March 23, 2018

What Motivates You?

If you listen to my podcast and you've listened to my conversation with Dan So (part one and two) you know that I don't think there is just one kind of church planter. There are a lot of church planting assessments that assesses the proclivities of an individual towards being a church planter. I don't think the right question is whether or not someone is a church planter. The better question is what kind of church planter is someone.

Increasingly, my hunch is that what motivates you trumps all other indicators as to whether you're called to church planting or not. If you're motivation is to prove something, you'll likely bail out once you see something else that will help you prove to others how awesome you are. If you want to be your own boss, you'll walk away once you realize that you work for everyone you serve. What motivates you is critical. Some academics call this intrinsic motivation or self-determination. In Christian jargon, this means that you have to be internally motivated by the gospel, the good news of what God is doing in the world through Jesus and inside you too.

Answer this question: Why are you starting a new faith community?

One can discover what motivates you by listening to how you answer this question and the stories you tell about your work. Because the stories we tell convey what we value. Our stories communicate to others what it is we measure, what we count.

As a side note, you know what too many mainline church starters count? Being inoffensive. You can tell by the stories they tell. Being sensitive to the pain that some Christians and church traditions have caused is critical. But you need to be motivated by something more.

Those that are motivated, deep inside, by something more than this are unstoppable. I have met extroverts that knew everyone in their context. They were dynamic and articulate ... but they couldn't launch. I've met introverts that have surpassed every expectation in launching a new community, expanding their ministry at a rate that blew away every estimation of their capacity. What was the difference? What motivated them.

There's not one personality type to be a new faith community developer. But you need to be motivated internally to see the good news of God shared with others.

If you've told yourself that you're not the kind of person to start a new faith community I have a request:

Don't write yourself off so easy.

You may be the leader someone out there is waiting for.

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