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Motivations for Christian Ministry

Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again, “Rejoice!” Philippians 4:14

My friends and I were recently talking about our motivation for Christian ministry and, in particular, our motivations for sharing the message of salvation. I was surprised by some of the words and expressions that they used to describe their primary motivation. “Duty” and “obedience” and the desire to “save people from hell” were some of the words and concepts put forward.

No doubt some of these are good reasons, and certainly obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is an essential part of the Christian life and ministry, but what personally motivates me the most is the joy found in knowing Jesus.

When Jesus called his disciples, it seems they just got up from what they were doing, at that moment, and then followed him for the next three years. I don’t think their motivation was initially, or primarily, one of obedience or duty. I think it was more, “Wow, I get to hang around with this amazing person!”[1]

From the disciples’ initial response we can see that Jesus must have had a sense of authority and destiny about him—a real charisma that was irresistible to those who followed him. And, while we don’t often think about him in these terms, Jesus also had a sense of joy about him, an infectious joy that came with knowing and fulfilling his divine mission (Heb. 12:2) and with being filled with the Holy Spirit.[2] The apostles Paul and Peter knew this joy and wrote about it in their letters.

I am thrilled that I know God and that he has saved me; that sin is no longer a burdensome issue in my life, because Jesus has dealt with it; that God lives within me through his Holy Spirit; that I have a close, personal, and spiritual connection with him; that I am already living the eternal life as part of his Kingdom; that I have a sacred mission as an ambassador of Christ.

I want to share this joyous reality with others so that they might experience it too!

While ministry has its struggles, disappointments, and hardships, I enjoy partnering and working together with God in his mission. Joy is my main motivation for ministry!

What is your motivation for sharing the grace, hope, and salvation of Jesus with others? And how does your motivation affect the way you do ministry?


[1] It appears that Jesus’ followers initially recognised Jesus as a rabbi (teacher). It was only later that they came to the full realisation that Jesus was the Messiah, the Saviour, and even divine.

[2] The Holy Spirit is often associated with joy. See Luke 10:21; Acts 13:52; Galatians 5:22; Romans 14:17, and 1 Thessalonians 1:6.

© 26th of January 2010, Margaret Mowczko

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