Show Notes – Episode 01

Motives matter! There are both good and bad reasons to do what is right. As a spiritual leader, your motivations overflow into how you motivate others, which in turn creates the culture of the church. Every leader desires a healthy culture, but do we have healthy motives ourselves?

Negative Motivations


Performance-driven motivations create a culture of acceptance based on our performance or behavior. Although this is how all secular environments operate, this motivation will fill the heart with comparison, pride, and insecurity. In the gospel, God values and accepts us not based upon how we perform, but on Christ’s performance on our behalf. Service to God that is driven merely by performance will always end with discouragement and disillusionment.

Driving our churches with this motivation results in exhaustion, a lack of joy, and a misplaced desire to please the pastor in place of Christ.


Debt driven motivation points to all that Christ has done for us, but then places a weight of repaying Him for all that He has done. This is more palatable to our minds because it sounds much more spiritual. Who can argue against God being good to us? However, this motivation is a tragic shrinking of the love of God. The thought that some level of our good behavior could repay the sacrifice of Christ is ludicrous! The gospel is an unconditional gift, not a loan requiring an infinite amount of return.

Driving our churches to repay God reduces and cheapens salvation, and forever changes the relationship of the Christian to God. Our congregations are changed from loved and accepted children of God to His hostages looking for an escape. Unwittingly, we have declared freedom from bondage is available through the gospel, but then place them right back into the bondage of religion.

Love-Driven Motivation

There is a better way! God’s model of service is Mark 12:30—Love the Lord your God! God could have chosen to make salvation contingent upon our performance or forced us to repay Jesus for His sacrifice, but He chose to give us unconditional, inexhaustible love. We can’t earn salvation, and we can’t pay Him back for it. But He says you don’t have to! A pure heart of love is the only sustainable, joy-filled motivation to serve God. As we grow in the knowledge of His amazing love, our hearts in response grow in love of Him.

A church that is motivated by the love of God will be filled with joyful Christians serving, giving, and leading others in the love of God. That love will continue to grow with time with enduring results, and no desire to escape.

Discussion Questions:

What is driving my service to God?

Which best describes my relationship with God?     Performer? Hostage? Child?

Which best describes my service to God?     Have to? Ought to? Want to?

What is the culture of my church? What does that say about my motivations?