Every Friday from 9am to 1pm we hold classes at the Vision Baptist Church to discuss missions and ministry. Our pastor, Austin Gardner, moderates it and many of the OGTC students, VBM missionaries and other missionaries drive in to participate in these Friday classes. If you are ever in the area and want to be challenged about missions and ministry, this class is for you! Today, specifically, we had a wonderful class and I was inspired to write this blog about Self Motivation as a result. I personally believe that being self-motivated could be the break point for many missionaries and ministries. Being self-motivated has EVERYTHING to do with missions and ministry!
It is a wonderful thing to be serving Christ and leading in some role of ministry, but the stumbling block comes for most of us when the physical work-day begins. At any secular job you have a boss that sets the schedule of when you have to be there, when you leave, when you take a break and what you have to do in order to get paid… but in the ministry (on the mission field, deputation or state-side ministries) you are your own boss. Many failures in ministry come from the lack of being self-motivated. If you are on deputation you have to get up and make calls, send information and visit the churches or you will never make it to the field. If you are on the mission field you have to go visit the people, prepare the messages and disciple the new converts or the churches will not grow. The ministry is wonderful, but if you lack being self-motivated, the ministry could be in serious trouble.
We all have room for improvement and we can all work on being self-motivated. Just as a man who starts a business will not succeed if he is not self-motivated, neither will a missionary or Christian worker advance in the ministry if he is not self-motivated. We all would agree that we would love to be “successful” (in whatever form you would consider that) in the ministry God has given us, but we must be willing to pay that price and do the work. We must learn to make a schedule and work that schedule. Write down a schedule of what you are going to do today as well as this week. As my pastor well put it, “there are only two schedules, a bum schedule and bust it schedule”. If we are going to get the job done, we have to take the initiative and do that work. Here are a few pointers on how all of us can be self-motivated people:
- Get up!
Sounds pretty easy, but simply set a alarm, get up, and get going to it is the solution. Getting up would be the first step. Get up out of our “normal” routine of taking it easy or just doing enough to say we worked. Get up out of our “normal” idea of what tasks can be accomplished in a day, week or ministry. Get up and out of bed and begin the first step towards the right direction. Solomon put it pretty plain when he asked the question in Proverbs 6:9 “when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?”. The first step towards being self-motivated and getting the job done would be simple to get up and start.
Getting up is the first step, but once we get up and decide it’s time to change or get rolling, it’s now time to put the hand to the plow… time to work. The man in a secular job has to be in at a certain time and leave at a certain time. Since we are in the ministry and are our own boss we may not have a set schedule, but we would all agree that God deserves more of our time and effort, not less. A person in the ministry that is going to get the job done will set a date and time and get it done. We would all laugh at the farmer who prayed for God to give him a good harvest and he didn’t even plant or left his tractor in the garage – it’s absurd… but so it is with the man in the ministry who doesn’t work and yet expects God to bless. We can speak of great faith, and without a doubt we need it, but faith should be backed up by our work. Paul knew it was all God that gave him the blessings and fruit and only by God’s grace, but he also stated very boldly: “I laboured more abundantly than they all” (I Corinthians 15:10). Oh yes we have a great need for God’s servants to be prayer warriors, but our prayers should be followed up with hands to the plow… good old fashioned work. Yes we need to decide to get up, but now it’s time to decide to get to work – long, hard and consistently until the job is done!
- Fix it Now!
The slothful’s favorite words are “but” and “tomorrow” – some good excuse to do it later. If we are going to get the job done, we need to do it right now! Don’t say I will do it tomorrow. If you won’t witness, study and work now, you never will tomorrow. Grab a paper, make a check list of what needs to be done and decide it must be done now. May God help all of us to decide that what must be done will be done now. Support needs to be raised, souls need to be saved, churches need to be started, men need to be discipled and prepared for the ministry, the language needs to be learned, material must be prepared, … but before we get overwhelmed with the big picture, we can all decide to take the first step and begin what must be done now.
Here to Serve,
General Director of Vision Baptist Missions