christians of the early church were a strong sense of duty, the desire to be obedient.  This is the critical element that helped motivate the early church to be a faithful witness to their generation.  They paid dearly for their motives, and their sacrifice made it easier on the church which was to follow.  But today, there has been a moving away from what they gained in the world, and it is none more evident as it is in the USA, where everything seems to be “fundamentally changing.”

Yes, the early church suffered the shock of persecution (Acts 8:3–4).  It was this persecution that scattered the early Christians, even though they were very nationalistic and felt that Christianity was a Jewish movement. They were prejudiced against Gentiles to the extent that God put forth special efforts to reveal that the Gentiles were also included in his love and purpose of redemption (Acts 10). Had it not been for the persecution that stirred up the church in Jerusalem, it is highly possible that Christianity never would have gained worldwide significance. The early Christians went everywhere preaching the Word, not because of the compulsion of compassion, but because they were scattered by persecution.

They could have given up on Christianity.  They could have just quit.  But, they were surrendered to the leadership of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2; 16:6).  The Holy Spirit came into the church on the day of Pentecost to equip each believer to be a spokesperson for God (Acts 2:17–18). He came to lead, guide, and teach the disciples as the Lord had taught his apostles (John 14:26). The book of Acts is the dramatic account of divine initiative on the part of the Holy Spirit and human cooperation on the part of our Lord’s disciples. They lived and labored in fellowship with and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is still in the heart of each believer and in the church to carry on the work of the Lord today. We need faith to believe and accept that He is present; we need to surrender and cooperate with Him. We need to pray for His power as one of God’s best gifts (Luke 11:13).

The early church believed that all people separated from Christ were lost from God and did not know the way home (Acts 4:12).  Have you ever been lost in a wilderness or desert? Were you ever lost as a child in the park or in a large department store? Can you remember the fright that filled your heart when you realized you were separated from loved ones and that you were in a position of danger?  The unbelieving world knows that something is wrong, but many do not know what it is. People have a deep, unsatisfied longing in their hearts that the world, with its treasures and pleasures cannot satisfy. The Bible teaches, and experience verifies, that Jesus Christ provides the answers to the mystery and meaning of life.

The early church believed that people were lost from God and living under the condemnation of sin. They believed that humankind’s only hope of forgiveness was through faith in Jesus Christ. They believed that they had been entrusted with the good news that would make it possible for people to be saved from hell and to heaven where the deepest longings of the heart would find full satisfaction in continuing fellowship with God. Because they wanted all people to be saved, they continued to bear their witness.

It was the natural, normal, and proper thing for a Christian to talk about the joy and satisfaction of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior both in time and for eternity. Consequently, day by day and week by week in the temple, in the synagogues, on the highways and streets — anywhere and everywhere — these early disciples bore their witness. With mingled motives, they loved, they labored, and they lifted men and women toward God. May the same motives command our intellect, our emotions, and our energies in the Service of God and of a needy world.

Indicators of a Healthy, New Testament Church.

God’s Word is exalted

 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”—2 Tim. 3:16-17

A healthy church is one that has at its very center: the Word of God.  There is no other substitute.  The statute of the church is the exaltation of God’s Word, and nothing else.  There is no “program” or “social function” that is to eclipse this all important decree.  The Bible is the only thing that is “profitable” for the church.  Everything else is secondary.  A Church that does not “major” on the Bible is one that “minors” on God.  Yon cannot have God without His Word, and you cannot have His Word without having God as well—the two are synonyms.

Spiritually Passionate

“…Be filled with the Spirit;” —Eph. 5:18-21

“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” —Eph. 6:10

Experiencing God and following Him are indications of the health of the ministry.  Being “Spiritually minded” will transform you into seeing things God’s way, and this is the goal.  The power and closeness of the Holy Spirit allows us to live genuine Christian lives because the Spirit always teaches us to depend on God and not self.  The more we yield to the Spirit the less we yield to self.  This can be measured in the prayer life of the church as well as the members.  Prayer is a reflection of a deep dependence upon God.  Any church that has a weak prayer life is not healthy because they are not spiritually passionate.

Envelopment in Evangelism

“The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” —Luke 19:10

The church that is healthy is driven to reach it’s community, nation, and the entire world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The budget of such a church would most likely reflect a high commitment to outreach, both locally and worldwide. Winning souls for Christ produces committed disciples of the Lord.  A church waning in it’s evangelism program becomes stagnant and self-centered.  True! Not everybody can go out to win souls, but each saint “rubs elbows” with someone.  Everybody can give a tract with a stranger or leave it at a strategic place in the community.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  Someone told each of us about Christ.  We are indebted to them and out debt can be repaid by telling others about Jesus.  Not only that, A church that seeks to win souls for Christ is a church that is obedient to the Lord’s command to go into all the world to preach the gospel.  Evangelism is essential for the health of a Christian and this is true for the church as well.  Nothing sparks revival in the church more than people getting saved.

Spirit-felt Worship

“Make a joyful noise…come before his presence with singing…Enter into his gates with thanksgiving…” —Psalm 100

Inspiring worship that glorifies God and connects the hearts, minds, and emotions of people with God must be a trait of our group worship. Healthy churches are characterized by a spirit of joy expressed in worship.  The downhearted are picked up, the weary are revived, the discouraged are encouraged, the batteries are charged.  There is something that happens during a healthy, “Spirit-filled” worship service.  It is easy to identify an unhealthy trait of the church when the worship service is not a “worship” service at all, but a laborious endurance of time.  Heaven is not filled with the “stuffed” shirt, lemon faced Christian, nor should the church be.

Great Commission Emphasized

“Go ye Therefore…” —Matt. 28:19-20

Our churches must have a clear sense of God’s mission and a compelling vision for the future clearly communicated.  It should be with such clarity that it becomes “owned” by the members who should eventually display a commitment to it. It should be so emphasized as to guide all the ministries and decisions of the church. It should be embedded in the church structure and purpose.

Leadership Development

“…commit thou to faithful men…” —2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Pet. 5:1-11; Eph. 4:11-16

Healthy churches should be committed to leadership development of not only women, but most importantly—men. The desire should be to train, godly men who are spiritually mature to lead our congregations. A healthy church desires to see mature leaders positioned in ministry as workers for the harvest. Healthy leaders not only promote the spiritual growth of the members, but also develop others in ministry and in the family unit.  Too many men are sitting at home letting their wives do all of the spiritual leading of their family.  Men need to take the leadership responsibility for the spiritual development of their family as well as the church.

Church Planting

“…in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost partof the earth” —Acts 1:8

Healthy churches are committed to, and involved in, reproducing themselves. They have a vision for planting or facilitating the planting of churches in nearby communities, as well as the world. There would be no church if some other church was not given to this task because churches are only produced by churches.  The cry that churches are slowly dwindling in number is a conviction that churches are not doing what they should be doing—planting other churches.

Rich in Good Works

“Nor trust in undertain riches…do good, that they be rich in good works…Laying up…a good foundation…” —1 Tim. 6:17-19

Healthy churches demonstrate faithful stewardship and investment of all the resources God has entrusted to them. This begins by a church meeting its own needs and overflows to advance God’s work and meet the needs of others. Education of  Stewardship is emphasized, and pastors must address the issue of time, money, skills, and possessions in a biblical, relevant, and practical way. There should be no “empire building” for the church.  Resources should be “first class” but used in the proper manner for the calling that God places on the church.  Involvement in caring for those who are hungry, hopeless, and hurting instills a vivrant aire about the church because it is more blessed to give than to receive, but this ministry should never exceed that of the primary mission of the church: Worship God, win souls to Christ, Disciple saints.

Intentional Disciple making

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” —Matt. 28:19-20

Disciple making builds mature Christians who can promote spiritual growth of all members. Such disciple making ministries help believers move from a new life in Christ to an alignment of all personal priorities with the Lordship of Christ, whatever the cost.  In short, it moves the Saints from being raw Christian recruits to Christian veterans.  A healthy church is committed to disciplining the Saints to Spiritual maturity.

Loving Relationships

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one another.” —John 13:35

Recognizing that all people are made in God’s image and are loved by Him, the church must reach across cultural, social, economic, and racial lines with practical acts of love within the church and the community. Ministries should always address people’s spiritual needs. When churches are characterized by believers who are committed to the reconciliation of relationships among people, it is a sign of good health. Within the local church, loving relationships produce unity, accountability, including loving discipline, and a powerful demonstration of God’s presence within our communities. Beyond the local church, they are manifested in cooperation and interdependent relationships with other Christians locally, nationally, and internationally.