Unlocking the Five Motivations for Work in Your Ministry Leadership

We all have motivations that get us out of bed in the morning. And, we all have a wide array of forces that impact our sense of identity as it relates to work.

I have found it helpful to identify these and to explore their interrelationship. In doing so there are multiple benefits to fortifying your life as a ministry leader. In fact, great leaders deeply understand these benefits  in their own life. In addition, these motivations and the benefits of understanding them, become very helpful in stewarding the gifts and talents of others. What are the benefits of exploring the five motivations? They include:

  • Building self-awareness
  • Bringing a higher perspective to everyday work 
  • Enhancing a God-focused life
  • Aiding in value-based, directional career decision-making 
  • Finding health and balance in your job. 

Explore these  five motivations for your work. While some of these categories may be defined from a negative point of view, (Careerism is selfish), I consider them from positive perspective.

#1 Work as Job: “I get paid in order to live.”

All of us, with few exceptions, start here. You get a job to put bread on the table and to pay the rent. It’s a baseline and noble motivation- survival.

#2 Work as Career: “I advance my life.” 

In addition to getting paid, its nice to know you will get paid more in the future. Progress is a life impulse biologically and emotionally. When you ad a little testosterone to the equation, watch out.  The impetus to win and to have more influence and to “better your position” becomes a significant, if not dominating motive for most people. While Jesus never rebukes the motivation for progress, he does rebuke the selfish and worldly interpretation of what progress looks like (lording over people verses serving them).

#3 Work as Fulfillment: “I enjoy using my life’s talents and abilities.” 

When people cultivate an awareness and practice of their gifts, new things begin to emerge in the motivational dynamic. “Work as job” and “work as career” motivations begin to shift. For example, I might be willing to trade financial benefit or title of influence for the euphoria of a tightly aligned role match with my passion or talents.

#4 Work as Calling: “God created my life for a unique purpose.” 

The definition of calling may have some nuances depending on your faith background. Here, I mean the term to reflect a personal relationship with God that brings the revelation of a life agenda or purpose or destiny.  It’s the movement from occupation to vocation. This is more specific than a generic, “I follow Jesus” or “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”  And this specificity is very real and concrete to those who discern it or find it or receive it. Luke wrote of Paul in Acts 13:36, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep…”

#5 Work as Convergence: “I enjoy life for God’s glory.” 

I have struggled with the idea of calling being the ultimate “right” motivation. In some ways, that is the obviously answer. In other ways,  I believe in the nobility of every level and the opportunity to engage in as many levels as possible. “Work as convergence” is the answer. Even though one may be clear on calling, isn’t it still natural to desire a sense of fulfillment and advancement? I think so. As the Westminster Confession reminds us, glorifying God isn’t separable from enjoying him. On another practical level, convergence brings the overlap of “work as job” and “work as calling.” Many feel like they have to work a “job” in order to serve God (calling) in some other area of life. In this case there is an opportunity to explore convergence.

What’s your motivation for work?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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