Leadership: Our Motivations for Ministry

Written by Glen Dawursk, Jr. – www.yuthguy.com


Please read the passages below and be ready to discuss the questions.


Matthew 4 :1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."   Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' “ Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.  "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "`He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' “ Jesus answered him, "It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' “ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."  Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' “ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.



Before Jesus entered into His ministry, He rejected three self-centered motivations that often plague a person’s ministry.   Based upon this passage, what were they?


1) Bread vs. Stones --  Seek:____________________________________________________

      [personal gain; greed]

2) Jump off --  Seek:___________________________________________________________

      [popularity; pridefullness]

3) Worship of Satan  -- Seek: ____________________________________________________

     [power & control; selfishness &  manipulation]



Is there any significance to the fact that Jesus rejected these “motivations” before He started His ministry?  How can this apply to us?











Jesus’ motivations for ministry were different.  What were Jesus’ three motivations for His ministry according to Matthew 4:12-25?


Matthew 4:12-25

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali-- to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.



1) S: _______________________________________________________________________

     [Save sinner vs. 12 “Repent…Heaven is near.”]

2) O:________________________________________________________________________

     [Outfit and equipt the followers Vs. 19]

3) S:________________________________________________________________________

     [Serve others Vs.23]



Galatians 5:24-26

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


Do our motivations for the sake of “ministry” ever fall away from the focus Jesus intended?  How?  When?  Examples or comments








Acts 17:27 -28

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. `For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.'


According to Acts 17:27-28, where does proper ministry motivation come from?  ______________


How can we be sure to focus on God when our desire is to focus on us? 
How does this apply to ministry “competition” or  burn-out?”







Acts 4:32-5:16

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.  Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.  With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.  Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."  When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.  Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.  About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."  Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."  At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.  The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade.   No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.   Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.  As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.  Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.


According to Acts 4:32-5:16, if our motivations are right with God, will we be ‘successful’ in our ministry?   What if our motivations are wrong?   Who needs to determine “success”?





Luke 4:13    When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.


Temptation and testing can wear away our motivation or desire for ministry.  According to Luke 4:13, Jesus was probably tempted throughout His ministry and we know that we also will be tempted daily.  Often times, this testing takes the form of “Clergy or Ministry Killers”  -- well-respected members of our congregation who for whatever reason get “bent-out-of-shape” over something we have said or done in our ministry.  Often times, they simply do not agree with us or they are in opposition to our ideas and personality.  How can this hurt our motivation for ministry?    What can this lead to?  How can this be a blessing?










Acts 17:18 -23

A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.



It is normal to become defensive when we are under attack. 

But according to Paul’s example, how should we deal with potential “clergy killers?”


What should be our FIRST line of defense?___________________________________________



James 2:12  Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.


James 3:1 

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 



Why is it so important that we do not become “defensive” immediately?   ____________________





Is it possible that we could actually “learn” something from a “Clergy Killer”?   How?  What?







James 1:3  Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.


What else can “testing” bring us according to James 1:3? _______________________________



1 Corinthians 2:2-5

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.


Was Paul always the “best” preacher; was he always effective at his ministry; did he ever fail? _______


Could God use a “clergy killer” to change our motivations toward His?  Explain ________________







God’s desire is for our ministry motivation to be in line with His AND for us to be successful in our ministry.  He does not want us to fail; therefore, He also offers us these motivating promises:


James 4:10   Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.


1 Corinthians 10:13b

…And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.


Romans 8:28  

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


Matthew 19:26 

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."


Praise our God that when our “motivations for ministry” are under attack, we can stand firm in the knowledge that He has a plan for us and if we seek Him, He will maintain or restore our ministry motivation to be in line with His.   May God bless your ministry today and everyday.  









Answers for first two specific questions:


Matthew 4:1-11

1)     personal gain; green

2)     popularity; pridefullness

3)     power & control; selfishness & manipulation


Matthew 4:12-25

·        S: Save sinners vs. 12

·        O: Outfit and equip the followers Vs. 19

·        S: Serve others vs. 23