Developing Younger Leaders: A Question of Motivation – Chris Hollies

So what does motivate you and I to do the things we do in serving within our local church contexts? This is a question that I pose to leadership teams within churches and the answers I receive seem to differ depending upon the ‘generation’ I am asking. In very broad general terms, here is how I understand it:
Those who are around 60-plus find the idea behind the question difficult. The concept of motivation isn’t one that has perhaps been considered before as there is an acceptance within this age category that someone faithfully turns up and serves because that is quite simply what they do and quite possibly what they have been doing for years, without question, and this is termed ‘commitment’.

Those who are somewhere between 30 – 60 are the generation in the ‘middle’ ( myself included). We understand what our parents perceive as service and commitment but we also see a younger generation who will not simply turn up without question and play their part. I believe that we also, in this age band, are leaning far more to the younger generation’s sense of need for a purpose that inspires and motivates, before deciding where to invest limited time and resources.

For those who are 15 – 29, today’s younger generation, the question of motivation is greater still and it is important to ensure that we who are in the older generations understand just what does motivate the younger generation and work with that. Just recently I read Daniel Pink’s excellent book, Drive, which highlighted a key point regarding motivation. He states that for those who work in the voluntary sector it is important to help them see that what they are doing and the organisation they ‘serve’ are making a difference, that it is worthwhile giving to the cause they represent. In terms of the local church it is therefore of paramount importance to tell the younger generation ( and indeed the whole church) on a regular basis as to how their church is making a difference for the sake of God’s Kingdom. I would suggest that every week at least one story is shared from the past week as to how some ministry/ organisation or person has helped to advance the Kingdom and that a difference has been made. Especially for those involved in youth work, this must become a healthy habit woven into any programme, ensuring that stories are told.

So motivation is required to get something started, but it is only part of the ‘equation’. Because, like physical fitness, it must quickly become a habit to keep on going…and that is another ‘story’ for another day.

Chris Hollies is a Church Development Consultant and Trainer based in Belfast who works across the denominational spectrum. He is one of the recognised consultants appointed by the WCA UK & Ireland to assist churches who wish to make the most of the REVEAL survey. See www.leadershipfirst.co.uk for more details.
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