A bodybuilder may use supplementation to motivate their body to grow. However, if the hard work isn’t being done in the gym (and at the dinner table) then they will not see the desired results. This is also true in the Kingdom of God. We can do all kinds of things to dress up a church or make something cool, relevant and appealing but if we don’t have the appropriate growth motivators then we will likely not see Kingdom results.
Certainly, God’s Word teaches us that our primary role in this ‘Kingdom Matrix’ is obedience to Jesus The King. Will obedience motivate growth in your ministry. Yup! Is obedience hard. Yup! With obedience, we can expect results that are pleasing to King Jesus even if those results don’t add up to what we might expect or hope for. What else does God use to motivate growth in our ministries? Let’s take a look at the early church and learn:
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. (Acts 8:1-3 ESV)
You only get a hint of it here but let me fill in the blanks. God took His missionaries out of their comfortable homes and scattered them using the winds of persecution. Uh oh. That wasn’t listed in the advertisement for church planter. Is that right? Did the early church really have persecution as one of its greatest growth motivators? Yes, yes it did. Why?
- Because we will stay where we are comfortable if not pushed out into a place we can be obedient. Persecution scattered missionaries to the places God willed them to be.
- Because persecution will get us moving at a pace that will separate us from our enemy who seeks to thwart the work of God and the purpose for which we are called.
Can we avoid this type of growth motivator? Rather than seeking to avoid persecution we should instead look to be obedient. Notice the apostles where an exception to this scattering? Why? They were already resisting comfort and moving at an obedient pace.
There are many ‘techniques’ that have been given many words in print and that are supposed to serve as growth motivators for your ministry or church plant. I’m not saying that there isn’t wisdom in those methods and helps…there likely is…but let’s give pause to the process of scattering and expanding that God used and see if we can apply it to our context.