The Idea Behind Motivation

Motivation is like a superstructure that can quickly collapse unless it is built upon a strong base of vital ideas.

"Lord, is having a staff a blessing? Or is it just a giant albatross hanging around my neck? What should I do? Should I fire them all?"

In the early 70s, I sat alone one night in a diner in East Orange, New Jersey, and prayed those silent but seeking questions. The staff of our combined church/community center had grown from three to twelve in just over two years, and I was now responsible for a whole new area of ministry- motivating and managing a staff.

While it seemed that God needed all of these people for our ministry, they were a drain on me-a drain on my time, on my emotions, and on my life. I didn't feel qualified to be responsible for so many lives. Besides, my personal ministry seemed to be suffering in direct proportion to the amount of time I was spending in "caretaking" the staff members.

Gary, for example, was a good coordinator, a compassionate assistant pastor, and a wise counselor beyond his years. However, among other momentum-stopping irritations, he usually picked the ...

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