Missions Misunderstood » Blog Archive » Missions Motivation

Posted May 21st, 2009 by E. Goodman

“If you really cared about the unreached peoples of the world, you’d be more involved in missions.”

“If you truly understood the Great Commission, you’d be a missionary.”

“If only you were made aware of the opportunities to share the gospel, you’d go on a mission trip.”

“If you honestly saw the need, felt the urgency, or recognized the importance of the task, you’d be more supportive of missions.”

Guilt, obligation, shame. This is how we motivate people to do missions. In a condescending and patronizing tone, we declare the people in the pews ignorant, apathetic, and lazy. We judge them to be sinful.

The thing is, guilt, fear, judgment, and shame aren’t the best motivators. Don’t get me wrong- they work just fine. For thousands upon thousands of people, a mission trip started with a guilt trip. But a person who’s been motivated this way will always default to acting out of obligation. She’ll get involved, but it will be because feels like she has to. Every decision along the way is a blind stab in the dark in search of “what works” or “what makes me look busy enough that I don’t risk loosing my support.”

The best motivation for missions is inspiration.

“You can make a difference in someone’s life.”

“This is what you were made for. It’s your destiny.”

“This is something that really matters.”

“You can be part of something that will provide profound connection to God and to others.”

When someone’s been inspired to missions, they live for it. Every decision is made in light of the vision they have for God’s redemption of the world. These are the people that throw themselves into relationships and work backward from the vision to develop progressive strategies toward the goal. We need inspired missionaries, not reluctant ones that constantly need to be convinced and cajoled.

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives us a glimpse into the future- a future where people from every tribe are worshipping at the throne of the most high God. The vision can be inspiring- that’s what we’re created for! We can be assured of that victory! Or, it can be twisted into a tool of manipulation: “Jesus can’t come back until you finish the task!” “Their blood is on your hands!”

Are you motivating through inspiration?

Tags: guilt, inspiration, Matthew 24, Motivation

Filed under:Missiology, Missions, Misunderstood, Scripture