Member’s Motivation

Click here to read a conversation introducing this section
Paul Mentor: Tim, as we begin, let me ask you a basic question: “Why do you want to implement biblical (BE) eldership in your church?”

Tim Member: Well, because it is biblical. I thought we already talked about that.

Paul: I know, but we want to explore your motives—maybe ones below the surface. These can affect your efforts in trying to implement BE in your church.

Tim: Well, I just want to do what the Scripture says. A friend of mine says their church has implemented BE and things seem to be going better there than at my church. Is that what you mean, I’m motivated because I know of someone else that has biblical eldership working well?

Paul: Well, yes, that is what I am getting at. The temptation can be to just imitate what someone else has done. But, there can be other motives that affect things.

Tim: Well, I’m ready to explore anything that can help me make this happen.

First Thoughts

Your motives will color your efforts in convincing others, especially the pastor and the board members about the importance of BE. Motivations vary considerably, from a genuine conviction and leading of the Spirit of God, to a desire to resolve power struggles, to a superficial interest in imitating another church. Some might be motivated to press for BE because of conflict with the pastor or with the board, or because they felt slighted for not being included in a leadership role. Others may be motivated by the perception that the pastor and/or the board are not effective or are lacking in some way. A presenting problem may serve as an impetus for leadership change, for example: the presence of a “Diotrephes” (that is, a domineering individual) or a lack of confidence for the leadership.

All of these things affect how you approach the church with the goal of leadership change. We will address each of these as we go along. However some of the implementation principles are universal regardless of your particular scenario. Examining your motive is one of them.

Honestly Evaluate Your Motivation

It is absolutely critical that your motivation is based on a clear and convincing understanding of what BE is. If you are uncertain of this we recommend going back to the tab above, “What is Biblical Eldership?” BE is not just one of many optional forms of church government; nor is it simply just a preferable kind of leadership in the church. As the term indicates, it is biblically based and reflects God’s teaching for leadership in the local church. Regardless of whether it proves to be strategically better than other forms of church government (and we think it is), the fact is that this is the pattern taught by the Word of God. Foundational to everything else in this task is the desire to be faithful to God as he speaks in his Word.

Desiring to transition to BE will probably involve an inter-play of motivations. We have prepared a worksheet to help you work through these. Here are the steps you can take to maximize the benefit of this:

  1. Download the “Member’s Motivation Worksheet.” Don’t just breeze through it, but think deeply about it, giving it thoughtful and prayerful consideration. Write down your answers to every question.
  2. Ask someone close to you (your spouse or close friend) to give you feedback on your answers to the worksheet.
  3. Pray, asking God to reveal the “thought and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

If there are any conflict issues or tensions involving anyone in a leadership role, these need to be addressed before moving on in the process. We cannot stress this enough.

Modify Your Motivation

If your motivation needs modification, we suggest the following:

  1. Be committed from the outset to promoting and preserving unity in the church. Change of this magnitude can inadvertently cause disunity and division if not handled properly or without pure motivation.
  2. Confess any sin uncovered: pride, over-sensitivity, fear, people-pleaser attitudes, envy, etc.
  3. Ask the Lord to help you, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Rom. 12:2) as you take, “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5b). Clear focus on the glory of the Lord and the love of his people must be the core of your motivation.
  4. Ask for wisdom in dealing with any conflict (open or subtle) with the current leadership. This must be addressed in a biblical manner, or your efforts will be interpreted as a power grab in the struggle of leadership. We recommend two excellent resources for working through conflict:

Agape Leadership: Lessons On Leadership by the Life of Robert Chapman, by Alexander Strauch and Robert L. Peterson (Lewis & Roth)

If You Bite & Devour One Another, by Alexander Strauch (Lewis & Roth, 2011)

The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande (Baker, 2003)

What’s next?

Once you have completed the motivation worksheet, it’s time to move ahead to the “Member’s Preparation” step (or click on the menu). This will help you get spiritually ready for the task in front of you.

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