Category Archives: Leadership

Volleyball for Life


I went to Appomattox High yesterday to cheer on the Raiders Girls’ Volleyball team as they compete in the post season tournament. They had an undefeated season and it was impressive to watch these players work as a single unit to overcome the strong challenge by Altavista High. The Raiders lost the first game, won solidly in game 2 and 3. But game 4 was a squeaker. They yielded a 8 point lead to let it tie up at 24. They held strong and took game 4 and advance in the competition.
I remember the days of cheering my son in his high school volleyball team … and I saw similar faces of pride of parents in their kids and grandkids. High school isn’t the intense V-Ball you see in the Olympics or even in upper level college play – but it was just as fun.
And like many youth sports, it teaches some great life lessons. Here are four I want to pass on …
There is great power and a great feeling in being a part of a team.
Maybe it’s that we were created for relationships. Maybe it’s we are at our best when we know others have our back. Or maybe we just don’t want to battle life all by ourself – a team, a group, a family is a great thing to be a part of.
You can only control your side of the court.
No matter how much you try, there are always things outside of our control. So, work hard at what you can, trust the Lord, and don’t be anxious about any thing else. Leave it prayer and Him.
We need to remember to be humble.
Nobody likes an obnoxious winner. And we all need to take defeats with grace. I get it, winning feels good, pumps us up, and even helps our confidence – especially like those victories the Raiders had in game 4 – close and exciting. So, treat the opponents with respect and never rub it in.
It teaches many qualities, the best is character.
Sports teaches us competitiveness, confidence, being coachable, commitment, and communication – but hopefully, mostly character. This can be seen in the first three points, as well as sportsmanship and ethics.

These four points can help in all our life’s efforts. These girls are doing more than just competing in a volleyball game – they are being trained for life. Thanks coaches, schools, and parents. Thanks.

till tomorrow – todd

First Impressions … only happen once

What grabs someone’s attention? There are many ways to look at this question. Are we talking about dating? Would it be looks, demeanor, the clothes they wear, hair style, aroma, job, or a hundred other outward qualities? In this swipe left or right world, one has but a few seconds to plant that first impression that might lead somewhere … or go nowhere.

We could be talking about home or apartment shopping. Is it the schools, the architecture, the amenities, the quietness, closet space, how close (or far) from the in laws, or just simply location, location, location?

How about choosing a church? I used to believe is was the three Ps (parking, preschool, preaching) that attracted or turned off guests. And while these are important, very important, there is a lot more these days. Many guests decide within minutes if they will return. Were they greeted enthusiastically, do they see clear directions to important areas like preschool and bathrooms, is it clean, are people friendly, and so much more. A lot could be said on this, and I will not repeat it now – but what kind of first impression is your church giving?

We could be talking employment. I am in this arena as I type, and it is very interesting.

  • Is it a creative cover letter, eye catching resume, job history, age (yes, I’ve been eliminated immediately because of a certain birth year – it’s illegal, yes, but it happens), where you went to school, or your “brand”?
  • I’ve been told to have a more serious/professional cookie cutter resume – as well as to be more creative on my resume, stand out, be colorful, and unique. Maybe I should add a scent to it like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.
  • Use a personal picture that is coat and tie/business professional – use a picture that shows me as I enjoy life.
  • I’ve been told no humor, more humor.
  • I’ve been told I’ve moved around too much as well as too long at some jobs – put dates and don’t put dates.
  • Mention my wife – don’t mention my wife.

It’s like a dating game. I’ve got one chance to make an impression and I never really know who is on the receiving end of my initial connection.

So what do we do? What can make the best first impression?

A LinkedIn search will give ample advice – be brief, tailor the resume for the job for which you are applying, proofread and proofread again, have a creative cover letter that is a brief trailer creating interest for the main show – your resume, make sure your documents are readable (no tiny or crazy fonts), and so on. In interviews, be punctual, dress for success, solid people skills, watch your body language, come prepared.

Let me share just a few nuggets of wisdom that I believe creates that first good impression. Most of this is in the first real contact (in person, on the phone, video conference), but some can also applied to the cover letter and resume. These can also be applied in almost any scenario where two people interact.

Several Be’s …

Be yourself. That’s who your selling. Yes, show your professionalism and maturity, but don’t be someone your not.

Be enthusiastic. If you’re not excited about the potential, why should they be excited.

Be aware of your EQ and keep improving on this (emotional intelligence = self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.)

Be courteous. Simple respect goes along way. This connects to punctuality as well.

Be interested in the other person in the room. Let them know people are important to you. You may be the center of conversation, but you are not center of the universe. (Sorry Calvin)

Be sure your social media is current, clean, and clearly shows you. I had a CPO (chief people officer) share with me that many companies look at social media more than at a resume for first impression. Yes, companies and churches do cyber stalking. So, is your FB, IG, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube channel, Pinterest, blog, Reddit, or whatever showing the best you? It’s said many now will decide on a church by the church’s website – without ever visiting the church.

Be prayerful. This may be the last on my list, but needs to be first, and constant, in what you do. I don’t talk to a church directly without being prayed up. I always start phone calls and vid conferences with prayer. And I pray for them as well as for the potential connection.

I hope this short list encourages you for your first impression possibilities.

One last question, what grabs someone’s attention in a blog? Why, title it Muddy Shoes of course.

Tribalism, part 2

So we are in a volatile world. Duhh. So we are divided and fragmented. Duhh. So we have anger that is escalating and some are calling for utter annihilation of “the enemy” (whomever that is today).

How did we get here? And more importantly, how do we get out of this “here”?

We discussed the Tower of Babel yesterday. So let me quickly hit what one author (Anyabwile) showed as three routes avenues to Main Street Tribalism …

Relational Inclusivists … the ‘can’t we just all get along’ crowd, but with a twist. They have a big tent and will include you, but you have to drink the koolaid and – not necessarily agree with everything but – promise you don’t rock the boat. To not agree to this puts you on the outside of the tent and then they call you unloving, cold, and not caring about people.

Exclusivists … they define themselves by not allowing others to be part of the group. They are exclusive and set the bar to what ever they decide. The elitist mentality demands conformity to their man made standards.

Isolationists … these tribalists call any group as wrong and they see themselves as separatists with moral superiority. Their only real position is being against all other groups and the other groups’ positions. Ironically, the isolationists themselves form a tribe.

Okay, lots of sociological background to show you there are several facets to tribalism. Bottom line is arrogance, pride, outrage, and a selfish instinct that is taking America down a dangerous path. Some might even say we are headed to a second Civil War.

So what do we do to get out of this situation?

I gave the big answer yesterday – the Gospel is more powerful than any tribalism of man. But how does this look? Some would just say we need to talk across tribalistic lines. I mean we are people of reason aren’t we? Not really. We are more like selfish little brats.

First, we are to be grounded in the Word. Be fastened by the belt of truth. Don’t be lured by philosophies or other’s ways. Bringing every thought captive to the obedience to Christ.

Second, stay humble and keep the perspective of God’s grace and love. I love a recent quote by JD Greear … God didn’t save you instead of your non believing friends, he saved you for the sake of your non believing friends. We are here for others.

Third, learn the joy and benefits of Christian hospitality.

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

1 Peter 4:8-10

Hospitality from a Greek word that means ‘love of strangers’. We are to show love, kindness, and concern for those not of our ‘tribe’. And, we are to do it without complaining or grumbling. Our attitude is to be one of true concern. So much can be said here, and we will get back to it some day.

We are to have open hands … open homes … and open hearts.

What would it look like if we, the Church, practiced this?

It will not be easy, we might be taken advantage of, and it won’t change everything. But it might impact our little corner of the world. And with enough little corners changed, we can make a big impact.

This week, show a little hospitality to those who cross your path … and not just of your tribe. But to strangers too.

Some articles to go deeper …

Great Humility & Greater Hope. #SBC18

And that’s a wrap. Another convention and all the meetings that go with it, are over. The final gavel has sounded, the exhibition hall is being broken down, final orders of brisket are being placed, bags are being packed, and one final visit to Babes is planned. Next stop for many, DFW to head home.

One of funniest tweets I read was a reminder for pastors that before the credit card bill comes, they need to tell their wives that ‘Babes’ is a chicken restaurant- a great chicken restaurant.

I read the meetings were often tense but all treated each other with respect. My father once said Baptist should have business meetings in such a way as if we were in the middle of a mall – totally watched by the public – but handle it in such a way as God is glorified and everyone behaves honorably.

Probably the two biggest issues faced Wednesday were the motion to remove some Southwestern Seminary trustees in light of all that took place with the former president. This was defeated. After Bart Barbers’ statement, there probably could’ve been no other outcome. See his words here

The second issue was whether VP Pence should’ve spoken. Okay, I get it. Washington is a whirlwind and mess – and any connection to Trump can raise red flags. But Scripture tells us to honor our governors and those in authority. Also, Pence is a Christian brother who has come under fire for his beliefs, many we share. I live by the standard of of the Billy Graham rule (never alone with a woman that is not one’s wife) which USAToday now calls the Pence Rule.

Pence spoke, challenged us to pray more. Emphasized the influence of life change from the pulpit is greater than anything Washington can muster. Very little controversy from what I read in his speech. See the Baptist press release here

A big, and much needed, take away was our conversations on abuse, the church’s role, and how can we move forward with dignity, respect, and godly wisdom.

I guess I am pleased with most of the convention results … wished I could’ve attended/watched more. Loved the sermons. So where do we go from here? Let me share the blog from our new president, JD Greear (who was with me in the PhD program at SEBTS)

Words from President JD Greear

From his webpage. …

This afternoon the Southern Baptist Convention voted to elect me as its 62nd president. I am at once honored and humbled to step into this role, which I will do, officially, tomorrow afternoon.

(For those of you in The Summit Church unfamiliar with how the SBC works, “president” is a volunteer role that will not take away from my responsibilities at the Summit. Our church is, and will always be, my top priority.)

Throughout the entire lead-up to this year’s Convention, I have been open about the passions God has put on my heart for this season in the SBC. We need to:

1. Keep the gospel above all as the foundation of our unity and the focus of our mission

2. Continue growing in cultural and racial diversity

3. Turn up the temperature in our churches with more intentional, personal evangelism

4.Plant and revitalize hundreds of churches

5.Mobilize college students and recent graduates into the mission, and

6.Engage the next generation in cooperative mission.

The Apostle Paul said that the gospel was “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If we are going to move forward in unity, we have got to keep the gospel at the center of all we do. The gospel must be greater than our programs, greater than our political agendas, and greater than any petty differences that threaten to divide us.

Great Humility

As I taught the pastors here on Monday, recently the Holy Spirit has been drawing me back to Matthew 16:13-20 again and again. After Peter confesses Jesus to be the Messiah, Jesus responds, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:17-18 CSB). This is a promise that we in the SBC need to claim, and it is one that will produce in us a spirit of humility and hope.

On one hand, Jesus’ promise should lead us to humility. In this same passage, Jesus calls Peter “Satan” when he attempts to correct Jesus on his path to the cross (Matthew 16:23). Yes, Jesus promises that he will build his church, but he never shies away from chastising his people when they oppose his methods. God will accomplish his purposes. That is as guaranteed as Jesus’ resurrection. But what is not clear is whether he’ll use us to accomplish those purposes.

We would not be the first people God had set aside. The Jews of Jesus’ day assumed God would never set them aside. God needed them! But Jesus warned them, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit” (Matthew 21:43). He gives the same warning to us: The grace of God is overwhelming and overflowing, but we must never take it for granted.

God is stirring in the SBC. He has exposed a startling amount of sin in our midst. He has shaken many of our foundations. And I actually think that’s good news, because whom the Lord loves, he chastens. He is inviting us, I believe, into an era of unprecedented effectiveness for the Great Commission, if we repent.

Greater Hope

Which leads me to the other aspect of Jesus’ promise: hope. The hope of the church (or the SBC) is not in the quality of our leaders. We are not God’s “last best hope on earth.” The grace of God is our best hope, and when the preacher falls, praise God, the promise remains. Even when everything around us crumbles, his promise of grace remains.

In one of my favorite stories from the Gospels, a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus asking for healing for her daughter, who is being tormented by a demon. Jesus’ initial response is harsh: “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (Matthew 15:26). But the woman is unflinched, because she knew he wasn’t speaking to her gender or her race; he was speaking to her unworthiness. So she responds with desperate faith in his grace: “Yes, Lord … yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (Matthew 15:27). In other words, the grace of God is so rich and so abundant that it flows off of the table so that even those with no more worthiness than dogs can eat until they are satisfied.

Jesus said that this Canaanite woman had faith like none in Israel. And she is our example. We can never hope too much in the grace of God, never lean too fully into it. Would we rather be dogs feasting the crumbs off of God’s table or “heroes” asking God to reward us for our greatness? I’ll take the path of the dog every single time.

William Carey once said that the future is always as bright as the promises of God. When I think of the future of the SBC, I believe that the Holy Spirit has great days ahead. If we believe Christ’s promises, heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, turn from our sin, and cast ourselves upon the mercy of his grace, the gates of hell will not stand a chance.

God is not done with the SBC. There are still more than 6,000 unreached people groups in our world. I believe God wants to bless us for their sake. With the unchanging Word as our foundation, soul-winning as our focus, and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we can once again “expect great things of God and attempt great things for God.” He desires to be merciful to us and bless us and cause his face to shine upon us—not for our sake but so that his way may be known in all the earth (Psalm 67).


I covet your prayers for me, my family, and our church during this upcoming season. I am—and always will be—first a husband and father and second a local church pastor. Please pray that God gives all of us—my family, our church, and the denomination—grace for the future. Pray that my kids grow up to love Jesus and the sheep. Pray for wisdom for me. Even those of us appointed to be shepherds are still sheep, which means we need to lean on Christ to make our paths straight and not trust in our ability to understand. We need to cast ourselves on the mercy of the One who laid down his life for us and promised the success of the church in every generation, world without end (Ephesians 3:20-21).

See his blog here

Church’s Future – An Insight by Rainer

I love reading blogs – all type of blogs. I stay up on twitter and find so many nuggets of great information that it often is overwhelming. There are devotional blogs like David Jeremiah or James MacDonald. There are leadership articles (a lot of great leads on LinkedIn) like David Cathy and John Maxwell – and church leadership blogs from Them Rainer and more. There’s Bible study tidbits, cultural insights, sermon seeds and illustrations, and small group principles. I love Orange, Groeschel, LifeWay, Vanderbloemen, and so many others. There are actually too many to read so I often just file it away and get back to it later (I will let you know when I ever get back to them).  If you write one -send me the link – I will put it on  my to read list too!

So when I come across truly insightful nuggets, I want to share … so here is a share …

Rainer posted an Insights to the future of the church – Five Developments on the Horizon.

  1. Shifts in the multisite model … Rainer calls it the single most profound change in congregations in the past century. The multisite model will be the catalyst for recovery of neighborhood churches.
  2. More churches seeking to be acquired or merged in the multisite model … this fits with the first point. Smaller churches will see the healthy model and want to be part of it. This could end the struggling single site and enhance the larger multisite church family.
  3. Return to some level of programmatic behavior … it was not too long ago many churches threw programs out because the programs had become an end unto themselves. But now many will return tho the strength that programs provided but with the understanding that they will focus on them working within the mission and vision of the church. And programs will free the leaders to use their time more productively.
  4. Rise of Networks … this will not replace denominations but will focus on common ministry interests – and they will not be restricted to geographical bonds.
  5. The attendance frequency becomes a greater focus … active member are attending less and less regularly (remember the perfect attendance pins – yeah, me neither). This issue will be addressed (too bad Rainer did not give suggestions on how to address it).


Okay, this is some good stuff – and great thoughts to ponder on. I know that The Village Church – who has done multisite very well – has started to address the first one and how it fits into their overall vision. I also think the multisite paradigm will have to face the issue of personality pastors no longer being as accepted as in the past decade – and what will happen when the present generation of mega church pastors retire or move to another phase of their ministry journey.

There are other issues – what do you think will be on the church’s horizon in the near future?


Original article here

#SBCAM18 and #SBC18

I registered for the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting 2018 today. Not as a messenger, those spots were spoken for. But I now am an invited guest of the pastor of my home church in Virginia – thank you Friendship. I am not sure how many sessions of the Pastor’s Conference and the Annual Meeting I will be able to attend – but it is in Dallas and I want to take every opportunity I can to hear great music, some of the best speakers, and hear what the SBC is doing – we are an instrument of the Lord.

The theme this year is TESTIFY: Go – Stand – Speak. This is powerful – have you thought about the fact that we are always testifying – but the question is of what or whom does our life really testify? Do we point people to Jesus? Do we live in trust and know that He is faithful? Do we speak the Words of life? Edifying those around us? Do people know what we stand for (not just what we stand against)? We go and stand and speak … for life, hope, grace, joy, and forgiveness. We go and stand and speak … for Jesus.

The theme this year is TESTIFY: Go – Stand – Speak

Now, unfortunately, too much press, too many blogs, and too many tweets have been spent on the problems we are facing and not on the solution – repentance, humility, kindness, and grace. I will not go into the issues (just look at for that) – but I will say this. If you are interested in Southern Baptists and her future, here are some things you can do …

— Pray. Pray for wisdom, for humility, and for unity. Pray for the meeting, those attending, those on the agenda, and for God to be glorified.
— Be informed. Read the Baptist Press, the website, and follow them on Twitter (look for #SBC18 or #SBCAM18)
— Watch. If you can not be here, go to and watch it.
— Have your Pastor give a report to the church.
— Pray. Okay, I said this before – but just do it again.

If your church gives to the Cooperative Program (and I hope it does), you are invested in the outcome of this meeting.

AND BIGGIE — pray and get involved in Crossover Dallas. This is the service and evangelistic efforts by thousands as they arrive in Dallas early to permeate the community. This year, the big effort is at AT&T Cowboy Stadium for Harvest America. Tens of thousands will be impacted.

Check out the home page here.

May God be glorified and may Him of whom we testify be seen and heard clearly by those around us.

My Motivation – The Bottom Line

One last day on motivation. Yet there is so much to say. So let me share from a thesis written at Liberty University on the ‘Biblical Use of Rewards as a Motivation for Christian Service.” (See full thesis here)

Having worked in church for quite a while now, I have often heard of the 20-80% rule – 20% of the people give, do, serve 80% of everything a church does. I think it may be closer to 10-90 at some churches, but let’s go with 20-80.

In the church, this thesis puts forth three groups. First, there are those with little or no motivation. With the majority of church members, one finds little difference between them and the world. The reason for lack of motivation may be due to numerous reasons: lack of discipleship, weak leadership, cheap grace, or whatever. The reason is not relevant – the solution is what we should work on. Lack of motivation may result in nonattendance or lukewarmness/simple pew-warmers – and we all know what God thinks of lukewarmness – totally gags Him and He wants to vomit – and I do not want to see that!

A second group are those that are improperly motivated – it could be for greed or status (to be noticed by men) or any number of reasons. Some say that improper motivation is better than no motivation – for at least they are doing something. While it is true that God hates lukewarm and wishes we were hot or cold – but we need to make sure we don’t let improper motivations take anchor or become acceptable just because it is pragmatic. We need to emphasize proper theology, solid discipleship, and strengthening one’s proper Biblical worldview – these can remedy this situation.

The last group are those with proper motivation – to serve the Lord because of who He is and what He has done (loved us, saved us). We are not saved by good works, but we are said for good works (Look at Ephesians 2). Unfortunately, the strain of doing 80% of the work, seeing people skate by, and not seeing fruit for years can wear them down.

Where does this take us? The thesis puts forth rewards as a motivator. It scans the Old Testament and New Testament teachings. It looks at rewards in the present situations but a lot into future rewards as well (Bema Seat, Crowns, etc.) What are we being motivated to do – Obedience. Obedience brings blessings – some now, most in the future. And lack of obedience means loss of rewards. So rewards and loss of rewards are important and are a strong motivators.

But let me bottom line it – There is one thing even stronger – One thing that should motivate every believer – It is all about bringing God glory. When we realize who He is, who we are, where we would be without Him, and what He did to save us – we should want to make sure He gets our very best.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – That my friend is my motivation – I take it to my job, as a parent, in my marriage, and with everything – it is all about Him and His glory. And yes, rewards are cool – but I will throw every crown back at His feet.

Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God alone – that’s a motivation for each of us!

Motivation – Needs from Lower to Higher

When Calvin was in first grade, his teacher had a practice to motivate her students by a chart with every students name on it – stars were given and each kid was excited to see their progress. But she also had a bulletin board with an apple tree and each kid had their name on an apple. When a child acted up, was a bit of a rebel, or just went against the flow – the kid’s apple fell off the tree and rested on the ground of the bulletin board. I joked that Calvin’s apple was on the ground so much that it turned to apple sauce. I think the stars worked for a good motivation (reward, self image) but the apple tree just did not have an impact. To take the metaphor a bit further, when it comes to Calvin and me – the apple did not fall from tree. I caused quite a stir as a student as well – I will let your imagination roam wild but will leave all examples to myself.

A few years ago, Virginia Tech adapted some business textbooks and published a paper on motivating employees. (Go here to see the text) Motivation is the drive to achieve a goal, or to work towards a particular course of action. Motivated employees are more productive, call in sick less, and cultivate better attitudes in the work place. Their are intrinsic motivations – enjoyment, satisfaction, and desire. There are also extrinsic motivations such as rewards, bonuses, and avoiding punishment.

The VT paper discusses the four basic theories on motivation. I just want to introduce the first one here – the Hierarchy-of-Needs Theory. This theory says we are motivated by trying to meet unmet needs. There is a hierarchy, and lower level needs must be met before we seek to satisfy higher levels. The chart is here (higher needs on top). Another aspect of the Needs Theory is that once a lower level is met, the need no longer motivates us. Managers need to realize what levels have been met – and then they motivate at the next level.

REMEMBER – Lower level needs should be met before higher level needs
NEED — [personal fulfillment/professional fulfillment]

Self-Actualization — Success/Professional & Challenging Work
Esteem — Status & Respect/Authority, Recognition
Social — Family & Friends/Team Membership & Social Activities
Safety — Financial Stability/Job Security
Physiological — Food & Shelter/Salary

So what does this mean for you and me? The needs fall into personal motivation for fulfillment and professional fulfillment. Though they may be in conflict at times, the personal should never be overlooked or downplayed. We come to realize what needs we really have, and then we work on meeting those. If you are in a leadership position, you need to know your workers – not just the big picture, but each individual that reports to you. And maybe the motivation should also fall into personal level as well the professional level.

Spend some time evaluating your life – and realize it is in meeting those needs where we find real motivation.

Maybe if the teacher spent a little more time getting to know Calvin,
his needs, and his life situation
– then just maybe, the apple would have stayed on the tree.

Note: Colored chart came from this website

Motivation – One Size Does Not Fit All

I am not sure where I heard this, but when looking at the way a child obeys/respects their parent you can see a progression of motivation. As a mere child, the child is basically motivated out of ignorance – he does not know there is any other way so he responds (as much as he can). Then a huge leap in knowledge comes – they learn the word, “No.” Then it is fear that motivates obedience. For me, it was fear of the switch or fear of disappointing my father. Then I grew to be a teenager and I realized I could negotiate obedience (Or at least I thought I could). I would obey according to what could I get out of the situation. This was a personal reward system based on the art of negotiation. But then I became an adult – and now my motivation is totally different. True, it is not so much about obedience now, but more about respect and listening to her (my mother still loves to give me advice – as do all mothers). Now I am motivated by honoring her, honoring her love and sacrifice, and honoring her in a Biblical way.

So – from ignorance to fear to rewards to honoring the authority.

Can you see some parallel to our Christian growth. As a child, we just are taught to love God – so we do. But then it turns to fear. We don’t want to be punished or zapped by the Almighty. Martin Luther was here – hours in the confessional, beating himself to purge the sin, and more. He became a monk. Was he trying to negotiate with God? Was he saying if I serve you, will you go lightly on me? We do this – God, if I do this I expect you to do this. If I tithe, you will give me a winning lottery ticket. If I pray enough – you will give me what I want. We are motivated by rewards. But we need to get to the place we realize God does know what He is doing. We can trust Him, His wisdom, and His direction. So we learn to obey out of respect and reverence. We obey because we really love Him.

May we all mature and grow in Godly wisdom. May we truly respond out of love and reverence. May it not be about negotiation or fear but out of honoring the One who loved us first.

Now – let’s turn to motivating those in the workplace. One article, published by the University of Nebraska, discussed that there are five basic categories to motivate people. It goes on to give some specific examples in each category. (See Article Here)

  • Intrinsic Process – Motivated by FUN
  • Instrumental – Motivated by REWARDS
  • Self-Concept-External – Motivated by REPUTATION
  • Self-Concept-Internal – Motivated by CHALLENGE
  • Goal Internalization – Motivated by PURPOSE

Examples …
FUN  —  Find what they enjoy and get them involved in that. Have celebrations or lighten up the break room. Make sure every meeting has a fun activity. There was an episode of ‘The Office’ where if they got enough points, the boss would have a tattoo on his hinee. They really got behind it (no pun intended) and met their goal/
REWARDS  —  Incentive pay scales, rewards for achieving goals, and make sure the rewards are earned.
REPUTATION  —  This is about self-esteem and letting them know they are appreciated. Tell them regularly. Have an employee recognition system and make it public.
CHALLENGE  —  People like to learn new skills, face challenges, and motivation to be the best. University of Nebraska found this was the most common motivation, but almost all used a combination of two of more of the five. So, find their skills and chilling it. Allow opportunity to cross train and broaden skill sets. Give them challenge and then get out the way.
PURPOSE  —  People look beyond themselves so make sure they understand the impact of what they are working on. Make sure they now what they are doing fits within the vision of the company, maybe even include them in planning how to accomplish the vision..

Which one fits your personality? Which works the best to get you motivated?

Tomorrow –
Some results from a Virginia Tech report – Go Hokies!

Motivate Me – What’s It Going to Take?

Fran Tarkenton – ‘People don’t change their behavior unless it makes a difference for them to do so.’

Motivation – Last week, we looked at the fact people are being watched. The discussion was based on a work situation of a potential secret evaluator coming to the hotel property. They never came. But something interesting was observed – motivation by fear. Almost all regular employees were worked up to make sure everything was right. It was not based on the pride in doing our best. There was no motivation by reward or intrinsic value. Basically, it was to not be caught doing anything wrong and thus reduce our score.

Yesterday, my second job had an employee meeting. Most of it was a preview of Summer offerings and some Q&A on POS procedures. But woven through it was strong push on motivation – broken down into two aspects. The first was a managerial vision of basic operation strategy – a motivation based on shared vision from management. And second – a new motivational strategy based on points being added and subtracted. I felt I was at a mini-Hogwarts, sitting in the great hall that serves magical chicken nuggets, with points given and taken by the heads of households. And the negative points outnumbered the positive almost 3 to 1. It was focused on consequences heavily over rewards (I am not sure if that was the intent, but that was my perception.)

I felt I was at a mini-Hogwarts,
sitting in the great hall that serves magical chicken nuggets,
with points given and taken by the heads of households

Now don’t get me wrong, fear is great motivator. We love rewards – but we really don’t want to get hit with harsh consequences. But is that the best motivator? Was my mindset so focused on consequences that it was that aspect on which I was focused?

Over the next several days – I want to look at some aspects of motivation. There are different philosophies to approaching the study of motivation. We will see some of them; and maybe, we will take a look inside ourselves and see what we let motivate us.

For you see, one thing was consistent. Motivational strategy is very individualistic. You might see sweeping strokes – like rewards and consequences, or self esteem – but each person is motivated in a distinctive ways.

Let me give a very important illustration – on what do we focus when we share the Gospel of Jesus? We could focus on escaping hell (motivated by fear), getting into heaven (motivated by reward), what are we going to get out of accepting Jesus (motivated by pay), finding hope and peace (motivated by security), and so on. And while aspects of each of these are important, when understood in proper Biblical perspective, if we try to use all of them in one setting, it might be a bit overwhelming. And so, while we are building relationships, and always looking for opportunities to share God’s love, each person will respond to different approaches in different ways.

So join me for a couple days and let’s see where this takes us. (See, motivated by curiosity) And tomorrow – What motivates a kid to listen to and obey their parents – and how that connects to our listening to and obeying our heavenly father.